Postal News Reported During March 2002
March 31, 2002 -- The Lancashire Telegraph has reported that "Gordon Prentice has told the government to stop the process of opening up the postal service to competition. The Pendle Labour MP believes it is jeopardising the universal service and could close many small urban and rural sub-post offices. He is worried about the impact of the changes on the sub-region. And he wants Trade and Industry Ministers to rein in the postal regulator Postcomm, the driving force behind moves to open most mail and parcel services to competition in three years. Mr Prentice fears massive job losses and major branch closures in East Lancashire and across the UK as a result."
March 31, 2002 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "air-cargo volume fell 9.6% in February, a slightly steeper slide than the previous month's decline, showing that the economic recovery could proceed slowly. The Air Transport Association, the main trade group for U.S. carriers, said scheduled air-freight traffic declined to 1.64 billion revenue ton miles in February from 1.81 billion a year earlier. A revenue ton mile is one ton of revenue-generating traffic carried one mile. The results reflect world-wide volume at 16 carriers, including FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc."
March 30, 2002 -- According to EuropeMedia.Net, "consumers in Ireland "are facing a hikes in postal and telephone charges under new pricing levels, An Post and Eircom announced. Eircom has announced a rise of 0.6 per cent in residential customer bills. However, accompanying this increase, is a 1.8 per cent reduction in average business customer bills. An Post said its E3-cent price hike, the first since 1991, was an interim increase while the telecoms regulator, Etain Doyle, considers an application to raise the basic postal tariff to E45 cents."
March 30, 2002 -- Advertising Age has reported that "Postmaster General John Potter is set to unveil the Postal Service's "transition plan" April 5. Industry lobbyists have said the plan runs more than 400 pages and includes detailed proposals for immediate changes. The plan's unveiling comes as pressure builds on the Postal Service to make major changes. General Accounting Office two weeks ago issued a highly critical report calling the service's financial outlook "increasingly dire." The GAO warned that the events of Sept. 11 along with the country's economic problems have exacerbated the Postal Service's financial woes and have left it without sufficient cash to finance needed capital projects."
March 30, 2002 -- According to Direct Magazine, "the financially ailing U.S. Postal Service is scheduled to file its long-awaited modernization plan with Congress Thursday. Sources close to the USPS said the plan now on tap is basically the same as the rough draft that was released last August. It will offer three options, including leaving the USPS as is (with added authority to set rates and changes services). The other choices include a top-to-bottom legislative restructuring, and turning the USPS into a private corporation so that can enter into negotiated service agreements with large-volume mailers. The USPS posted a $1.6 billion deficit last fiscal year and a $199 million deficit the year before. The losses have been attributed to such things a increased use of electronic communications instead of paper mail, rising labor and fuel costs as well as the after effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and anthrax scares."
March 30, 2002 -- The Guardian has reported that "a combination of bad news stories for the government set the media crackling with suggestions of an anti-Blair revolt among Labour MPs. The u-turn on Railtrack (above) and the announcement of redundancies among postal workers (see page 10) were contributory factors, but the focus of dissent remained Blair's backing for possible US action in Iraq. In an interview in the Guardian , Labour MP Gwyneth Dunwoody said the government appeared to "have no principled core . . . no clear idea of its perspectives or its ultimate objectives". The same newspaper revealed that some leftwing MPs were so dissatisfied they were discussing the possibility of running a "stalking horse" to test Blair in a leadership election, although cabinet members dismissed the notion. Ominously for Blair, however, 118 Labour MPs signed a Commons motion opposing military strikes on Iraq."
March 29, 2002 -- The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available on this site.
March 29, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service in Maine gave bonuses to managers after they were disciplined for sexual harassment, a report released Wednesday said. The report by the agency's inspector general said managers did not properly investigate complaints and kept poor records of sexual harassment training. The new report is the product of a yearlong investigation into the postal service's Maine district. It found that strong policies to prevent sexual harassment were in place, but managers sometimes failed to implement them."
March 29, 2002 -- Air Cargo World has reported that "the airline mechanics at UPS Airlines rejected a first contract offer by a huge margin on March 22, sending both parties back to the bargaining table. The contract offer, hailed as the best in the industry, would have given the airline mechanics at Local 2727 a 28 percent wage increase over four years with a top wage of $40 an hour. Today, top mechanics make $30.67 per hour. The UPS mechanics rejection comes on the heels of United Airline's contentious battle with its mechanics and maintenance workers. United's mechanics rejected its contract offer and engaged in pre-strike posturing before ratifying an industry leading contract."
March 29, 2002 -- According to the Asahi Shimbun and wire reports, "the Japanese posts ministry plans to allow private firms seeking to offer postal services to set up mail drops in convenience stores and supermarkets, a concession that will help parcel delivery companies help meet conditions needed to enter the market when it is deregulated in 2003, a senior ministry official said.
March 29, 2002 --According to the New York Times, "hundreds of worried postal workers and neighbors of the anthrax-ridden Brentwood mail sorting center are voicing fears about the coming effort to decontaminate the sprawling building with tons of chlorine dioxide gas. "Most of us do not trust what they tell us," a postal worker angrily declared at a packed public information meeting on Wednesday night, drawing loud applause from a crowd still anxious over the anthrax deaths of two Brentwood workers and the illness of two others who handled terrorist mail laced with the highly lethal toxin last fall."
March 29, 2002 -- According to the Liverpool Echo, "England's qualification for the World Cup Finals in Japan and South Korea is being celebrated in a new set of stamps. The World Cup issue comes in a block of four first-class stamps and depicts a football on a fluttering flag of St George."
March 29, 2002 -- The Evening Standard has reported that, "mail regulator Postcomm today gave its strongest indication yet that the introduction of competition to Consignia will be delayed until well into 2003. In what is being seen as a victory for Allan Leighton, the new chairman of the Post Office and Royal Mail group, regulator Graham Corbett today signalled he is prepared to let up on the pace of market liberalisation to allow the heavily-lossmaking Consignia to get its act together."
March 29, 2002 -- Communications Today has reported that, "even an operation with a customer base as large as the U.S. Postal Service's isn't succeeding with wireless data offerings. The Postal Service on April 7 will stop offering wireless access to its services and data, a feature it launched in January this year. "This pilot effort did not find the support among our customers to make it a viable offering," the Postal Service announced."
March 29, 2002 -- According to Reuters, International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) "on Thursday said it signed a $71 million agreement to provide the U.K. post office with technology and services that will enable customers to bank at its postal branches. IBM said customers will be able to access bank accounts and withdraw benefits and new tax credits such as pensions and child tax credits at the Post Office Ltd. IBM will design and manage the system. The post office has 17,500 branches in the United Kingdom."
March 29, 2002 -- Federal Register Notice: This final rule provides a change to certain sections applicable to Periodicals mail in the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM). It adds a new optional method a publisher may use to determine per-copy weights and to substantiate the advertising percentage in each edition of each issue of a periodical. The new option is called the Periodicals Accuracy, Grading, and Evaluation (PAGE) Program. EFFECTIVE DATE: March 11, 2002. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Charles Tricamo, New York Rates and Classification Service Center, at (212) 613-8754.
March 29, 2002 -- According to The Scotsman, "a powerful trade union is to slash its donation to the Labour Party to form a fighting fund to oppose the government's "privatisation" of the Post Office. The Communication Workers Union announced yesterday it was to reduce its funding by half a million pounds over the next three years. The decision is the latest blow to Labour's long association with the trade union movement, which is now stretched to breaking point. It follows the GMB's announcement that it would withhold oe1 million from Labour and the Unison's decision to review the conditions of its annual oe2 million donation." According to The Independent, "Tony Blair came under fresh pressure yesterday to abandon his pro-business policies as one of Labour's biggest financial donors slashed its payments to the party by a third. Leaders of the Communications Workers' Union (CWU) voted unanimously to reduce its contributions to Labour by pounds 500,000 over three years. The initiative by the union follows news of massive job losses at Consignia, the renamed Post Office, brought on largely by ministers' insistence on introducing competition to the industry. Billy Hayes, the leader of the 280,000-strong union, said: "We gave Labour pounds 1m before the last election and what did we get for it? 40,000 redundancies."
March 29, 2002 -- According to the Business Recorder, "shares in IntesaBci were up 10 percent shortly before the close of trade on Thursday when the Italian bank announced the appointment of Corrado Passera as a new chief executive. IntesaBci shares were up 9.64 percent at 3.47 euros in pre-close trade at 1628 GMT, their highest level since last September and volume was four times heavier than normal levels. Traders said the jump was linked to the announcement that Passera - considered a turnaround specialist after boosting the profitability of Italy's postal service - would join the bank as co-chief executive."
March 28, 2002 -- AFX has reported that, "Corrado Passera, chief executive of the Italian post office, said he would resign on April 30 if he is appointed chief executive at IntesaBci. Speaking to reporters, Passera said "let's wait and see what is decided today." IntesaBci is holding a board meeting to examine full year results. According to the daily, Il Sole 24 Ore Passera is expected to replace Lino Benassi as chief executive. The second chief executive, Christian Merle, is expected to stay, the daily said." According to Bloomberg.com, Corrado Passera once said the Italian postal service he returned to profit had been known for ``inefficiency and slow service.''
March 28, 2002 -- The PR Newswire has reported that, "with over 800,000 employees, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is the largest civil agency in the U.S. -- and earlier this week the USPS selected the Internet Complaints Management System (iComplaints) developed by MicroPact Engineering, Inc. (http://www.micropact.com/) to manage, track and report all Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) cases for USPS nationwide. "We are extremely pleased to be assisting the USPS with its EEO processes," said Kris Collo, President of MicroPact. "We are committed to providing the best value and service possible for this important initiative." iComplaints is an enterprise-level, Web based application. The system is fully compliant with EEOC MD-110 (EEOC Directive) and includes the complete set of data elements and on-screen formatting required by EEO Form 462. User training is provided through an online training module."
March 28, 2002 -- According to the Washington Times, "the U.S. Postal Service next week will announce a plan to restructure the nation's mail system to make it operate more like a private business. Postal Service officials say the planned revamping of mail service could have a broad effect on the $900-billion-a year mailing industry, affecting everything from the way people choose to send correspondence to thousands of postal jobs. The most likely scenario would allow Postal Service administrators to decide rates and service changes without the nearly year-long regulatory procedure currently required by the agency's 1970 charter. Only one of the three scenarios in the "transformational plan" would leave the Postal Service with roughly the same structure as now. However, that scenario also predicts further financial losses and the need for greater government assistance. The other two scenarios would let supply and demand determine postal rates and services, either in one vast restructuring or in increments. The Postal Service is scheduled to release the proposal April 4."
March 28, 2002 -- According to the Washington Post, "the coming decontamination of the District's principal mail-processing plant drew hundreds of postal workers and residents to a neighborhood meeting last night, seeking assurances that no anthrax spores will remain and none of the toxic gas that will be used to kill them will leak. Nearly filling the 800 seats at Isle of Patmos Baptist Church on Rhode Island Avenue, not far from the quarantined Brentwood plant in Northeast Washington, the polite but worried crowd peppered officials with questions about their plan to pump chlorine dioxide gas into the building sometime this spring."
March 28, 2002 -- The Washington Post has reported that, "the 94-year-old Connecticut woman who died of inhalation anthrax last fall may have been infected by ripping her mail in half, releasing deadly spores into the air, health officials said. Investigators have never given a conclusive explanation for Ottilie Lundgren's death Nov. 21, one of five since anthrax-laden letters were mailed to media and political offices in the fall. But they have long suspected cross-contamination of her mail. About 80 percent of Lundgren's mail was bulk delivery, some of which passed through the same Trenton, N.J., postal facility that handled contaminated letters sent to Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, said Connecticut's state epidemiologist Dr. James Hadler."
March 28, 2002 -- According to DMNews, "Royal Mail is preparing to introduce a new pricing system that takes into account the size of an item,as well as weight when determining the postage, the agency said yesterday. Royal Mail, which is part of Consignia, is briefing customers and trade associations about the idea. Royal Mail said it will take several months to brief parties before it takes a final proposal to industry regulator Postcomm and consumer watchdog Postwatch in the summer. The current weight-based system of pricing subsidizes lightweight but bulky items at the expense of other items, Royal Mail said."
March 28, 2002 -- According to the Financial Times, The British "government's problems with its backbenchers deepened on Monday as Labour MPs voiced anger at the prospect of job losses at Consignia and met a taxpayers' bail-out for Railtrack shareholders with surly resignation. Patricia Hewitt, trade and industry secretary, received a hostile reception when she told the Commons that plans to axe 15,000 Consignia jobs were "the first of several necessary steps" to renewing Britain's postal service. This could require another government bail-out of up to £400m to support the cost of generous redundancies needed to avert the threat of a national postal strike. Ms Hewitt said Consignia would be allowed to skip dividends of £64m due to be paid to the government this year, and she would reconsider future payments in the light of the restructuring costs. But negotiations are expected with the Treasury over the return of dividends paid in previous years."
March 28, 2002 -- According to The Daily Record, "Consignia is drawing up a radical plan costing millions - to change its name back to the Post Office. Bosses are considering the embarrassing U-turn just one year after spending £2million launching the unpopular Consignia name. And while thousands of postal workers face the axe, marketing men will be dancing for joy as huge sums are spent changing stationary, vans and signs. The Post Office renamed itself when it became a plc and was granted more commercial freedom."
March 27, 2002 -- China Daily has reported, "conflicts between the State Postal Bureau (China Post) and hundreds of express delivery companies are intensifying, with each side condemning the other for violating their legal rights. In an announcement earlier this month, China Post said that all express delivery operators would only be allowed to deliver goods that weigh more than 500 grams and cost more than China Post's Express Mail Service (EMS). The bureau said related companies should discontinue express delivery services immediately in order to "protect the China Post's exclusive right" to operate in this business. Hundreds of express delivery companies, including local joint ventures of the top five global delivery businesses, DHL, Fedex, UPS, TNT and OLS, responded sharply, claiming China Post is "killing the express delivery industry."
March 27, 2002 -- According to AFX, "Deutsche Post World Net AG said its units Deutsche Post Global Mail and DHL Worldwide Express are to merge their international mail activities to enhance the group's position in international mail business. It said Deutsche Post Global Mail will take over the former DHL product WorldMail and process these items in its own network."
March 27, 2002 -- According to Asia Intelligence Wire, "United States-based Federal Express (FedEx) yesterday said it was not in the running for the proposed express cargo terminal at Chek Lap Kok airport, leaving DHL Worldwide Express as the only operator to tender a bid for the project. United Parcel Service (UPS) and TNT Express Worldwide, the other two preferred bidders, chose not to submit a tender by the March 15 deadline."
March 27, 2002 -- Kyodo News has reported that, "new players in Japan's postal services would be obliged to set flat rates nationwide for ordinary mail of up to 250 grams after partial liberalization in 2003 under government-drafted legislation, ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) officials said Tuesday. The legislation would require private firms to set a flat rate of 80 yen or less for mail of up to 25 grams and an unspecified flat rate for items weighing up to 250 grams, they said.
March 27, 2002 -- According to The Guardian, "if the Post Office appears to have lost the plot, so have the rest of us. Just how it managed to turn a pre-tax profit of pounds 608m in 1998-99 into a loss of pounds 27m two years later, despite a 16% increase in sales - and before the onset of liberalisation and the loss of social security revenue - is still a bit of a mystery. No wonder its new chairman, Allan Leighton, is drawing a line over the past. Clearly, something radical has to be done if the PO is to have any chance of restoring its former iconic status as a role model for the concept of efficient public enterprise. It has lost that image during the past 10 years. It is not entirely its own fault. It has been subjected to endless government bickering about its future and deadly interference including the wanton milking of pounds 1.5bn of its profits, by the Treasury which could have been used for vital investment. While all this was happening, continental rivals were reinvesting and snapping up all the available parcel companies in preparation for full EU liberalisation."
March 27, 2002 -- The Financial Times has reported that, "Allan Leighton will receive up to Pounds 200,000 a year as chairman of Consignia and may keep some of his 10 other directorships - but he will have to demonstrate performance to earn his pay. Patricia Hewitt, trade and industry secretary, has insisted that 90 per cent of his remuneration must depend on the impact he makes on efficiency at the loss-making former Post Office, which faces up to 40,000 job losses. Mr Leighton will remain on the basic salary of Pounds 20,000 a year he was earning for working one day a week as a non-executive director of the company."
March 27, 2002 -- According to the Associated Press, union officials and Consignia have agreed to hold talks. "Britain's postal services group Tuesday began talks with union officials to avert any strike action potentially sparked by the company's decision to cut 15,000 jobs. Consignia and the Communication Workers Union said they expected discussions to last several weeks as they attempted to thrash out a deal to avoid mandatory layoffs. Consignia, the cash-strapped government-owned public company which handles Britain's mail deliveries and post offices, announced the job cuts Monday and warned of potentially thousands more as it attempts to turn itself around."
March 27, 2002 -- The Western Mail has reported that, "talks were under way yesterday to avoid compulsory lay-offs at Consignia - with the threat of strike action hanging over the outcome. Postal unions and managers at the company said they had entered a phase of several weeks' discussions aimed at thrashing out a deal to stave off compulsory redundancies."
March 27, 2002 -- Bangkok Post has reported that, "Thailand's efforts to become a direct marketing hub for Asia are being hindered by a lack of infrastructure, according to Robert Edwards, chief executive of the Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA). Mr Edwards was in Bangkok last week speaking to a group of businessmen from the Asia-Pacific region at DM Asia 2002, a two-day conference for offline and online direct-marketing businesses in the region. The Thai postal system lacked incentives for bulk mailers to use the post for direct marketing. Also lacking was a commercial public database of customer information that could be used legitimately under a regulatory body, such as the ADMA, Mr Edwards said. The ADMA, based in Sydney, overseas 500 clients and sets rules and regulations for consumer protection, including the right to withhold personal information from being shared between companies. A major issue preventing Thailand from having a similar commercial database was known database security breaches, which forced major credit-card companies and international banks to keep their customer databases offshore because of repeated instances where information had been leaked to companies from ``inside'' for money, according to Mr Edwards, who is also the president of the Chicago-based International Federation of Marketing Associations."
March 27, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that, "a new stamp in honor of the Norwegian Soccer Federation's 100th anniversary forced the postal service to launch an international manhunt on Wednesday. The 1.3 million stamps have a picture of a soccer referee in action. But it's the wrong referee and the Norwegian postal service has no idea whose likeness it is. "It's really unfortunate," Elisabeth Gjoelme, information director for the postal service, said by telephone. "We bought the rights to the picture in good faith." The stamps were supposed to show Lars Johan Hammer, a 27-year-old refugee who looks nothing like the man in the picture."
March 27, 2002 -- Asia Pulse has reported that, "NEC Corp. (TSE:6701) has developed a system that automatically detects and postmarks stamps on mail, as well as reading postal codes and addresses and sorting. Until now, the postmarking machine and the reading machine have been independent of each other and sold separately. In the new system, a single camera is used to both detect stamps and recognize writing, resulting in a 30 per cent reduction in space requirements. The function that reads handwritten addresses on envelopes and postcards has also been improved, and the processing speed has been boosted to enable the system to handle 40,000 pieces of mail an hour."
March 27, 2002 -- According to Asia Pulse, Taiwan is all set for the opening of direct trade, postal and transportation links with mainland China, with only negotiations now needed to allow the "three direct links" to kick off, Transportation and Communications Minister Lin Lin-san said Monday."
March 27, 2002 -- According to the Financial Times, "it has been a wonder of the past 20 years that large utilities such as telecommunications, power and gas were able to shed about a third of their staff after privatisation with no discernible interruption to service. Now Consignia, the former Post Office, has announced plans to cut 15,000 jobs as a first step in reducing its 220,000 staff by up to a fifth over the next three years. The process will be painful for those involved but cutting costs is essential to ensure a future for an organisation losing Pounds 1.5m a day. Yesterday's announcement includes radical surgery at Parcelforce Worldwide, which accounts for a third of Consignia's losses. More than half its 11,700 staff will be cut by ending the declining and unprofitable delivery of non-urgent parcels. Business users already have alternatives - including Parcelforce's express services - while domestic customers' parcels will be handled along with letters."
March 26, 2002 -- Reuters has reported that, "Britain said on Tuesday it would consider giving back nearly 250 million pounds ($357 million) in cash to loss-making former postal monopoly Consignia [GBPO.UL] to help ensure it survives increasing competition. The state-owned mail service wants the money, which it paid out to the government as dividends, to help fund a huge cost-cutting drive. The mail service plans to cut up to 15,000 jobs over three years in a first round of restructuring as it faces the possible loss of its 250-year monopoly by 2006."
March 26, 2002 -- icWales has reported that, "postal unions are considering strike action after Consignia chiefs admitted up to 45,000 jobs could go. Around 15,000 job cuts have been announced as part of a three-year programme to achieve vital savings of #1.2 billion. Chief executive John Roberts says 30,000 jobs are expected to go in total with a further 15,000 more if plans for greater competition in the vital business bulk market goes ahead. He warned the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee that liberalisation of the market could threaten its ability to deliver letters to every address in the country at the same price."
March 26, 2002 -- According to The Independent, "the government came under fire from Labour MPs yesterday over big job losses in the postal service and naval dockyards and over a U- turn that handed pounds 300m to Railtrack shareholders. As ministers expressed concern privately that Tony Blair was "fighting on too many fronts", Labour backbenchers attacked Consignia's decision to axe 15,000 jobs and the Ministry of Defence's announcement that 750 jobs would be lost in dockyards in Portsmouth, Devonport and on the Clyde and 3,000 workers transferred to private companies."
March 26, 2002 -- According to Ananova, "talks are under way about avoiding compulsory lay-offs at Consignia - with the threat of strike action hanging over the outcome. Postal unions and company managers say they have entered a phase of several weeks' discussions aimed at thrashing out a deal to stave off compulsory redundancies. It follows the admission by Consignia, formerly the Post Office, that up to 45,000 job cuts are in the pipeline - not just the 15,000 announced yesterday."
March 26, 2002 -- The Scotsman has reported that Britain's "Postal workers and unions last night reacted angrily to the announcement of swingeing job cuts in their industry. The news that thousands of jobs are to go within Parcelforce and Consignia's transport delivery system ahead of further losses led one union to contemplate calling a strike if redundancies became compulsory."
March 26, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that, "the company that runs Britain's postal services said Monday it will cut 15,000 jobs, or about 7.5 percent of its work force, over three years as part of a restructuring plan aimed at saving $1.7 billion. As part of the plan, Consignia said it would scale back its money-losing Parcelforce Worldwide business, its package delivery division. The job cuts from work force of about 200,000 will come in a variety of job categories as Consignia is closing four of its 16 mail distribution centers, cutting back on train and truck transport of mail and laying off workers in information technology and vehicle maintenance."
March 26, 2002 -- The Birmingham Post has reported that, "more than 250 postal jobs in the Midlands are to be axed after Consignia yesterday revealed plans for 9,200 redundancies nationwide. Hundreds of others are under threat as dozens of post offices across the region face closure in Consignia's nationwide review of urban post offices. On his first day as chairman, Allan Leighton announced the measures which take the number of job losses in Consignia - which is to revert to its Royal Mail title - to nearly 14,000. Consignia chief executive John Roberts admitted last night that the total number of redundancies could eventually approach 45,000."
March 26, 2002 -- According to the DMNews, in an article written by postal consultant, Cary Baer, "the financial trouble of the U.S. Postal Service has finally begun to significantly affect the Washington political environment. High-level meetings are taking place, press conferences will be held, new postal reform legislation is being floated, and presidential appointments are being announced. All this is being done presumably to strengthen the postal service and help it survive."
March 26, 2002 -- According to the Washington Post, "each day, a team seemingly clothed for a spacewalk waddles through an improvised air lock of tunnels and curtains. Inside, the quarantined Brentwood mail center is now cleaner than the day it was born. The visitors clean it still more, sample conditions and tackle other tasks, then retreat, leaving the anthrax spores alone again in a cavernous structure where 2,000 people once toiled. No matter how much cleaning is done by hand, there are still spores, although no one knows how many. Tests find that they alight sometimes on the processing machines, which have moved no mail since Oct. 21. But usually the spores float, invisibly, beneath sodium-vapor ceiling lights that burn constantly to help the hazmat teams. Brentwood's heating system is dormant, yet the temperature is a steady 80 degrees because of the lights, and because every loading-dock door (100 or so), every skylight (235, give or take), every place where a utility conduit enters or a vent opens, has been taped or blocked or otherwise covered. That keeps the spores from infecting the world beyond. That traps them for their coming demise. Which, if all goes well, is not far off. U.S. Postal Service officials will outline today how they intend to return Brentwood to service as Washington's mail hub in what experts believe will be the most ambitious reclamation of a biohazardous building in the country's history."
March 25, 2002 -- The Los Angeles Times has reported that, "the cost of a first-class stamp will rise to 37 cents this summer, a federal rate-setting agency ruled Friday, but the Postal Service is widely expected to spiral into deeper debt even with the added cash. The 3-cent increase--the largest in a decade--was approved by the Postal Rate Commission after an unusual consultation among the post office, bulk mailers and unions that was itself seen as a sign of the urgency of the mail service's financial problems."
March 25, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that, "from birthday cards to bank statements, charitable appeals to newspapers and magazines, it'll cost more to send mail starting in midsummer. The increase -- including a 3-cent boost to 37 cents for first-class mail -- could come as soon as June 30, giving the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service a boost as it tries to cope with declining business and hundreds of millions of dollars in costs from the terror attacks last fall."
March 25, 2002 -- According to AFX, "Hays DX today launched Total Mail Solutions -- a collection service that finds the most cost effective method of sorting and delivering company letters and parcels. DX, part of the Hays PLC logistics and business services group, is promising major cost savings over conventional postal routes, as well as improved reliability."
March 25, 2002 -- According to All Africa Global Media, "the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) has called on government parastatals and individuals owing it over N14 million to pay up, to enable the organisation function effectively. Mr. Adebayo Jimoh, Area postal Manager for Anambra State, disclosed this while briefing the press at his office in Awka, weekend. Adebayo noted that prompt payment on the services rendered to government parastatals and individuals will enhance effective management of NIPOST, pointing out that NIPOST would always like to maintain its relationship with its customers."
March 25, 2002 -- According to Suddeutsche Zeitung, "Deutsche Post AG, the German postal operator, is facing more problems with the announcement by the country's current opposition parties that it plans to overturn the current tax privilege of up to 450m euros which the service enjoys. Additionally, the CDU said that it will demand that DP pays back millions in VAT."
March 25, 2002 -- According to the Dow Jones Newswires, "the embattled company that runs the U.K.'s postal services said Monday it will cut 15,000 jobs over three years as part of a restructuring plan aimed at saving GBP1.2 billion."
March 25, 2002 -- AFX has reported, "Consignia said it will issue a statement this morning on the progress of the ongoing reorganisation at the post office but declined to comment on reports it is to make 40,000 job cuts as part of the exercise. "Everything that was printed (in the newspapers) so far is pure speculation. We will issue a statement later this morning," a Consignia spokeswoman said."
March 25, 2002 -- MediaNews has reported that "as the Postal Rate Commission gave its blessing Friday to a 3-cent increase effective June 30, industry officials predicted that the 37-cent stamp won't last much beyond a year. Rate Chairman George Omas said another increase is likely next year. Industry officials cited increasing financial difficulties faced by the U.S. Postal Service."
March 24, 2002 -- According to Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) "The Postal Rate Commission's decision to recommend an average 7.7 percent postal rate increase is a Band-Aid on a gaping financial wound. In the long run, this rate hike will not serve anyone's best interests, least of all the Post Office."
March 24, 2002 -- The Daily Yomiuri (Japan) has reported that "the [Japanese] government has mapped out a policy to make it obligatory for firms entering the mail delivery industry to install about 100,000 mailboxes each, bringing the total number of privately installed mailboxes close to 60 percent of those currently used by the Postal Services Agency. But a major home-delivery operator that is considering entering the state-monopolized market said it would examine this condition and decide whether it would be feasible to offer a mailbox collection and delivery service for letters and postcards. There is persistent opposition to the privatization of the three post office services of mail delivery, savings and insurance within the Liberal Democratic Party."
March 23, 2002 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that "Consignia is to cut several thousand jobs from its loss-making parcels division,Parcelforce, in the first step towards achieving a Pounds 1.2bn cost-savings target. The government-owned postal operator is expected to announce early next week that up to a fifth of Parcelforce's 12,000 staff will be made redundant or relocated to other parts of the Royal Mail group. Plans to shut the division entirely after Pounds 400m of losses during the past 10 years were narrowly rejected in favour of 'radical surgery, but not a funeral', according to one person familiar with the review. Selling the business to a rival operator has also been ruled out."
March 23, 2002 -- According to Reuters, "the UK's postal regulator has said it was considering proposals for three further one-year interim postal service licences as part of plans to open state-owned Consignia's [GBPO.UL] market to competition. In a statement dated Thursday, Postcomm said Omega Express had applied for a licence to provide internal courier services for HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland , while London Underground wanted to provide an internal mail service between itself, other members of the London Regional Transport group and the Transport for London group. A third company, Datarun, is seeking a licence to allow it to deliver addressed mail in addition to the publications it already distributes. 'There is no evidence that any of the proposed licences...will have an adverse effect on the provision of a universal service. Their grant would be in the interests of users,' Postcomm said in a statement. Postcomm has already granted four interim licences for small-scale business postal services to Britain's Hays Plc, Business Post Group Plc, privately owned Deya Ltd and Dutch logistics firm TNT Post Groep NV . A final decision on plans to open state-owned Consignia's [GBPO.UL] postal market to competition by 2006 is expected from the regulator in May."
March 23, 2002 -- China Online has reported that "the [Chinese] postal service has been criticizedfreight forwarders for attempting to monopolize the mail-delivery industry through administrative interference. Following the anthrax scare in the United States, the State Council issued an urgent notice at the end of last year on preventing the spread of anthrax through the mail. Based on this, the State Postal Bureau (SPB) has issued a notice ordering all international freight forwarders operating in China to use the postal service for certain inbound and outbound mail deliveries. The notice targets mail and packages that weigh below 500 grams (17.7 ounces) or whose charge is below the standard rate for postal express delivery."
March 23, 2002 -- As the U.S. Postal Service today begins charging an extra five cents for its breast cancer stamp -- bumping up the cost to 45 cents -- Italians can show support for the breast cancer cause through the purchase of the first Italian postage stamp to benefit a health- related cause. Modeled after the American program, the Italian breast cancer stamp was issued earlier this month, and an estimated 12.5 million stamps will be produced. Italy's second "semi-postal stamp," which will be available through 2003, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the death of the last Italian queen, Elena di Savoia, who was known for her philanthropic efforts, which include funding the first cancer center in Italy. (The first was issued in the 1980s to raise money for flood disaster relief.) Like the American stamp that was introduced in 1998, the Italian stamp is priced higher than the standard first-class letter rate -- .62 euros versus the normal .41 euros -- with .21 euros per stamp applied toward different initiatives that further the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's mission to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease.
March 23, 2002 -- CityMail Group AB, which is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, has sold to Norway Post its holdings in the associated company, CityMail Sweden, the Swedish distribution operations. During 2000, CityMail Group started streamlining operations in order to focus on the profitable growth in Europe of the business area, OptiMail. The optimisation of postal flows is particularly important for larger consumer companies that invoice their customers in arrears, e.g. telecommunications operators and electricity companies. A change of name to OptiMail AB will be proposed at the Annual General Meeting of the shareholders of CityMail Group AB to be held on 24 April.
March 23, 2002 -- Taxpayers for Common Sense, an independent budget watchdog, today criticized the U.S. Postal Service for raising postage prices, calling it a "major tax increase on working-people and small business."
March 23, 2002 -- Bid4Assets, Inc., a full-service asset disposition and advisory services company, will auction one and a half acres of vacant land in Michigan for the U.S. Postal Service. The online auction will be held April 5 - 11 on the Bid4Assets Web site, http://www.bid4assets.com . Bid4Assets has conducted online asset sales for the U.S. Postal Service since August 2000. This is the Postal Service's first online auction of real estate.
March 23, 2002 -- Target Marketing has some suggestions on getting the most from your lettershop.
March 23, 2002 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "United Parcel Service and Philippine Airlines have agreed on a deal in which UPS will use PAL's Hong Kong rights to serve the island nation when the logistics giant opens its intra-Asia hub near Manila April 1. The arrangement also provides for UPS to serve Taipei, Manila, Singapore, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and Osaka. In addition, a daily flight from Europe that stops in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) will also stop at the new hub at the former Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines."
March 23, 2002 -- According to Traffic World, "the world's [air] freighter fleet will look vastly different in 10 years than it does today, mainly because shippers are moving away from overnight shipping to deferred products that can be moved over the road. Small freighters, those that carry less than 25 tons, are falling out of favor fast because the stage lengths those airplanes fly can be replaced easily by trucks. Large widebody freighters will be in great demand toward the end of the decade to keep up with an expected 5.1 percent combined annual growth rate in international air cargo, according to Brian Clancy, principal of Arlington, Va.-based consulting firm MergeGlobal. It's not all doom and gloom, but the air freight industry has indelibly changed."
March 22, 2002 -- The Postal Rate Commission has issued its recommended decision in the matter of Docket No. R2001-1. The decision as well as the rate decision press materials can be found on the PRC's web site. See also the story by the Associated Press. Check the PostCom rate charts for the latest on which categories rise by how much.
March 22, 2002 -- At the meeting of the Postal Operations Council (POC) of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), to be held in Bern in mid-April, a decision will be made on the UPU system of terminal dues to be applied in mail exchanges between industrialized countries during the years 2004 and 2005. Several options have been developed by UPU's Terminal Dues Action Group, and these will be considered by the POC during its meetings. A draft position paper on this issue that has been developed by the U.S. Postal Service following discussions with the Department of State has been posted on State's site..The paper gives the background to the current terminal dues issue and makes a recommendation for a U.S. position. This issue will be discussed next at meetings of the UPU Terminal Dues Action Group on April 4 and 11, 2002, and by the UPU Postal Operations Council during the week of April 15, when a decision will be made on this issue. Comment on these proposals is welcome. It may be directed by e-mail to Neil A. Boyer of the Department of State’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs, at email@example.com.
March 22, 2002 -- The Office of the Consumer Advocate (OCA) has filed a motion with the Postal Rate Commission to request that the Commission institute a proceeding to consider the postal/nonpostal character of specified services and the establishment of rules to require a full accounting of the costs and revenues of nonpostal services.
March 22, 2002 -- The Financial Times has marked the new chairman of Consignia (the British post office) as a potential winner. "Resurrection is what Consignia needs and the 48-year-old Mr Leighton has plenty of experience to draw on."
March 22, 2002 -- Standard & Poor's has affirmed the double-'A'-minus rating on New Zealand Post Ltd. (Post) and the outlook remains stable. The ratings have been affirmed as there has been little change to Post's strong underlying risk profile since the previous review in February 2001.
March 22, 2002 -- According to the Financial Times (U.K.), "like far too many letters, competition in postal services will be delivered late. Postcomm has agreed to extend the deadline for introducing greater competition in the post. The regulator's decision, made at the request of Consignia, which operates the Royal Mail and its staff union, delays the process by only one month. But after almost two years of planning and consultation, no further delays must be conceded in liberalising a market crying out for competition to improve the appalling service provided to mail users."
March 22, 2002 -- Les Echos (France) has reported that "According to the Greek ministry for transport and communication, French postal group La Poste is the only group in the running to acquire a 10 per cent stake in Elta, its Greek counterpart. La Poste is also in line to acquire a 50 per cent stake in Messageries Rapides, a subsidiary of Elta. An announcement is expected from the government on the outcome of the operation 'by the end of this week'. The sale would be the first step in a partial privatisation of the Greek postal group with a stock market flotation planned for sometime in the future."
March 22, 2002 -- Nihon Keizai Shimbun has reported that "private firms entering the mail delivery business would be required to keep the minimum rates for sending letters or postcards at 80 yen or under, according to the outline of the mail privatization bill compiled by the Posts Ministry. The mail delivery business will be opened up to the private sector in 2003, when public mail delivery services are transferred from the Postal Services Agency to a public corporation, the Postal Services Corp. The outline of the bill requires companies handling all types of mail to make daily deliveries nationwide and set up one mailbox each for a certain number of people. It also includes guidelines to ensure that rural areas get more mailboxes per capita than urban centers. These conditions will be checked by the ministry when private firms apply for approval to enter the business. Minimum delivery rates will also be subject to approval by the ministry."
March 22, 2002 -- The Polish News Bulletin has reported that "the Supreme Board of Inspection (NIK) has found irregularities at Poczta Polska, which cost the state-owned company ZL1.5m. 'The Post Office,' it said, "suffers from a chronic disease - the lack of interest on the part of executives in its economic well-being."
March 22, 2002 -- The Asia Intelligence Wire has reported that "the Department of Post (DoP), Government of India, is to introduce Logistics Post by the end of 2002. Logistics Post is a service to transport bulk goods, like consumer durables, for companies. It is negotiating with the Indian Railways and road transport corporations of States."
March 22, 2002 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "Consignia, the Post Office and Royal Mail group, could face further competition because industry regulator Postcomm is considering issuing one-year licences to Securicor Omega Express, London Underground and Datarun for specialist business services. Securicor is hoping to provide internal courier services for HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland, while London Underground plans an internal mail service between itself, other members of the London Regional Transport group and members of Transport for London. Datarun is seeking an interim licence allowing it to deliver addressed mail, such as invoices and subscription renewals alongside the existing delivery of publications."
March 21, 2002 -- In its most recent report to Congress on the status of the U.S. Postal Service, the General Accounting Office said that the:
USPS’s financial outlook is becoming increasingly dire. USPS has continuing deficits, severe cash-flow pressures, rising debt, and liabilities that exceed its assets. USPS also lacks sufficient income to fund growing capital asset needs for safety, maintenance, expansion, and modernization as well as to fund its liabilities. In fiscal year 2001, USPS reported a $1.68 billion deficit, up from a $199 million deficit in the preceding fiscal year. Further, USPS budgeted for a $1.35 billion deficit in fiscal year 2002, before the catastrophic events of September 11 and subsequent use of the mail to transmit anthrax. The combined effect of these events and the current economic slowdown have served to further exacerbate USPS’s financial difficulties by decreasing postal revenues, while postal costs continued to increase despite additional USPS cost-cutting efforts. USPS’s mail volumes are beginning to decline in its major revenue producing areas, and despite recent rate increases, its costs are increasing faster than its revenues. USPS has requested an above-inflation rate increase that is expected to take effect later this year. In the short term, USPS may have to rely primarily on cutting costs and raising rates. However, raising rates may cause mail volumes to decrease and encourage mailers to shift more mail to electronic and other delivery alternatives. In the long term, pressures to increase rates will continue as USPS will need increasing amounts of funds to pay its growing long-term obligations, which include employee retirement and health benefits. Thus, USPS’s ability to continue to fulfill its mission by providing the current level of universal postal services at reasonable rates on a self-supporting basis is increasingly at risk."
Well...they couldn't make it plainer than that. For a quick review, see the report by the Associated Press and the release from the Senate Committee on Government Affairs.
March 21, 2002 -- Yo! We got a problem. The Postal Service's revenue, piece, weight report for quarter two of fiscal year 2002 contines to show the downward trend in mail volume. It puts the report by GAO in clear perspective.
March 21, 2002 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Dutch postal and logistics company TPG NV has said that a court in Rotterdam had ruled in its favor concerning a dispute with the postal and telecommunications watchdog OPTA. The dispute centered on conditions OPTA attached to TPG's system for allocating revenues and costs for various activities, including the conveyance of letters weighing up to 100 grams and other mandatory and free services. TPG said the court ruled OPTA doesn't have the authority to impose the conditions and must issue a new decision taking into account TPG's objections."
March 21, 2002 -- The National Business Review (New Zealand) has reported that "Drew Stein, head of New Zealand Post’s controversial overseas consulting arm, Transend Worldwide, has quit, citing the need to 'reduce workload for health and lifestyle reasons.' NZ Post chief executive Elmar Toime said Mr Stein would take sick leave from March 31 and then 'medical retirement' on May 1."
March 21, 2002 -- USA Today has asked: "Is the street-corner mailbox as endangered as the 34-cent stamp? The U.S. Postal Service has removed nearly 7,000 collection boxes in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the anthrax scare. But security issues only hastened a decline that was already under way. Economic troubles and societal changes are threatening the future of the familiar blue boxes."
March 21, 2002 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that "Allan Leighton, the interim chairman of Consignia and 'serial director' in City boardrooms, is poised to take over running the former Post Office permanently."
March 21, 2002 -- An item in The Guardian (U.K.) has noted that "customers love the Post Office, it is part of the British tradition, but they are worried about the delivery service and the closure of offices. Last year that was a rural problem, now no post office is safe."
March 21, 2002 -- The Papua New Guinea Post-Courier has reported that "Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta announced yesterday that the National Executive Council [cabinet] had endorsed the Postal Services (Amendment) Bill, which creates a regulatory framework for the profitable operations of Post PNG Ltd."
March 21, 2002 -- The Polish News Bulletin has reported that "Poczta Polska, the Polish Post Office, would have much better financial results if it had not spent ZL1.5m on causes of debatable economic benefit."
March 21, 2002 -- The Jordan Times has reported that the Jordanian "Cabinet late on Tuesday endorsed a decision to establish a public shareholding company owned by the government to manage the postal services in the country."
March 21, 2002 -- The Bath Chronicle has reported that "plans to open up Britain's postal services to competition could spell serious problems for the south west's army of specialist food and drink producers. NFU President Ben Gill warned that producers in country areas, most of whom depend heavily on mail order, could find themselves left with fewer collections and deliveries, and higher charges if private companies cream off the more profitable urban rounds."
March 20, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that:
The European Court of Justice rejected charges by United Parcel Service that Deutsche Post's purchase of DHL International violated EU fair trade legislation. Atlanta-based UPS sought to stop the purchase of DHL arguing it gave Deutsche Post a dominant position in the express mail delivery market. See also the report by Dow Jones.
March 20, 2002 -- ATG (Art Technology Group, Inc.), a developer of online CRM applications for commerce, portals, and relationship management, has announced that Deutsche Post, the German postal service, has launched a personalized, online post office at www.deutschepost.de/efiliale. Based on the ATG Enterprise Commerce Suite and ATG relationship management framework, the new site enables Deutsche Post to centrally manage relationships with consumers and small to medium-sized businesses that perform postal transactions online. The central management of the interactions with each customer across all business units of Deutsche Post benefits both the postal service and customers. For Deutsche Post, transactions with customers become more efficient and targeted. Customers have a single view of the post office with the ability to access various Web sites and services offered by Deutsche Post from a single site, so they are addressed individually and consistently over time.
March 20, 2002 -- A delegation from Britain's Postal Services Commission (Postcomm), the independent regulator of Consignia (formerly the British Post Office), will present a briefing on Wednesday, March 27, 2002, beginning at 10 a.m., in the Postal Rate Commission's hearing room. The topic is recent regulatory developments in the United Kingdom. The briefing is open to the public.
March 20, 2002 -- EuropeMedia has reported that "after building the internet portal that hosts acquisitions of state companies, the Hungarian Post launched a commercial e-marketplace as well."
March 20, 2002 -- Mad.co.uk (U.K.) has reported that "the Federation of European Direct Marketing (FEDMA) has welcomed the European Parliament's decision to back the opening up of the postal service to competition."
March 20, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that "President Bush is expected to ask Congress this week for another $20 billion to $25 billion to finance the war against terrorism abroad and at home and for other initiatives. Extra money also is possible for the Postal Service as it continues cleaning up from last fall's anthrax attacks."
March 19, 2002 -- CNBC has reported that "in an effort to manage advertising dollars, many businesses are using e-mail marketing campaigns instead of traditional direct mailings, according to GartnerG2, a research service from Gartner, Inc. GartnerG2 analysts said e-mail marketing has become a more cost-effective way to acquire and retain customers. "Direct mail has reached its peak and will account for less than 50 percent of mail received by U.S. households by 2005, down from 65 percent in 2001," said Denise Garcia, research director for GartnerG2 covering the media industry. "As e-mail use, familiarity and trust increases, consumers will become more comfortable with accepting advertisements through their computer." E-mail marketing campaigns have proven to be more efficient, and their success can be measured more easily. On average, it takes four to six weeks to complete a direct mail campaign vs. just seven to ten business days for an e-mail campaign. Responses to direct mail take an average of three to six weeks, while responses to e-mail take an average of three days."
March 19, 2002 -- The Breakthrough Productivity Initiative (BPI) program began in 2000. The goal was to reduce costs by $4 billion to $5 billion over five years. Here we are in 2002. How much has USPS saved through BPI to date? How does $2.8 billion sound to you? The USPS gives an update at USPS Online News.
March 19, 2002 -- PostX Corporation has announced the availability of the Zero-Download PostX Envelope, a new version of PostX's patented secure electronic envelope that is the only software technology with the ability to securely deliver sensitive information via email without requiring the recipient to download any software. PostX's Zero-Download innovation gives organizations a significant advantage in maximizing the adoption of their secure electronic communication initiatives, while positioning PostX as the only company providing secure delivery of sensitive information to any desktop without requiring any client-side software.
March 19, 2002 - One-to-one strategy consulting firm, Peppers and Rogers Group, has promoted Dave Shinnebarger to Partner. He had served the United States Postal Service for 10 years in various corporate marketing capacities, including a two year tenure as Manager of Marketing and Strategy for the United States Postal Service's Expedited and Package Services business unit.
March 19, 2002 -- According to the Daily Post (U.K.) "Post Cymru could be delivering mail inside Wales under a plan by Caernarfon MP Hywel Williams. He criticised Government proposals to open up Consignia - the new name for the Post Office - to competition, claiming it threatened the single price letter service."
March 19, 2002 -- Design Week (U.K.) has reported that "finally, the Post Office is collapsing. And it has been so swift. In recent memory, the Post Office, Royal Mail, call it what you like apart from Consignia, made handsome profits, freezing the cost of postage for years at a time, taking on extra staff to cope with the surge in direct-mail advertising, generally seeming efficient and benign....Suddenly almost everyone has realised there is now no need to send paper cheques in the post when making payment for anything."
March 19, 2002 -- Financial Times has reported that "Consignia has held talks with property companies about the sale of some of its property portfolio, which is thought to be valued at up to Pounds 1.8bn. The state-owned postal group confirmed yesterday that it had spoken to property groups Land Securities and Mapeley, but had not made a decision on a possible sale."
March 19, 2002 -- AFX (Europe) has reported that "TNT Post Group NV and France's La Poste are among a number of companies interested in a 10 pct stake to be sold in Greek post office operator, Elta."
March 19, 2002 -- According to the Chicago Tribune, "United Parcel Service, the company with the big brown trucks full of packages, recently opened a Chicago office for its commercial finance group, UPS Capital. Formed in 1998, UPS Capital does not have the size or stature of some large companies' finance arms, especially GE Capital. But the UPS finance arm has been growing aggressively, and in August 2001 it acquired First International Bank of Hartford, Conn., a bank with 17 offices nationwide that specializes in government-guaranteed lending from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. The Chicago office technically will be part of First International Bank and will cater to small and midsize businesses. Many larger companies will be referred to the umbrella UPS Capital company."
March 19, 2002 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that "Hays has reached a £5.5m ($7.8m) out-of-court settlement with Consignia, signalling that the postal group intends to put up a tough fight against a quick erosion of its monopoly." See also the report in the Evening Standard.
March 19, 2002 -- The Evening Post has reported that "there is room for expansion in the direct mail market despite small and medium-sized businesses using the post less, according to the Royal Mail. Speaking at a marketing and sales event in Bristol sponsored by the Royal Mail's parent company Consignia, spokesman Richard Smith said people who dismissed the post as 'snail mail' were out of touch."
March 19, 2002 -- Die Welt (Germany) has reported that "Deutsche Post AG, the German postal service provider, has announced plans to invest 2.5bn euros in it global IT network in this year. It believes it will be able to make potential savings of around 20 per cent. The worldwide network will be managed by a subsidiary company, IT Solutions, with a staff of 1200."
March 19, 2002 -- Return Path, Inc., a provider of e-mail change of address services, and AccuData America, the largest independent provider of compiled marketing data nationwide, has established a strategic alliance that will help AccuData clients maintain current, updated customer e-mail lists.
March 19, 2002 -- Group 1 Software, a provider of customer relationship management (CRM)- enabling software solutions, has announced that Timothy D. King has been promoted to vice president of postal affairs. Mr. King, a ten-year employee of Group 1 Software, served for over five years as the company's director of product management for postal products. In his new role, he will oversee product development, marketing and support of the company's direct marketing and postal applications. He will also serve as Group 1's liaison to the United States Postal Service (USPS), Canada Post Corporation (CPC), other international postal authorities and industry associations.
March 18, 2002 -- The British Communication Managers Association (CMA) section of Amicus, the union for 15,000 managers and professionals in Consignia, says that Postcomm's competition proposals will be disastrous for Britain's postal services. In its response to the Postcomm proposals, the CMA fears that the introduction of competition and levying of VAT on postal services could lead to an increase in first class stamp price to 39p. The CMA also fears that the continuation of the universal service that currently exists with uniform pricing will be shattered by the proposals
March 18, 2002 -- The Evening Standard (U.K.) has reported that "Buckingham Palace is in talks with mail firm Business Post over a request to put the Queen's head on the first private stamps.The Birmingham-based company is poised to challenge Royal Mail's postal monopoly, collecting and sorting business post, and is looking to add value to its stamps."
March 18, 2002 -- According to BusinessWorld (Philippines), "despite the advent of modern technology and the proliferation of private letter couriers, the Philippine Postal Corp. (PPC) still controls up to 90% of the mail delivery business."
March 17, 2002 -- The Independent (U.K.) has reported that "Consignia plans to raise £1.8bn by selling property portfolio."
March 16, 2002 -- According to Traffic World, "using the government's fiscal calendar with the year ending Sept. 30, forecasters believe domestic freight/express revenue ton-miles will fall 2.1 percent in 2002, grow 3 percent in 2003 and level off at an optimistic 4.6 percent growth level annually for the remainder of the decade. Internationally, forecasters expect revenue ton-mile levels to fall 2.3 percent in 2002, grow 5.5 percent in 2003 and achieve 6.2 percent growth from 2004 to 2013. Systemwide forecasters expect air cargo traffic to grow at an annual rate of 4.4 percent through 2013."
March 16, 2002 -- The American Postal Workers Union explains "Why the Proposed Postage Rates are Bad for the Postal Service & Bad for America."
March 16, 2002 -- SkyNews has reported that British "postal workers from across the country are staging a protest march in the capital.They fear more competition could hit deliveries and lead to higher stamp prices and job losses. The Communication Workers Union is fighting plans by regulator Postcomm to give rivals the chance to bid for Consignia's business." See also the report by the BBC.
March 16, 2002 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "a leading Wall Street analyst downgraded FedEx Corp. stock Friday, while upgrading United Parcel Service ahead of expectations that UPS will avoid a strike by the Teamsters this summer."
March 16, 2002 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Netherlands-based postal and logistics company TPG NV has agreed to sell a majority stake in Mistral Air to Italian Post for an undisclosed sum. Mistral Air provides TPG's air transport in Italy."
March 15, 2002 -- The Washington Times has reported that "a new mail sorting machine is designed to detect, filter and analyze micron-sized biohazards such as anthrax in mail is the latest invention spurred by the events of last fall. Officials with Lockheed Martin Inc. said yesterday that its BioMailSolution system is being marketed to federal government agencies in the District and nationwide that receive mail not radiated by the U.S. Postal Service — a security precaution implemented in late October after the anthrax attacks that killed two workers at the Brentwood facility in Northeast."
March 15, 2002 -- The Winston-Salem Journal has reported that "U.S. Postal Service officials plan to reduce operations at the mail-processing center in Winston-Salem by moving 40jobs and equipment to a distribution center in Greensboro."
March 15, 2002 -- West Hawaii Today has reported that "a new airline contract with the U.S. postal service will result in Big Island branches changing their afternoon services."
March 15, 2002 -- The Cape Cod Times has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service is again considering plans to move the processing of all Cape Cod mail from Wareham to Providence, R.I. While the plan may save money for the financially strapped service, it may come at the cost of delayed deliveries, and perhaps some jobs." Okay, this is the third such story in a row. Anyone spotted a pattern yet?
March 15, 2002 -- Suddeutsche Zeitung (Germany) has reported that "Deutsche Post AG, the German postal service operator, plans to take advantage plans by Brussels to open up the EU telecommunications market. The EU has now decided to reduce the upper weight limit for monopolies on letter deliveries to 100 grams on 1 January 2003, and further to 50 grams on 1 January 2006. Deutsche Post reports that it has already proved its abilities on an 'extensively deregulated domestic market' and that it plans, gradually, to make use of potential offered by other European markets."
March 15, 2002 -- The U.S. Postal Service's emergency preparedness plan is available at http://www.usps.com/news/2002/epp/welcome.htm.
March 15, 2002 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service is trying to keep a report that is highly critical of its operations from derailing the agency's request to boost the price of a first-class stamp by nearly 10% as early as June. The report, filed last week by the Office of the Consumer Advocate, accuses the Postal Service of 'unacceptable' customer-service deficiencies ranging from long lines at post offices to delays in delivery of Priority Mail, which the report claims moves more slowly than much-cheaper first-class mail. Shelley S. Dreifuss, acting director for the consumer-advocate office, which is charged with representing the interests of the general public in postage-rate proceedings, said the report's conclusions were based on Postal Service data and additional tests." A complete copy of the OCA's report is available on the Postal Rate Commission web site. [It's a big file.]
March 15, 2002 -- The U.S. Postal Service has published in Commerce Business Daily a request for proposal for someone to conduct its Household Diary Study.
March 15, 2002 -- "Competing postmen and women dressed in Day-Glo jogging gear, door-to-door sales staff pushing special offers on letter delivery, and financial ruin for Consignia, previously known as the Post Office.""The Guardian (U.K.) asks: "Is this a vision of mail services by the year 2010? Critics are convinced it will be if the government endorses competition in a bid to make the operation more efficient and cheaper to run."
March 15, 2002 -- The Christchurch Press (New Zealand) has reported that "the heat has been turned up on New Zealand Post after Parliament's influential finance and expenditure committee refused to sign off its financial review and announced an inquiry sparked by it blocking the release of documents."
March 15, 2002 -- CNET has reported that "the bells and whistles of online advertising are about to get louder. EyeWonder, which makes video and audio streaming ad technology, said Thursday that it has signed on 50 new customers, including The Wall Street Journal Online, Forbes.com, eUniverse, the World Wrestling Federation and the Tribune newspapers. Through the agreements, the companies can resell EyeWonder's technology to advertising customers. The Atlanta-based company's software lets marketers air TV-like broadcasts in Web ads, including banners and pop-up windows. Through Java, a programming language for adding animation and other action to Web sites, the streaming ads run without a separate player, or plug-in. Most of the ads play sound and video automatically once a Web surfer opens the hosted page."
March 15, 2002 -- The Federal Communications Commission has moved to eliminate regulatory strictures that have slowed the speed of broadband Internet technologies to businesses and homes. In other words, the competition between electronic communication alternatives and mail is about to intensify.
March 14, 2002 -- According to the Financial Times, British "bulk mail users said yesterday they supported the postal regulator's moves to open the postal market to competition. Representatives of banks and publishers said introducing competition would help provide a more consistent service."
March 14, 2002 -- Dow Jones has reported that "a bill stipulating the creation of a public postal corporation will include a provision calling for the full opening of the mail business to the private sector, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported in its Thursday morning edition, citing Posts Minister Toranosuke Katayama. 'Private companies will enter the mail business with the same conditions as the current post office network,' Katayama told The Nihon Keizai Shimbun in an interview. The bill is to be submitted to the current Diet session, the business daily reported."
March 14, 2002 -- AFX (U.K.) has reported that "postal services regulator Postcomm said it is to delay the decision allowing competition in the UK postal market to May from April as originally planned. This is after giving in to requests to extend consultation period into the proposed liberalisation of mail services until April 12. The original consultation period was due to close tomorrow."
March 14, 2002 -- According to Catalog Age, "in the wake of the infiltration of anthrax in the postal stream, observers predicted that companies would increase their use of e-mail as a marketing tool. But not one of the catalogers interviewed by Catalog Age indicated that the anthrax attacks had caused them to change their e-mail marketing plans."
March 14, 2002 -- The U.S. Postal Service has posted on its web site the figures from Accounting Period Six for postal fiscal year 2002. But don't go looking for any information about mail volumes. The Postal Service, for whatever reason, has suppressed the usual report on mail volumes by AP.
March 14, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that "the Postal Service is facing a loss of more than $2 billion this year as mail volume lags and costs of sanitizing the mail and cleanup of contaminated offices continue to mount. Postmaster General John E. Potter told a House Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday that the projected deficit for this year is 'somewhere above $2 billion.' The post office is seeking a 3-cent increase in the price of sending a letter, to 37 cents. If the higher prices don't take effect early, losses could rise to $3 billion or more. The agency has submitted a request that $928 million in funds owed to the Postal Service by the federal government be paid in 2003 to enable the post office to resume construction programs. The money had been scheduled to be paid in 32 annual installments, without interest. Ernest Istook, R-Okla, chairman of the subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service and General Government, told Potter, however, that he doubted whether the committee would be in a position to consider a request of that size." A full copy of PMG Potter's statement to the House postal appropriations subcommittee has been posted on the Postal Service's web site. See also immediately below.
March 14, 2002 -- Reuters has reported that "a House panel that oversees the U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday questioned the agency's credibility because it wants to hand out executive bonuses while facing a possible deficit of $4 billion this year."
March 14, 2002 -- The Christchurch Press (New Zealand) has reported that:
Anthrax scares failed to upset the mail market last year, with New Zealand Post reporting an increase in mail volumes of 1.3 per cent for the six months to December 31. However, the increase in letters did not boost the performance, as NZ Post reported an after-tax profit of $16 million, down 28% on the previous first-half.
March 14, 2002 -- EU Business has reported that "the European Parliament has endorsed at second reading the proposal for a Directive to open up postal markets to increased competition, with a view to improving postal services and reducing prices. The proposal marks a path for a gradual and controlled implementation of the Internal Market for postal services, combining more competition with maintenance of a universal service. It requires Member States to open up a substantial additional section of the market to competition from 2003, and a further part from 2006. The text now goes to the Council for second reading and final adoption."
March 14, 2002 -- According to Gartner Research, "discontinuing PosteCS does not signal a shrinking secure e-mail market; rather, it demonstrates that this highly competitive market is still searching for the appropriate architecture and business model. The USPS made a prudent decision to exit the market because secure e-mail service lies outside its core expertise. The USPS could not evolve its service to meet business requirements or customize it to the needs of potential buyers. Instead, it has followed a "one size fits all" vision, and the market has not yet arrived there. Vendors such as PostX and NetDelivery (builders of Canada Post's LaPoste electronic service), which will customize offerings according to user demand, better serve the electronic service market. The LaPoste service is based on the public key infrastructure (PKI) in Canada. In the United States, VeriSign is best prepared to be a PKI provider."
March 14, 2002 -- According to DM News:
The U.S. Postal Service and Consignia, the British postal system, are working to overcome customer complaints about an international delivery agreement between the two agencies earlier this year. Consumers using the service have told the USPS that some package recipients have refused delivery after being hit with duties and fees that were higher than expected. Other customers have complained about late deliveries.
A moratorium for the postage adjustment phase for MERLIN barcode readability tests on flats remains in effect. The Postal Service said that no restart date has been determined, but that once the implementation date is set a 60-day grace period will commence.
March 14, 2002 -- Acccording to the Associated Press, "worried that the 21st century would see Europe fall farther behind the United States economically, the European Union pledged two years ago to sweep away the national divisions and regulatory morass blamed for stifling growth....The process has lost steam...France voted to push the deadline for postal market liberalization back to 2009 — and made it nonbinding."
March 14, 2002 -- CEP News (Courier- Express- and Postal-Market News) has reported that:
The Finnish national post Suomen Posti Oy suffered a dip in profits during the financial year 2001. While the traditional postal operations experienced a period of stagnation (with slightly decreasing letter volumes and an improved parcel turnover) Suomen Posti made progress on its declared target markets: the electronic document service achieved a 29% turnover increase to 78.9m euros, while the adjusted logistics turnover grew by 21%.
The Austrian Österreichische Post is ‘currently miles away’ from performing the services scheduled in the universal services regulation. This verdict was pronounced by Mr Hermann Weber, who is both postal regulator and director of the post and telecommunications authority within the Department of Infrastructure.
Correos de Chile has managed to get out of the red. The Chilean post intends to become more involved in the lucrative express market, where Correos currently holds an approx. 10% market share, which is less than competitors such as DHL or Chile Express. Correos is therefore aiming for a participation in a private express company.
According to a survey carried out by the International Post Corporation (IPC) the Danish post is the fastest among 18 posts in Europe, at least as far as letters from abroad are concerned.
After a four-year inquiry the EU Commission has now established that the government subsidies paid to the Italian post were lawful.
The competitive advantage of Austria’s Österreichische Post resulting from its exemption from sales tax is not understandable and should be removed as soon as possible, according to Mr Hendrik Homan, master licensee for Austria and Hungary of Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE), the franchise subsidiary of United Parcel Service (UPS).
The Russian government has decided on restructuring measures for the post in Russia. Postal reform is aimed mainly at improving the quality of transmission times and security features.
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.
March 14, 2002 -- According to the Evening Express (U.K.) "Scotland's postal service is heading for disaster if plans for privatisation go ahead."
March 14, 2002 -- The Daily Record has reported that "computer e-mail is now more popular than the Royal Mail. New research published yesterday shows the hi-tech messaging system was busier than the Post Office in January. More than 550 million emails were sent that month - compared to 258 million letters. Experts warn that the rise of e-mail could sound the postal service's death knell. New plans by post office bosses Consignia would see the price of first-class stamps rise to 40p. And the days of the second class post are numbered."
March 13, 2002 -- As the Federal Times has noted, "the U.S. Postal Service has pulled the plug on one of its electronic commerce services and is reviewing whether to do the same for others as well."
March 13, 2002 -- The Washington Times has reported that "trade ministers from the United States, Canada and Mexico last year tried to impose greater openness on a procedure under NAFTA that allows companies to sue governments for millions in monetary damages, but the effort has so far failed. As a result, United Parcel Service Inc. is now using the procedure to attack one of its major competitors, Canada Post, in relative secrecy, angering anti-NAFTA activists and the Canadian government."
March 13, 2002 -- The USPS is sponsoring seminars to provide small- and medium-sized businesses with information needed to create successful direct mail programs. Customers learn how to design a direct mail campaign, from start to finish. Find a list of "Direct Mail Made Easy" seminars at www.usps.com/directmail/seminars/schedule.htm.
March 13, 2002 -- The U.S. Postal Service has noted that it "has experienced 'dramatic improvement' in reducing the number of EEO complaints since the REDRESS program was introduced eight years ago."
March 13, 2002 -- Who says the recession's over? According to Catalog Age, "at the 125th Annual Paper Week, hosted by the American Forest & Paper Association, paper predictions ranged from no growth to modest growth of around 2%."
March 13, 2002 -- For the latest information on MERLIN, be sure to check out the Postal Service's RIBBS web site.
March 13, 2002 -- According to Advertising Age, "although it spread through the mails to ultimately infect eleven and kill five, the anthrax terror attack of late September has not had a lasting impact on the direct mail business. Despite public fears about the potential for widespread bioterrorism, most in the $582 billion direct mail industry predicted the public concerns would be short lived."
March 13, 2002 -- Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has urged House members to vigorously question Postmaster General John Potter at a Capitol Hill hearing on the financial state of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Potter is expected to address the USPS's plans to improve mail security, but the hearing presents an opportunity for House members to get answers to many questions regarding postal mismanagement.
March 13, 2002 -- According to Bloomberg News, "European Union leaders are flunking the competitiveness test. 'In terms of growth, development, innovation and investments for expansion Europe can do better,' said Corrado Passera, chief executive officer of Poste Italiane SpA, Italy's state-owned postal service."
March 13, 2002 -- Deputy Chief Inspector J.J. Rowan, Jr. has been appointed as acting chief postal inspector of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Rowan will serve in the position until the new chief postal inspector is selected.
March 13, 2002 -- The U.S. Postal Service has reported that it "will begin using two major U.S. commercial banks – Citibank and U.S. Bancorp – starting with employees' March 29 paycheck. Both institutions have a long history of providing financial services to the Postal Service."
March 13, 2002 -- According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "Siemens Dematic Postal Automation confirmed Friday that it has put more than half of its Arlington real estate up for sale as it continues to consolidate in the wake of struggles by its principal customer, the U.S. Postal Service. Siemens Dematic manufactures mail-sorting and coding equipment. It also confirmed that it has cut back its Arlington work force from 825 in October to 704 at the end of February -- down 121 employees. Five years ago, Siemens, then operating as Electrocom Automation, had 1,750 employees."
March 13, 2002 -- icWales (U.K.) has reported that "there are widespread fears that the UK government proposals leading to the rapid introduction of competition for postal services could result in a complete breakdown in the delivery of a universal service at a reasonable uniform price."
March 13, 2002 -- Financial Times Deutschland has reported that "Deutsche Post AG, the German postal service operator, is embroiled in an argument with its staff over working hours. The trade union, Verdi, has cancelled a special ruling which says that daily working hours are no longer stipulated. It is believed that the argument centres around overtime payment, with the union claiming that employees should be paid for every minute extra they work."
March 13, 2002 -- Kiplinger has reported that "the [Japanese] Postal Services Agency said its postal savings division will start Internet-based banking services on March 25 on the strength of its nationwide network of post offices. The 'Yucho Internet Home Service' will enable holders of postal savings accounts to remit money, check balances at their accounts, have mailmen deliver envelopes containing cash to their homes or any address they specify and to pay for goods and services they buy via the Net."
March 13, 2002 -- The Jerusalem Post has reported that "Deutsche Post's Euro Express couriers will soon be communicating with their home office, updating their Internet site, and printing out receipts on mobile terminals manufactured and developed by Motorola Israel, which today announced it had won the contract worth tens of millions of dollars. The terminals will provide couriers with a sophisticated tool that can read and identify packages as well as communicate in three spectrums: GPS/GPRS, Bluetooth, and Wireless LAN. Even phone calls can be made through the terminal, which is the size of a Palm Pilot but contains three antennae for each of the communication spectrums. The terminal, which runs on Windows CE, also has an advanced touch screen."
March 13, 2002 -- InternetWorld has reported that "keeping track of a fleet of vehicles takes work, but with wireless technology, more businesses are following the movements of their cars, trucks, and vans via the Web. Companies can keep tabs on their valuable equipment, ensure the routes run efficiently, and safeguard against workers goofing off or driving recklessly. These systems often integrate closely with field-force automation systems. These days, with concerns about homeland security, fleet-management systems can also play a part in accounting for the whereabouts of hazardous materials and explosives."
March 13, 2002 -- According to the Journal of Commerce, "First International Bank, which was acquired in 2001 by United Parcel Service, ranked as the top provider of export and working capital loans guaranteed by the Export-Import Bank of the United States last year for the fifth consecutive year."
March 12, 2002 -- Microsoft Corp. has announced that bill pay sign-ups at CNBC on MSN(R) Money ( http://money.msn.com/ ) have more than doubled in the past year, demonstrating the growing momentum of electronic bill pay and banking among today's consumers. In response to the increasing trend, Microsoft is currently offering one year of free online bill pay service to consumers who register to file their 2001 tax return via CNBC on MSN Money.
March 12, 2002 -- La Stampa (Italy) has reported that "Corrado Passera, managing director of Italian postal group Poste Italiane, has said that his group is unlikely to list its shares on the stock market this year. The final decision rests with the Italian government, which controls the group. Mr Passera also said that Poste may break even and generate a modest profit in 2002."
March 12, 2002 -- According to Ted Gerarden, former Consumer Advocate at the Postal Rate Commission, "postal reform legislation has proposed changes in the nature of the Commission, but has not yet considered the question of how the public should be represented before the Commission or elsewhere. H.R. 22 and the current discussion draft retain the undefined “officer of the Commission” approach. The only specific change is the modest addition of express authority to file complaints. Reform legislation, however, offers an opportunity to address the both the nature and scope of public interest representation."
[Editor's Note: If you had any difficulty reading the charts that accompanied an article noted earlier by Alan Robinson, you might want to give it another look.]
March 12, 2002 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Cepheid has agreed to collaborate with a Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) unit and a unit of Smiths Aerospace, London, in order to develop DNA-based, bio-threat detection technology for use on U.S. Postal Service mail-sorting systems. Cepheid said the U.S. Postal Service recently announced an evaluation of polymerase chain reaction technology for possible deployment later this year, but no contract has been awarded, at this time. In a press release Monday, Cepheid said the proposed system will use PCR technology to analyze air samples from mail-sorting systems for trace levels of DNA from anthrax spores and other biological agents. The company is collaborating with Northrop Grumman's automation and information systems division, and with Smiths Aerospace's Environmental Technologies Group Inc. unit." See also the report by Reuters.
March 12, 2002 -- Reuters has reported that "online advertising firm DoubleClick Inc. has sold its e-mail list services unit to database services provider InfoUSA so that it could focus on its e-mail technology business."
March 12, 2002 -- According to Reuters, "When the brown-uniformed drivers from United Parcel Service Inc. jostle for parking spaces with their competitors from FedEx Corp., investors may take it as proof that the economy is on the mend."
March 12, 2002 -- According to The Times (U.K.), "Tony Blair has not yet called Billy Hayes, the leader of the Communication Workers Union, a wrecker. He probably doesn’t dare. Although the Government is attempting to take on all-comers in the public-private partnership debate it has kept well away from the Post Office — one of the most ailing public services. Mr Hayes is therefore probably safe from Mr Blair’s targets even though as a relatively new union leader and as a Liverpudlian leftwinger he has been included in the emergent 'awkward squad'."
March 12, 2002 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that "Business Post is hiring Bill Cockburn, a former chief executive of the Post Office, as non-executive deputy chairman. Mr Cockburn, 59, was chief executive of the Post Office from 1992 to 1995 and stood down last year as BT's group managing director after overseeing the restructuring of its UK operations." According to AFX, "Business Post Group PLC, the UK's fifth largest express parcel delivery company, said its UK Mail subsidiary has signed a collaboration with Pitney Bowes Inc to use its automation technology for mail management and payment solutions."
March 12, 2002 -- The Hanover (NJ) Eagle has reported that "'Whippany' and 'Cedar Knolls' will continue to be the names of the two sections of the township. The U.S. Postal Service, in a letter received by the Township Committee Thursday, Feb. 28, said it was not interested in consolidating the township's four post offices into a single 'Hanover' location. The move would likely have resulted in the elimination of Whippany and Cedar Knolls as neighborhood designations in the township."
March 12, 2002 -- icWales has reported that "Plaid Cymru will tomorrow call for a national postal service for Wales, accusing Consignia of failing the principality. The Welsh nationalists will demand an independent review of the running of Consignia, pointing to its 'financial crisis'."
March 12, 2002 -- Handelsblatt (Germany) has reported that "one week before the Barcelona summit, leading industry associations from Germany and France have come together to call on the governments of their two nations to abandon their reluctance to reform and take the lead in pushing forward the flagging liberalization process within the European Union....For Germany, it is acknowledged that there has been progress towards the liberalization of some markets, but there are areas where serious catching up needs to be done, particularly postal services and local transport services."
March 12, 2002 -- As Reuters has noted, bio-scientists are using a "worldwide screensaver project seeks anthrax cure."
March 12, 2002 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "FedEx Corp. has dropped Arthur Andersen LLP as its independent auditor."
March 12, 2002 -- DM News has reported that "R.R. Donnelley Logistics says that its Operation Showcase reporting system is now available online. Operation Showcase monitors the Destination Delivery Units of the U.S. Postal Service to determine projected in-home delivery dates for mailings. It joins two other Donnelley Logistics tools already being used by customers, Showcase Plus and eShowcase, to provide delivery information from the desktop. Showcase Plus notifies the mailer when the product reaches a seeded recipient in a targeted mailing ZIP code. EShowcase uses USPS scanning equipment to monitor delivery of mail to the USPS sectional center facilities."
March 12, 2002 -- Gulf News has reported that "DHL Worldwide Express will resume its services from Bahrain to Kabul and Kandahar in Afghanistan after a lapse of 17 years."
March 11, 2002 -- Palm Beach Interactive has noted that "mail collection boxes are disappearing from street corners. In the past six months, the U.S. Postal Service has retired more of the blue boxes than ever before -- about 6,800 nationwide and 60 in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast."
March 11, 2002 -- As DM News has reported, "the U.S. Postal Service has presented to Congress a plan that explains the process changes and technology applications that the agency thinks are needed to enhance the safety of postal employees and customers. The plan was devised after President Bush signed into law a $318 billion defense appropriations bill this year that included $500 million for the USPS to screen and sanitize the nation's mail. The plan said that the USPS is emphasizing prevention, detection and risk reduction at the earliest point feasible in its distribution network."
March 11, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that "a general election hasn't been declared yet, but politicians are already doing battle – on the envelopes of Ireland. Opposition parties on Friday decried an unprecedented deal between Ireland's biggest political party, Fianna Fail, and the national postal service that has the post office putting Fianna Fail advertisements on the envelopes of some of the letters it delivers."
March 11, 2002 -- The Times (U.K.) has reported that "the main postal union could face “intolerable pressure” to break its link with the Labour Party because of the Government’s lack of action over problems at the Post Office. In an interview with The Times, Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, said he expected an upsurge in calls to sever the link at the union’s conference. He also believes that breaking the link will be a priority for many activists in the summer round of union conferences because of the controversy over public-private partnerships."
March 11, 2002 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "Martin Stanley, chief executive of mail regulator Postcomm, sent an angry letter to Consignia yesterday, rebutting remarks from the Post Office group on the likely impact of future competition in mail deliveries. Mr Stanley accuses Consignia of trying to pressure the him into watering down proposals but he confirmed that Postcomm was ready to adjust them if necessary."
March 10, 2002 -- Federal Times has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service has determined it can no longer sit and wait for Congress to provide it new statutory powers to cut costs, raise rates and launch new business ventures, as it has requested. Rather, the cash-strapped Postal Service says it will start right away to pursue reform measures on its own that ultimately could transform its business. As a first step, the Postal Service plans to approach the Postal Rate Commission later this month to examine whether it can arrange for postage rates to increase more frequently and predictably. It also is eyeing an initiative to give postage discounts to high-volume customers in exchange for more business or for presorted mail, Postmaster General John Potter said."
March 10, 2002 -- Federal Computer Week has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service has decided to get out of the secure e-mail business and is pulling the plug on its PosteCS service. Unable to make money on the service or find a buyer for it, USPS will discontinue the e-mail initiative. The service was intended mainly for commercial customers such as those who transfer sensitive legal documents or large graphic files. But it never generated revenue."
March 10, 2002 -- The Independent (U.K.) has reported that "John Whittingdale, shadow Trade and Industry Secretary, will this week wade into the dispute over Consignia, by claiming the postal monopoly should be split in two. The Conservative MP will use a keynote speech at a London conference of mail industry executives to launch a twin attack on both Consignia's management and the Government. Mr Whittingdale will claim on Tuesday that by spinning off its Post Office network from the Royal Mail business, Consignia would be able to compete more effectively with private companies entering the market."
March 10, 2002 -- The New York Times has noted that new antenna design technologies could revamp the use of wireless technology for communicating with others or tracking shipments.
March 10, 2002 -- Infosync.com has reported that "Sonera has introduced a mobile purchase payment pilot in the Helsinki metropolitan area, named the Sonera Shopper service, which aims to be a convenient method of payment and a complement to cash and credit cards to be tested from March 5th until August 31st. The Shopper service allows for payment through Visa and Eurocard, as well as Sonera Shopper accounts. In the pilot, bank cards will be issued by the Finnish credit institution Luottokunta. Customers can also establish a Sonera Shopper account, transferring money in advance. User identification is based on the subscription number and a personal security code that the customer keys in. The customer receives an ordinary receipt for his payment as well as a text message confirmation."
March 10, 2002 -- According to the Spokesman Review, "the silhouette of a bucking horse, a hat-waving cowboy on its back, has been Wyoming's registered trademark since the 1970s. But its use by the state goes back almost a century. So when a bucking horse, a hat-waving cowboy on its back, appeared on Montana's stamp in a 50-state U.S. Postal Service commemorative stamp series, Wyoming felt like rustlers had hit. Secretary of State Joe Meyer filed an objection with Karla Corcoran, inspector general of the U.S. Postal Service. He wants money -- ideally the 7.5 percent royalty that is charged those who sell items bearing the logo." Somebody's in for a "rough ride."
March 10, 2002 -- According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, "Deborah Willhite, who helped formulate the U.S. Postal Service's response to last fall's anthrax attacks, stopped taking her antibiotics a full two weeks before her 60-day prescription ended. Willhite, an agency senior vice president who was deemed at risk for anthrax exposure, couldn't stand the vomiting, an occasional side effect of the medication. The last straw was throwing up in a store parking lot."
March 10, 2002 -- According to the Business Standard (India), a recently announced "hike in postal tariffs brings cheer to courier companies. The business of courier companies will go up by 5 to 10 per cent as a result of the hike in postal tariffs announced in the Budget. The increase, according to industry estimates, will be primarily on account of the up to 100 per cent hike in postal tariffs, further narrowing the gap between courier tariffs and the prices charged by the postal department."
March 9, 2002 -- The Washington Post has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service plans to use a highly sophisticated technology -- polymerase chain reaction (PCR) -- to detect anthrax spores and other biohazards in the mail virtually as it is being sorted. The PCR technology is still being tested for adaptation to high-speed postal sorters, but by the end of September, USPS plans to sign a $200 million contract to install the PCR systems at 292 facilities around the country."
March 9, 2002 -- Reuters has reported that "state-owned British postal operator Consignia said on Friday its Royal Mail distribution arm had reached a deal with postal workers' representatives for a 6.9 percent rise in basic pay by April 2003. In a statement, Consignia said the two-year deal with the Communication Workers Union had lifted the threat of strike action from postal workers, who had rejected the company's offer of a 2.8 percent rise on their average pay of 250 pounds ($355) a week." See also The Guardian.
March 9, 2002 -- The Evening Standard (U.K.) has reported that "East London has the shoddiest postal delivery service in the country, according to a damning report. One in five first-class letters delivered to the region do not arrive at their specified destination, figures reveal. The Royal Mail aimed to achieve a 92.1 per cent success rate for first-class post being delivered the next day but in the last three months of last year only 81.7 per cent of all first-class letters delivered reached that target."
March 8, 2002 -- Cargoweb News has reported that "American Airlines Cargo has unveiled AACargoPlus.com, the airline's newest electronic distribution channel for air freight shippers who need one-stop bundled pick-up and delivery services."
March 8, 2002 -- The meeting of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) originally planned for April 3 - 4 has been rescheduled to May 15-16, 2002. The May 16th MTAC General Session meeting will be all day at USPS Headquarters in the Ben Franklin Room. The reception will be held the evening of May 15 at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. This change is required due to difficulty with the availability of meeting space and key postal executives on the originally planned dates.
March 8, 2002 -- IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE USPS ABOUT MERLIN: The moratorium on the postage adjustment phase for Merlin barcode readability tests for FLATS remains in effect. No restart date has yet been determined. Once the date is set, the 60-day grace period will commence. The newly formed joint USPS/Industry Mail Preparation Quality Work group held its first meeting on February 20th to discuss Merlin issues. A list of 20 recommendations was compiled as a result of that meeting. The USPS currently is reviewing the recommendations. There will be a meeting on March 18 of a smaller USPS/Industry work group that will discuss specific technical Merlin issues. After that meeting, another meeting of the Mail Preparation Quality Workgroup will take place to review the workgroup's recommendations and solidify an action plan. No date has yet been set for that meeting, but it likely will take place in the next few weeks. Once an action plan has been finalized, the USPS will communicate it to postal personnel and mailers.
March 8, 2002 -- The U.S. Postal Service has published in the Federal Register a notice "proposing to amend Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) G030, Postal Zones, to clarify the language describing the method used to determine postal zones. This change also removes redundant eligibility information in G030 that is currently in the DMM eligibility standards for Parcel Post and Periodicals mail. Effective with the implementation date of the Docket No. R2001-1 omnibus rate case, the Postal Service will update zone chart coordinates for all 3- digit ZIP Code prefixes in L005, Column A, that do not match the corresponding coordinates for L005, Column B. Comments must be received on or before April 8, 2002."
March 8, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that "eleven people were infected with inhaled anthrax and five died in the recent terrorist disease-by-mail attacks, but a new study shows that without antibiotics it could have been far worse."
March 8, 2002 -- According to CBS Marketwatch, "for all the convenience of banking on the Web, Wells Fargo and most other banks have balked at offering customers a seamless way to see and pay for their bills all at one time. PayPal: Fervor and questions over e-banking alternative. Customer service at seven Web-only banks put to test Online banks struggle to combat consumer resistance. When it comes to viewing presented bills online, banks are well behind. Bill presentment was supposed to be the next big thing for a few years running now and has never really taken off at banks. The technology to make electronic billing easy is in place, but it's mainly credit card companies, individual billers and third-party companies that are taking advantage of it and driving consumers to their sites."
March 8, 2002 -- In an exclusive to the PostCom Bulletin, veteran postal watcher Alan Robinson said that "with just about one-third of the Postal Service's fiscal year over, the Postal Service's revenue picture appears stuck in a rut. Revenues continue to fall behind last year's figures and well below plan. While it is easy to blame the current difficulty on terrorism, examination of volume statistics since 1972 indicates that other factors are at work."
March 8, 2002 -- The Postal Service Board of Governors has announced the selection of John A. Reynolds as its new Deputy Secretary. In his new role, Reynolds will assist the Secretary, William T. Johnstone, with the overall operation of the Office of the Board of Governors. Postmaster General Jack Potter has announced that Ralph Moden has been named Vice President for Strategic Planning. Moden formerly had served as acting vice president in that position.
March 8, 2002 -- The U.S. Postal Service has reported that "after a period of proposal development, the Postal Service's product redesign project is moving toward its market research and cost analysis stage. The product redesign effort is aimed at modifying Postal Service products to reflect changes in customer needs and capabilities, changes in the Postal Service operating environment, and changes in the type and intensity of competition faced by USPS and its customers."
March 8, 2002 -- Also from the Postal Service is the following: "USPS is doing away with postal accounting periods. In FY2004, accounting periods will officially go away and USPS will convert its external systems to report data monthly. That means USPS will begin reporting data like most other businesses and government agencies. The change will better align USPS with customers, competitors and economic forecasts that are done on a monthly and calendar quarter basis."
March 8, 2002 -- Reuters has reported that "The UK's postal regulator on Thursday rejected claims by state-owned postal operator Consignia that it had miscalculated in its plans to open around 30 percent of the postal delivery market to competition. Consignia said on Wednesday that Postcomm's proposal to open the market for bulk mail deliveries of more than 4,000 items to private firms would expose half of Consignia's market to competition, not the 30 percent Postcomm had intended."
March 8, 2002 -- DM News has reported that "a discussion draft on postal reform circulated by House Democrats last month differs significantly from a Republican draft submitted last year, leading postal observers to wonder whether the competing drafts could add more delays to postal reform legislation."
March 8, 2002 -- The United States Postal Service is making "Direct Mail Easy" in 2002 for small and mid-sized businesses through an instructional series of seminars in cities around the U.S. Created through a joint effort with Zairmail, an Internet direct mail specialist, small and mid-sized businesses will receive instruction in how to achieve the proven response rate of direct mail delivered at the speed of the Internet. For a complete 2002 "Direct Mail Made Easy" seminar schedule, please refer to the following link: http://www.usps.com/directmail/seminars/schedule.htm.
March 8, 2002 -- As the Economist has noted, "Europeans were promised a programme of economic reforms that would make the EU the 'most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world' by 2010. Yet recently Frits Bolkestein, the EU's commissioner for the internal market, declared that 'most of the key reforms announced at Lisbon are still on paper, waiting to be approved and implemented. The credibility of all community institutions is at stake. We can't keep on saying the cheque is in the mail.' Two years on, says the frustrated Mr Bolkestein, there is still 'more poetry than motion'."
March 8, 2002 -- According to the Financial Times, "If the entertaining tussle between Consignia and Postcomm were a boxing match, Allan Leighton, the shaven-headed Post Office chairman, would be ahead on points."
March 8, 2002 -- Le Figaro (France) has reported that "the French post office (La Poste) yesterday announced that it has embarked on a review and negotiation of the ways in which it will replace the huge number of employees who are due to retire from its workforce over the next 10 years. Three themes are to be considered, namely, skills development, the development of internal promotion and recruitment. Some 139,000 La Poste staff members are expected to retire between 2002 and 2012, 91,000 of whom have civil-service status."
March 8, 2002 -- Itar-Tass has reported that "Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said on Thursday that the concept of the federal postal service which was considered by the Cabinet of Ministers 'must include steps aiming to improve the quality and reliability of the services provided in this sphere.' He said, 'This sphere of state activity has been overlooked for a number of years. We think of the postman as a person with a heavy bag, but the world of today sees equipment and mechanisms of a different level. We can only say that certain improvements in this sphere exist also in Russia. To overcome the lag, it is necessary to pay special attention to means of delivery, their reliability and the quality of the services provided, said Kasyanov. He also said competition is necessary to boost the services and their quality in this sphere."
March 7, 2002 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that:
March 7, 2002 -- The Independent (U.K.) has reported that "Consignia redoubled its efforts to limit the introduction of competition to the Royal Mail yesterday by claiming that plans put forward by the postal regulator would open up half its monopoly to rival operators."
March 7, 2002 -- The Evening Telegraph (U.K.) has reported that "a fresh postal row erupted yesterday after Consignia claimed that regulator PostComm was using the wrong figures to decide how to open the mail monopoly to competition."
March 7, 2002 -- The New Zealand Herald has reported that "New Zealand Post chiefs say they never intended to mislead MPs by denying they had a report about a troubled contract with South Africa Post."
March 7, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that Japanese Prime Minister "Koizumi highlighted reforms he has implemented since taking office last April, including plans to abolish several money-losing government-funded corporations and setting a timetable for privatizing the country's bloated postal services."
March 7, 2002 -- DM News has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service has begun talks with software developers on a modeling program that the agency would use to redesign its operations and transportation networks. The goal of the Network Integration and Alignment program is to create a logistics network that "reduces the combined costs for us and for mailers as well as eliminate service failures and inefficiencies"
March 7, 2002 -- We're pleased to note that PostCom.Org has been selected "The Political Site of the Day" by AboutPolitics.com.
March 7, 2002 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "FedEx Custom Critical Inc., the FedEx Corp. subsidiary that handles critical shipments, said it has enhanced its online Shipping Toolkit with features that enable customers to quote, schedule, track and map shipments as well as view corresponding shipment documents."
March 7, 2002 -- German postal and logistics giant Deutsche Post is considering a major takeover this year in the United States or in Asia, the group's chief executive said, according to investment magazine Die Teleboerse.
March 7, 2002 -- Ananova (U.K.) has reported that "the price of a first-class stamp could increase to 33p under plans to open up the mail market to increased competition, warns Consignia."
March 6, 2002 -- Postmaster General Jack Potter told the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors that he would be presenting his "transformation plan" to Congress on April 4. He said: "There were those who said the telegraph would replace mail. It didn't happen. Then came the telephone -- another challenge to our relevance. And in the last 30 years, technology exploded: cell phones, personal computers, the Internet, email, and hand-held scanners. Who would have thought 20 years ago that just about every letter in America today would have barcode on it? The Postal Service and its men and women evolved and adapted -- just as America has evolved." Potter is scheduled to address the National Press Club on April 5. See also the report by the Associated Press.
March 6, 2002 -- Transport News has noted that "Mail. Overnight. Same-day. Ground. Air. Fax. Email. In the Information Age, Corporate America has had many options for sending documents and parcels. Now, in this new age of terrorism and bioterrorism, companies face different concerns as fears about security persist."
March 6, 2002 -- According to Britain's Liberal Democrats in response to reports that two members of the Consignia Board will not be taking a 10% pay increase; 'It is crass and insensitive for any of the board of directors to have taken a pay rise of 10% when they are on the brink of a strike over pay and when the finances are so parlous. The postal workers will be immensely cynical that the members of the board are portraying themselves as self-sacrificing heroes by turning down a 10% pay rise that they have awarded themselves. The position of Consignia is so dire with such a recent history of bad management as well as bad labour relations that it would have been more appropriate for them to have awarded themselves a pay cut.'"
March 6, 2002 -- The Financial Times has reported that:
The British company (and prospective Consignia competitor) Hays has called on the postal regulator to press ahead with its plan to end Consignia's monopoly on bulk mail. It also urged Postcomm to grant the support services group permanent licences for its mail services.
March 6, 2002 -- The Guardian has reported that:
Britain's "postal regulator angrily dismissed suggestions that it is backing off plans to end Consignia's postal monopoly. 'Total bollocks' was how Chris Webb, a Postcomm spokesman, described a report in the Financial Times that said Postcomm is preparing to water down its competition proposals for the postal service."
March 6, 2002 -- According to DM News, "International publishing mailers and experts discussed the pros and cons of extraterritorial offices of exchange, or ETOEs, at the 15th Annual Publisher's Multinational Direct Conference yesterday. ETOEs are offices set up by countries outside their national territories for the international exchange of mail. The offices essentially allow international direct mailers to mail through an international postal administration without leaving their host country. Proponents say this lowers mailing rates. ETOEs also may eliminate the need for mailers to use international postal consolidators, who either have deals with or in some cases are owned by postal administrations. More than 50 ETOEs are open in about 15 countries. About a dozen operate in the United States."
March 6, 2002 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that"
FedEx has launched a new service from Frankfurt, Germany, to its hub in Memphis. The carrier will deploy an MD-11 aircraft on the route, with a cargo capacity of 150,000 pounds. The new flight, scheduled to operate Tuesday through Saturday, will give German shippers cut-off times that are one to three hours later than they have had in the past.
March 6, 2002 -- CargoWeb News has reported that "TNT Express, daughter company of TNT Post, is launching a new scheduled night flight connection between its European air hub in Liege, Belgium and Bucharest, Romania. The new service, commencing this week, replaces the commercial uplift services which currently link the Romanian capital to the TNT Express European air network and has been introduced following a 50 per cent growth over the last twelve months in both import & export consignment volumes."
March 6, 2002 -- Computer Weekly has reported that according to "Giga Information Group analyst Lou Agosta, poor data quality can become a major flaw in many businesses' customer relationship management strategies."
March 6, 2002 -- AFX has reported that "European mail and logistics stocks were in focus early morning as Goldman Sachs initiated coverage of sectoral players, saying that Dutch group TPG NV's 15-20 pct premium to Deutsche Post is justified because of its superior financial dynamics and fewer uncertainties."
March 6, 2002 -- Business Objects, a provider of business intelligence (BI) solutions, has announced that Poste Italiane, the newly privatized Italian postal service, has selected Business Objects to strengthen its service and relationships with customers. Poste Italiane purchased BusinessObjects(TM) Application Foundation, an analytic application framework, to build an analytic solution for use in its Call Center Unico Division.
March 5, 2002 -- The Financial Times has reported that:
The [British] postal regulator is preparing to water down its plan to end Consignia's monopoly amid growing government concern that mail services could collapse under the weight of competition. The regulator has come under pressure from ministers who are known to be unhappy with the speed of its proposals. See also the report by the BBC.
Only in the strange world of Consignia, where the state-controlled postal company is preparing to axe an estimated 30,000 jobs, could the workforce be considering a strike for higher pay. Now, there are signs that the two sides could be edging towards a deal that could resolve the pay dispute and remove the threat of nationwide industrial action. The Communication Workers Union may settle for an agreement that gives its members less than the 5 per cent annual pay increase they had originally demanded. It could, at the same time, push for a deal over a longer period.
March 5, 2002 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that:
John Roberts, Consignia's chief executive, and Jerry Cope, the company's managing director of mail services, have done the decent thing by declining a 10% pay rise. It is about the first piece of positive news to come out from Consignia - formerly known as the Post Office until the marketing gurus decided to give it a silly new name.
A huge public sector organisation like the Post Office cannot suddenly be transformed into a hard-nosed, commercial one by installing a whiz-kid for a few hours here and there between his regular dabblings in e-commerce ven tures and housebuilders - however appealing his ideas. The Post Office is in cultural shock. It will take years patiently re-building trust to fix the damage that has already been done, both by bolshy unions and blundering managers.
March 5, 2002 -- ivCoventry.com (U.K.) has reported that "union leaders are praising [British]Post Office bosses John Roberts and Jerry Cope for refusing to accept a 10% wage rise. The increases were proposed for chief executive John Roberts and managing director of mail services Jerry Cope. The suggestion had been attacked as being insensitive as Consignia faces a potentially damaging dispute over pay involving over 145,000 postal workers."
March 5, 2002 -- The following has been brought to you by the Amercan Postal Workers Union in an editorial published in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "The pre-sort discount concept was initiated about 15 years ago by the Postal Service in an effort to retain mail volume from the large direct-mail companies. Since then, it has grown to the point where the Postal Service loses money handling this mail -- the discounts actually exceeding the costs that the Postal Service avoids when high-volume mailers pre-sort their mail."
March 5, 2002 -- Transport Topics has reported that "a unit of FedEx Corp. is handling mail shipments between the U.S. Postal Service and two offsite irradiation facilities until the national mail carrier sets up its own equipment for destroying anthrax and other biological contaminants, FedEx officials confirmed. The Postal Service continues to irradiate mail bound for four zip codes covering federal agencies in the District of Columbia since two postal workers died in October from exposure to anthrax and Senate offices received letters laced with anthrax spores. Companies in Lima, Ohio, and Bridgeport, N.J., that normally decontaminate food and medical equipment are leasing the irradiation facilities to the Postal Service."
March 5, 2002 -- DM News has reported that "e-mail change of address service provider Return Path Inc. is expected to announce today an exclusive agreement with the U.S. Postal Service in which it will provide consumers with change of e-mail address services through the postal service's MoversGuide.com Web site."
March 5, 2002 -- According to El Universal, "the [Mexican] Chamber of Deputies will analyze in its next session, beginning March 15, a series of reforms to prevent abuses in the money transfers made by Mexicans living in the United States. These transfers have become Mexico's third-largest source of income. The initiative would guarantee that the funds would arrive on time and to the correct destination. The idea is that recipients in Mexico would have an alternative account in Mexico and another in a related bank in the United States, avoiding the high cost of transferring money between countries. Gustavo Carvajal Moreno, president of the Foreign Relations Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, said the government could take over the business of transferring money, either through the Mexican Postal System or Telegraph Company."
March 4, 2002 -- The Federal Times has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service has determined it can no longer sit and wait for Congress to provide it new statutory powers to cut costs, raise rates and launch new business ventures, as it has requested. Rather, the cash-strapped Postal Service says it will start right away to pursue reform measures on its own that ultimately could transform its business. As a first step, the Postal Service plans to approach the Postal Rate Commission later this month to examine whether it can arrange for postage rates to increase more frequently and predictably. It also is eyeing an initiative to give postage discounts to high-volume customers in exchange for more business or for presorted mail."
March 4, 2002 -- Be sure to note that the links for R2001 Postal Rate Charts have changed. These charts reflect what we believe will be the rates ultimately recommended by the Postal Rate Commission for R2001.
March 4, 2002 -- The San Francisco Chronicle has noted that "United Parcel Service, the world's largest transportation company, has begun contract negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to renew the largest private sector collective bargaining agreement in the nation and to keep packages moving. UPS started as a foot-and-bicycle messenger service in Seattle in 1907, founded by Jim Casey, a 19-year-old who borrowed $100 from a friend. It now serves more than 200 countries and territories, and has had an 80-year relationship with the Teamsters and a national contract since 1979. It's the largest single employer of Teamsters, whose jobs have grown at the company from 73,000 in 1978 to 230,000 today. UPS pays drivers an average of $23.11 per hour, some 32 percent higher than the average rate of $15.73 for a FedEx driver and 24.7 percent higher than the average rate of $17.39 for a FedEx ground contractor. FedEx, nonunion except for its pilots, declined to confirm or comment on the wage comparison."
March 4, 2002 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "two directors of the loss-making postal group Consignia have decided not to accept recommended pay rises of 10%. The increases were proposed for chief executive John Roberts and managing director of mail services Jerry Cope against a backdrop of heavy losses and a pay dispute involving over 145,000 postmen and women. In a short statement, Mr Roberts announced that the two men had decided not to take the pay increases 'at this time'. Mr Roberts said: 'The debate about levels of pay within Consignia is legitimate, but our priority is the pay of postmen and women. The business is in a perilous state and the key issue for all of us is affordability. Jerry Cope and myself have therefore decided not to take pay increases at this time.' The basic pay of Mr Roberts is £205,000 while Mr Cope is on a salary of £140,000." See also the Evening Standard.
March 4, 2002 -- Group 1 Software, a provider of customer relationship management (CRM)-enabling software solutions, has entered into a Licensing Agreement with the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a specialized agency of the United Nations headquartered in Berne, Switzerland. With the agreement, Group 1 will incorporate in its data quality solutions postal data from the UPU's Universal POST*CODE® DataBase. The Universal POST*CODE® DataBase contains locality and street-level data for more than 180 member countries worldwide. The Universal POST*CODE® DataBase is designed and developed by the UPU as a global database and basic tool in a unique format which enables postal service customers to address mail items correctly and to eliminate addressing errors.
March 4, 2002 -- As GovExec.Com has noted, "Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham two weeks ago became the first Cabinet member to send a digitally signed document to President Bush. Thanks to a system developed by VeriSign, with the aid of Adobe Systems, Abraham sent the more than 9,500-page report in a PDF file directly to Bush, saving taxpayers an estimated $1 million in printing costs, according to VeriSign. And it got there...something you may not be able to say about mail that's exchanged within Washington, DC these days.
March 4, 2002 -- United Parcel Service and Fedex have made Fortune magazine's "most admired companies" list.
March 4, 2002 -- The Scotsman (U.K.) has reported that "the chief executive and another director of the troubled postal group Consignia are in line for 10 per cent pay rises, it was reported last night. The proposed pay increase has been criticised as “insensitive” by staff and union officials, themselves denied a 5 per cent wage rise due to falling profits. The group has been making a loss of £1.5 million a day and has threatened to cut 30,000 jobs in the near future." See also the Financial Times and The Independent.
March 4, 2002 -- According to the Wall Street Journal, "the U.S. economy appears to be steaming out of recession, confounding broad-based expectations of a languid recovery and benefiting from a new flexibility woven into its fabric over the last decade." A mailer's prayer: "From the Journal's mouth to God's ear."
March 4, 2002 -- Newsday has reported that "what happened over 10 days beginning Oct. 12, when an anthrax-laden letter went through Brentwood, is a story of missteps, poor communication and faulty assumptions, according to documents and dozens of interviews with postal workers, their friends and families, doctors, and officials with the Postal Service, area hospitals, federal and local health agencies. Some postal workers say it also is a story of a double standard, one for the largely black workforce at the Postal Service, another for the largely white one in Congress."
March 4, 2002 -- The Miami Herald has noted that "while the weak corporate climate has set up speed bumps on the tarmac of its FedEx Express roots, the consumer-based FedEx Ground business is booming, with volume up by 20 percent in the current quarter. FedEx, along with UPS and the U.S. Postal Service, has reaped more benefit from the e-commerce revolution by delivering the packages than those who run the storefronts themselves. While teaming up with the post office has helped the Priority Mail business, it's the newer, slower ventures such as home delivery that has FedEx excited about the future. FedEx Home Delivery, aimed at the business-to-consumer market, will now cover 90 percent of the U.S. population. The delivery business bears watching. Snap up some shares for a reasonable price, and they may deliver profits for years to come."
March 3, 2002 -- President George W. Bush has announced his intention to nominate Albert Casey to be a Governor of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service for the remainder of a nine-year term expiring December 8, 2009. Casey is presently a Distinguished Executive in Residence at the Edwin L. Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. Prior to joining the Cox School of Business, Casey was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Resolution Trust Corporation. From 1986 to 1988, he was the Ann Cox Distinguished Professor of Business Policy at Cox School of Business after serving as Postmaster General of the United States in 1986. Casey was the chief executive of AMR Corp., from 1974 to 1985, and remained on the Board of Directors until 1991. He joined AMR Corp., after eight years as the President of the Times Mirror Company in Los Angeles. Casey received a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a Master's degree from Harvard Business School. In addition, the President has nominated Tirso Del Junco of California to serve as a Member of the Board of Visitors to the United States Naval Academy.
March 3, 2002 -- Dow Jones has reported that "FedEx Express wants its pilots to finish their routes, even if it means flying more than the eight hours allowed under U.S. federal law. The giant delivery company has asked the Federal Aviation Administration to allow its pilots to fly the final leg of a flight, even if they have already been in the air for the maximum eight hours. This would allow the pilots to deliver their cargo on time and land where the next crew is based. Airborne Express has operated under a similar exemption since 1990."
March 3, 2002 -- "E-Mail: Killer App -- or Just a Killer? This indespensible tool for business has a huge dark side that can bring mail servers -- and workers' productivity -- to a halt." Be sure to check out this special report in Business Week.
March 3, 2002 -- WXYZ-TV (Detroit) has reported that "it may now get a little harder to mail a letter. After the anthrax scares, the U.S. Postal Service began removing the big blue mail boxes from neighborhoods across the country, and now many are gone from the Detroit area as well, but for a different reason. Hamtramck is one of the places where it's getting harder to find the collection boxes. Almost 30 have been removed from Hamtramck, and about 215 total in the metro Detroit area. One by one, those big blue collection boxes you often find on street corners are disappearing. The Postal service that serves metro Detroit, is removing the boxes, and officials say it's because people just aren't using them anymore."
March 3, 2002 -- The Jersey Evening Post (U.K.) has reported that "Jersey's mail deliveries are on the road to change from this week as the new draft Postal Services Law is published for consultation. The proposals set down by the Industries Committee seek to abolish the exclusive privilege of the States, opening up the market to competition. Power to grant licences will be given to the Island’s independent regulator, the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority (JCRA)."
March 3, 2002 -- Ananova (U.K.) has reported that The News of the World claims that a " man told them a total of 16 postal packages were sent from different locations in the Glasgow area. He is reported to have said: 'Each package purported to contain a complimentary sample of an aromatherapy skin lotion. Each package also contained a professional-produced leaflet proclaiming the virtues of the new product.' 'In fact, the bottle contained 10ml of a sodium hydroxide solution blended with aromatic oil,' he continued. The caller went on to say: 'This solution is toxic and corrosive on contact with skin, eyes and body tissues. It is lethal by inhalation, and each bottle contained enough to ensure death by the shock effect of chemical burns.' 'The 16 targets were a range of figures within the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democratic parties, and other selected targets. Mrs Blair's was sent directly to No 10 Downing Street,' he added."
March 2, 2002 -- Pilot Air Freight, a transportation and logistics company, has launched Pilot Home Delivery(TM), a nationwide home delivery business, to meet increased demand for high-speed, high-quality air freight services in the business-to-consumer market. Concurrently, the company announced the promotion of John Kelemen to Director, Home Delivery Services. Pilot Home Delivery provides time definite transit through its 65 U.S. locations and nationwide transportation network to retailers and manufacturers who frequently ship large consumer items-such as electronics, home furnishings and exercise equipment-direct to customers' homes.
March 2, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that "a government review of anthrax contamination at a New Jersey postal facility recommends local postal officials be given the authority to decide when to close and reopen buildings. The recommendations by Postal Service Inspector General Karla W. Corcoran will prevent a repeat of the 'fiasco' that occurred last fall at a Bellmawr, N.J., mail processing plant, Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., said Friday after being briefed on the review. The Bellmawr facility was closed and reopened four times in eight days after a worker showed signs of skin anthrax."
March 2, 2002 -- The New Zealand Herald has reported that "New Zealand Post became the first state-owned enterprise to be sent to Parliament's privileges committee to answer allegations of misleading MPs. [The precipitating event was when a copy of the] Kroll report was made public. The report claimed NZ Post's subsidiary Transend had misled the South African Government to win a contract to restructure that country's postal system. Transend's handling of the South African project was 'disjointed', 'uncoordinated', in 'disarray' and based on 'unrealistic budgets', it said. "
March 2, 2002 -- The Graphic Arts Information Network has noted that the "IDEAlliance (International Digital Enterprise Alliance) has announced the release of Mail.dat(TM) 02-1, the latest version of the industry-wide standard for electronic mail verification and acceptance representing all classes of mailings for the US Postal Service (USPS)and Canada Post. The new 02-1 specification may be used as early as April 29, 2002. The last permitted use of the legacy 00-1 specification should be prior to August 16, 2002."
March 2, 2002 -- The Times of India has reported that Indian "finance minister Yashwant Sinha has proposed to raise postal tariffs by 25-50 per cent, including the cost of envelopes, post cards and inland letter cards."
March 2, 2002 -- UTV Internet has reported that "Ireland's An Post postal services company tonight became caught up in the increasingly contentious campaign for votes ahead of next week's referendum on anti-abortion laws.
March 1, 2002 -- According to Deutsche Post CEO Dr. Klaus Zumwinkel in an article published by the Journal of Commerce, "the difficult state of the global economy and the events of the Sept. 11 are adversely affecting growth in the international air freight industry. The pressures from general economic trends and the latest additional expenditures such as rising security costs and more expensive freight handling are greater in the air freight industry than in other sectors of the economy. However, there has been no change in the fundamental forces driving the global economy - such as increasing globalization and the trend toward outsourcing. These forces have been and will continue to be a strong motor for the international airfreight industry."
March 1, 2002 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "domestic airlines saw air cargo volume slip 9.3% in January compared with the same month a year ago, the twelfth consecutive year-over-year decline, but the smallest monthly drop since July, according to the Air Transport Association. The primary culprit in January's decline was a 53.5% plunge in domestic mail volume, largely the result of the Federal Aviation Administration's mail ban on domestic passenger flights. Much of that traffic has gone to Federal Express. That traffic is included in the ATA's domestic freight and express category, which grew 4.9% in January."
March 1, 2002 -- Traffic World has reported that "United Parcel Service, looking to rev up sales in the nonpackage arena, is combining forces from its logistics, freight, banking, consulting and mail units into one sales, marketing and operations team. The move is meant to provide one face to the customer that can address all supply-chain needs from financing inventory to spare-parts distribution."
March 1, 2002 -- The Scotsman (U.K.) has noted that "crunch time has come at Consignia. What we used to know as the Post Office and would be mightily pleased to call by that name again, is facing assault on two fronts. It has to reply by 16 March to a set of Exocet proposals from Postcomm, the industry regulator, that would effectively end its monopoly of postal delivery for business users....Break the monopoly and save our postal service."
March 1, 2002 -- The U.S. Postal Service has published in Commerce Business Daily a request for a proposal for international air transport services.
March 1, 2002 -- Sheesh! Talk about getting no respect. As the Associated Press has noted, "Yes, stamp collectors, there really is a New Jersey. The Postal Service has mailed out a flyer apologizing for leaving the Garden State out of the photo of the new ``Greetings from America'' stamps in its latest stamp collector's catalog. The catalog photo contains two New York stamps and none for New Jersey."
March 1, 2002 -- The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available on this site.
March 1, 2002 -- Be sure to look at the program that's been posted for the 2002 Addressing/Distribution Conference. Don't miss it!!
March 1, 2002 -- In its latest issue, Business Mailers Review has reported that:
A high-level work group tasked with ironing out some of
the remaining MERLIN issues has met to hammer out actionable
recommendations on these issues. The work group is under a tight timetable
as the USPS said at the February MTAC meeting that it had only 30 days to
make recommendations on the parts of MERLIN that were still problematic to
flats mailers. The Postal Service agreed to a further 30-day moratorium on
postage assessments on the barcode readability test on flat-sized mailings
(BMR 2/18) while the work group came up with recommendations. At the
meeting, participants discussed specific mailer concerns, including those
that are not unique to flats. The specific issues range from the need for
a MERLIN contact person at the local level to the need for better training
of USPS personnel on the machines to development of standard operating
procedures for MERLIN testing. At the end of the day, the work group drew
up a list of recommendations. These will be reviewed again by industry so
it can choose those issues in need offixing by the effective date for
postage assessments on mailings that fail the barcode readability test.
On March 1 the Postal Service was set to go live with the
new CONFIRM program that now requires users of the Planet Code
barcode to first file an advanced shipping notice (ASN) with the USPS so
it can “start the clock” in its collection of delivery data. The
Postal Service expects to file an experimental rate case this spring with
the Postal Rate Commission on CONFIRM. Mailers anticipate that some kind
of tiered user fee will be proposed.
The product redesign effort needs to expand beyond
the modest ambitions seen thus far and open the door to greater creative
thinking, bulk mailers are urging the Postal Service. The USPS should give
consideration to broader ideas, the Assn. for Postal Commerce’s
(PostCom) urges in a memorandum stemming from its board of directors’
discussion on product redesign. For example, the association says,
consider changing from top-down discounting of rates to a bottom-up
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA and ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, along with other Democrats on the committee, have written and released a discussion draft on postal reform, which effectively allows the regulator to set the course on opening up the Postal Service to competition. The idea seems to be similar to the approach that Prime Minister Tony Blair took in the United Kingdom. Blair and his liberal party gave the postal regulator great freedom to push the postal administration down the path of competition. [Editor's note: BMR has distributed copies of the Waxman draft, and a copy of that distribution has been posted with BMR's permission on this site.]
A complete copy of these and other stories is available by contacting BMR's editor. Information for a subscription to this excellent postal news source is available from the publisher via email Requests for samples of the publication also will be honored..
March 1, 2002 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "Consignia, the loss-making Royal Mail and Post Office group, is facing an uphill struggle to meet delivery targets despite an improved performance in the last quarter of last year when nine out of ten first-class letters arrived the day after posting . The postal services operator's performance continues to vary around the country and Consignia, which handles more than 80m letters a day, admits it will be hard pressed to meet the 92.1% year-end target agreed with the regulator."
March 1, 2002 -- Handelsblatt has reported that "Deutsche Post AG on Thursday reported profits above analysts expectations for its 2001 fiscal year, but revenues came in below the postal and logistics group's own forecast, and its 2002 outlook was muted. 'We expect our successful course to continue but it will be difficult to exceed our operating profit target again this year,' chief executive Klaus Zumwinkel said in a statement. Including sales from express-delivery service DHL, which will be consolidated for the first time, revenue in 2002 was expected to reach more than 41 billion euros, he said." See also the report by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Journal of Commerce..
March 1, 2002 -- According to the Financial Times:
Italy's postal service once had difficulty in delivering even a ransom letter in time. Now its chief executive has put it on the path to profitability."
March 1, 2002 -- The Herald (U.K.) has reported that "Martin Stanley, chief executive of Postcom [Britain's postal regulator], made it clear he intended to press ahead with moves to open up the market for business postal collection to private sector players from April despite furious objections from Consignia, the renamed Post Office. Although the loss-making Consignia claims the plans by the regulator to open up the market will worsen its precarious financial position, Stanley doubts it will complete essential changes without the spur of competition."
March 1, 2002 -- The Abilene Reporter-News has noted that "neither snow nor rain nor wrong addresses will deter the United States Postal Service from the swift completion of its deliveries. Or, at least, the post office intends to improve its service with a new plan being implemented. The two-prong strategy will involve keeping track of misdeliveries and requiring carriers to check in at various points along their routes. A local spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service said mail misdelivery is the No. 1 concern among customers, followed by waiting times in lines and parking at the downtown post office. The post office considers mail as being misdelivered if it ends up being delivered to a neighbor instead of the intended recipient, or if the mail is delivered to a similar street number on an adjoining street."
March 1, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that "Greece's postal service has been fined by its regulatory agency for its failure to deliver international mail on time. The post office, which uses the ancient Greek messenger god Hermes as its logo, was only able to deliver between 31 percent and 57.2 percent of first-class mail from five European countries within three days period, the National Committee of Telecommunications and Posts said. Mail from Finland, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and Portugal was the worst affected, while between 43.2 percent and 61 percent of first-class mail from the other European countries was delivered within three days."
March 1, 2002 -- The Amarillo Globe-Times has reported that "problems with mail delivery near the Lake Tanglewood area surfaced in the Amarillo Post Office's town hall meeting."