Postal News Reported During December 2002
December 31, 2002 -- According to CNET News, "buoyed by an increase in the population of online shoppers and more liberal spending by online shopping veterans, e-commerce in the United States blew away old spending records with a nearly 40 percent leap over 2001, according to preliminary results from one research firm."
December 31, 2002 -- The Washington Post has reported that "like other companies facing a decline in business, the Federal Reserve has warned employees at its 12 regional banks that some of them might lose their jobs in coming months -- because the volume of checks being cleared by the Fed is declining. According to a Fed survey, checks were used in almost 60 percent of all non-cash retail transactions in 2000. But that share had been declining for years, and after peaking in the 1990s, the number of checks being written began to decline, too. By 2000 the total number of checks written was 42.5 billion, down from 49.5 billion in 1995. In contrast, in 2000 there were 15 billion credit card and 8.3 billion debit card transactions."
December 31, 2002 -- According to one writer for the Hartford Courant, "online package tracking is a worthy substitute for the satisfaction you get from lugging packages home from the mall. Tracking numbers issued by United Parcel Service, Federal Express and other shippers let you follow the progress of your goods until they arrive at your door."
December 31, 2002 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "Strong growth on trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic routes drove a 14.2 percent increase in air cargo volume for U.S. carriers in November compared with the same month a year ago. Compared with statistics for November 2000 and the first 11 months of that year, the comparisons are not as favorable. Year-to-date traffic is down about 7.3 percent from the 23 billion ton-miles the industry handled between January and November of 2000. Some of that decline can be attributed to the federal government's ban on domestic passenger flights carrying individual pieces of mail weighing more than one pound. The U.S. Postal Service shifted much of that traffic to trucks, while the economic downturn and a drop in first-class mail also contributed to the decrease. Some of it, however, was shifted from passenger carriers to FedEx, and consequently is listed under ATA's freight and express category."
December 31, 2002 -- Traffic World has reported that "David Stubblefield, the soon-to-be-retired president and CEO of ABF Freight System, Fort Smith, Ark., says his company's daily freight volumes are as good a leading economic indicator as anything the government collects. After all, he said, ABF has 80,000 regular accounts 'in every conceivable industry in every corner of the country.' What Stubblefield sees is not pleasant. 'Frankly, it's not very good,' Stubblefield says of the national economy. 'We're dealing with a tough time. In general, it's very soft out there.'"
December 31, 2002 -- According to The Independent (U.K.). "the "wrong shape of Christmas card" is likely to enter the catalogue of pathetic excuses, thanks to the Irish post office which was explaining yesterday the late delivery of up to a million Christmas cards. The cards and other items remained piled up in Dublin last night, with the authorities hoping to have them delivered over the next few days. One of the reasons advanced for the backlog was that Christmas cards "come in lots of different shapes and colours." The phenomenon helped baffle some of the machines used by An Post, the mail service."
December 31, 2002 -- Dow Jones has reported that "German postal company Deutsche Post AG has said it set up a new management consulting unit after an internal reorganization. The business consulting unit, which will employ 130 people, combines the mail carrier's inhouse consulting units, market research service, venture capital activities, and publishing services unit. The unit will provide internal consulting services."
December 31, 2002 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that "Royal Mail must deliver or die, as it faces serious competition for the first time. From tomorrow, theEuropean postal services directive will reduce the part of the postal market that can be reserved to national monopoly operators. At the same time, the domestic regulator will go further in opening up the market - allowing rival operators to handle the post of companies sending more than 4,000 items in one go. The prospect has provoked howls of outrage from Allan Leighton, the Royal Mail's outspoken chief executive, who has said 'anyone with a shed and a van will be able to set up a rival operation'."
December 31, 2002 -- The Jordan Times has reported that "Jordan Post Company (JPC) Director General Ali Qudah on Monday pledged to improve the firm's services and to introduce new products to attract more customers throughout the country. Products to be provided include receiving payments of electricity, water, telephone and other bills as well as handling transactions related to income tax and pensions. JPC which was established this year as a shareholding company to replace the Ministry of Post, will also introduce e-mail services in some centres."
December 31, 2002 -- The Postal Rate Commission has published in the Federal Register a proposed rule that "requires the Postal Service to provide 'overview' testimony specifically discussing how other testimony in the case interrelates and identifying all material changes affecting cost attribution, volume projections and rate design. This additional explanation and detail will assist the Commission and case participants in more readily understanding complex filings without unduly burdening the Postal Service. Initial comments are due February 12, 2003; reply comments are due February 26, 2003. Commits should be submitted electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system, which may be accessed at www.prc.gov.
December 30, 2002 -- Newly appointed Postal Rate Commissioner Tony Hammond is in search of a special assistant. an ideal candidate will have hill experience and be familiar with postal issues. This is a senior level post and the salary is negotiable commensurate with experience. the commissioner's contact info by phone (202 789 6805), fax (202 789 6886) or email email@example.com.
December 30, 2002 -- According to Dow Jones, "China's State Postal Bureau has predicted revenue in 2002 to grow by 8% to 51 billion yuan ($1=CNY8.28), state media reported Friday. Bureau Director Liu Liqing also predicted a profit of CNY100 million on the back of the increased revenue, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. State Postal Bureau, which operates its commercial business under the name China Post, is the government body that overseas China's postal industry. The former monopoly has been battling this year to protect its market share from foreign-invested rivals, particularly in the express courier sector."
December 30, 2002 -- Jiji Press (Japan) and four other countries are considering launching a joint project to improve global express mail services, Japanese Postal Services Agency officials said Thursday. The participants--Japan, the United States, China, Australia and South Korea--will hold a top-level meeting in China in April 2003 to discuss details of the joint project. Hong Kong, which is part of China, will separately join the project. Ahead of the meeting, the participants will hold preparatory talks in Tokyo in February, the officials said. They will discuss the possible establishment of a joint delivery base in the Asia-Pacific region, in a bid to speed up mail services in the area."
December 30, 2002 -- The Malay Mail has reported that "TNT Malaysia Sdn Bhd has formulated three strategies to stay competitive in the express, logistics and mail market segments, its managing director L.C. Lee said. He told Mail Money the strategies are continuous innovation, continuous improvement and customised solutions for its customers."
December 30, 2002 -- The agenda for the January 2003 meeting of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors is posted on the Postal Service's web site.
December 30, 2002 -- Business Week also has reported that "The shareholder revolt is gaining steam. Top execs at Disney, Qwest, eBay, and Ford now face demands from investors that they return to their companies profits they pocketed from hot initial public offerings." This will NOT be one of the challenges U.S. Postmaster General Jack Potter will have to face in 2003. At the USPS, Jack earns no stocks, no options, no bonus, and only $167,000 a year in salary. All this largesse for running the largest postal system in the world. How "lucky" can one man get?
December 30, 2002 -- As Business Week has noted, "everyone loves a mystery. In 2003, media investors will have one of their own: Will the nascent advertising recovery, which lifted TV networks in 2002, spread to the rest of media? The results look promising, with U.S. ad sales projected to rise 5.3% in 2003, more than double the prior year's 2.6% hike."
December 30, 2002 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "The number of individual income-tax returns filed electronically with the Internal Revenue Service grew to nearly 47 million this year from 40.2 million last year, an increase of about 16.5%, a new General Accounting Office report said. This increase exceeded the IRS's goal of a 15% increase in electronic filing in 2002 and continued the upward trend in the number of returns filed electronically since 1995, the GAO report said. Individual tax returns filed electronically accounted for about 36% of all individual tax returns filed this year, the congressional watchdog agency said. The report said the growth rate in 2002 projected through 2007 would bring the IRS very close to its long-term goal of 80% of all individual tax returns filed electronically by 2007."
December 30, 2002 -- The Canton Repository has said that "the Postal Service competes with private business for the delivery of parcels and advertisements. A principal area of concern for the president’s commission ought to be whether the Postal Service is financially compelled to use its monopoly advantage to compete unfairly against private business."
December 30, 2002 -- The Economic Times (India) has reported that "Once mainly a messenger service for documents and packages, the burgeoning Rs 2,000-crore Indian courier industry is fast catching up with global trends to emerge as an ‘express logistics’ and ‘value-added services’ industry. Actively engaged in supply chains that have become an integral part of manufacturing the marketing, the industry boasts of a CAGR of 75% and is now demanding a separate industry status. Separate from the postal industry, to be precise. The growth of the industry is attributed to increased use of online purchasing and the need to match the speed of electronic ordering with lightning fast physical delivery."
December 30, 2002 -- As The Guardian (U.K.) has reported, "A fresh £450m funding gap has emerged at the Royal Mail, caused by a yawning pension deficit and the need to cover increased national insurance payments from next April. The postal service is demanding that it is allowed to cover the shortfall with further increases in the price of first and second class mail on top of the 1p increase already agreed with industry regulator Post comm. The pension fund, with 443,000 members, was last valued in April 2000, at which point it was showing a healthy surplus. A new valuation is planned next spring, but the hammering suffered by equity markets over the past three years has thrown the fund into a substantial deficit. The Royal Mail believes it will have to pump an extra £330m into the fund over the next two years to meet its obligations." See also The Independent, the Financial Times and The Times.
December 30, 2002 -- The Polish News Bulletin has reported that "the courier services market in Poland is getting tighter and tighter, with 25 new companies to have appeared only in 2002, the Rzeczpospolita daily reports. At the same time, the newspaper says, the market is developing fast and the financial outlay necessary to start a new company is relatively small. The growing number of courier companies is seen as a threat to the Polish Post, which still enjoys the monopoly for delivering packages under 2000 grammes of weight. The limit will be further reduced to 100 grammes, and as of 1 January 2006 to 50 grammes."
December 29, 2002 -- According to the Financial Express (India), "The licence raj could well be back in the express business (covering courier and delivery services) if the Indian Post Office (Amendment) Bill 2002 gets passed in its present form. This fear was expressed by Blue Dart Express Ltd chairman Tushar Jani in a talk with FE on Friday. Under the current proposal, all courier companies may be required to get a licence from the postmaster general (PMG) for a year at a time. The Express Industry Council of India (EICI), comprising all the leading companies in the industry, is crying foul at this clause. Mr Jani, who is also the chairman of EICI, said that apart from the annual fee of Rs 50,000, there were no guidelines to decide who would be given the licence. Approval would be at the sole discretion of the PMG."
December 29, 2002 -- Bloomberg has reported that "German Finance Minister Hans Eichel may face budget shortfalls worth billions of euros because he hasn't set aside enough money to pay the pensions of retired postal workers, Bild am Sonntag reported, citing no-one. The government didn't invest all the revenue from sales of shares in Deutsche Telekom AG and Deutsche Post AG into postal workers' pension funds, ignoring the advice of federal auditors, the German newspaper said. Former postal workers will claim as much as 570 billion euros ($593 billion) in pensions in the next decades, the paper said."
December 29, 2002 -- The Telegraph (U.K.) has reported that "the Royal Mail faces a pensions black hole of £330m following the collapse in the stock market. To make good the substantial deficit, it has asked the regulator, Postcomm, for the flexibility to make further increases in the price of a stamp on top of a planned 1p rise from next April. The loss-making postal group is warning that it also faces an extra £120m bill to cover National Insurance Contributions following NICs increases announced in the budget. Royal Mail may require a further £280m to cover potential increases in interest payments on Government loans." Sehttp://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30100-12211090,00.htmle also the report by Ananova and SkyNews.
December 29, 2002 -- The Newark Star-Ledger has reported that "as a precaution after Sept. 11, 2001, Congress and the TSA banned passenger airlines from carrying cargo items weighing more than 16 ounces. Most experts don't believe a bomb inside a smaller, lighter parcel would have enough explosive force to bring down a commercial jet. The ban has proved to be a financial hardship for the airlines, which have been reeling from a slowing economy. The volume of mail carried on U.S. airlines between January and September dropped 42 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the Air Transport Association, a Washington trade group representing the airlines and freight companies. Much of the decline is attributed to the 16-ounce limit, which doesn't apply to FedEx Corp. and other nonpassenger carriers. 'There's been a fair amount of tension between the TSA and the post office as to what would need to happen to allow us to put the mail back on,' American Airlines CEO Donald Carty told a congressional committee in September. 'And while that debate has gone on for several months now, of course, we continue to be without the revenue.'"
December 27, 2002 -- According to the Indianapolis Star, "Online retailers battered traditional retailers this season, marking double-digit sales increases that dwarfed the 3 percent growth many analysts now are predicting at physical stores. While no firm sales figures have been reported for the online segment, analysts expect 15 percent to 20 percent increases, with many retailers registering sales 50 percent higher. More than 60 million consumers shopped on the Internet this season, spending a predicted $15 billion, according to Nielsen/Net Ratings."
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December 27, 2002 -- El Pais (Spain) has reported that "the Spanish government said that next year Correos, the post office, will make 6,000 temporary workers permanent. The group has 60,000 employees, Spain's largest workforce."
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December 27, 2002 -- CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal) has reported that:
CEP News is without a doubt one of the best newsletters you can find that focuses on the courier, express, and postal market. If you don't get it, when it comes to the CEP business worldwide, you REALLY won't "get it." For more information on a subscription to CEP News, contact the publisher.
December 27, 2002 -- According to Dow Jones, "Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Friday structural reform will focus on the postal services system and public corporations next year."
December 27, 2002 -- AFX Asia has reported that "Taiwan's Directorate General of Posts at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said it will be incorporated as Chunghwa Post Corp from Jan 1. The Directorate General of Posts runs the island's post offices and also owns Directorate General of Postal Remittances and Savings Banks that conducts operations such as deposits, loans and life insurance."
December 26, 2002 -- As the Daily Herald has noted, U.S. Postal Service "letter carriers are equipped with portable scanners that track the time and date of mail and package deliveries, and the scanners also are being used to track the movements of the carriers."
December 26, 2002 -- The Jerusalem Post (Israel) has reported that "the Israeli Postal Authority's budget for 2003 will total NIS 1.67 billion, Yossi Shelli, its chairman and acting director-general, announced on Wednesday. Shelli, who took office in July, said he has managed to reduce the authority's operating deficit from NIS 81 million to NIS 50 million by cutting ongoing expenses and dismissing more than 100 workers, many of them senior officials.
December 25, 2002 -- As Business Week has reported, "these days, online merchants are more capable of taking those kinds of risks. After disastrous and embarrassing fulfillment snafus during the 1999 holiday season, e-tailers put a hard focus on whipping their operations into shape, particularly at picking orders off warehouse shelves and packing them for shipment. Merchants now huddle with delivery services, such as Federal Express and United Parcel Service, to speed warehouse pickups. UPS began working with Amazon months ago to plan for the holiday season, figuring out how many extra trucks would be needed at which warehouses on what days."
December 24, 2002 -- DM News commentator Cary Baer said: "I admit I'm surprised. President Bush and his staff have a lot on their plate. Tied for first place are the ongoing war against terrorism and the preparations for a more active war against Iraq. Third is getting the economy out of its malaise. Yet the administration found time to appoint a Presidential Commission on the U.S. Postal Service. Peter R. Fisher, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for domestic finance, announced the panel, and it seems clear that he is the administration's point person on the postal service."
December 24, 2002 -- Notice has been given in the Federal Register that a meeting of the President's Commission on the United States Postal Service will be held on Wednesday, January 8, 2003, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon at The Hotel Washington, 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20004.
December 24, 2002 -- The Daily Yomiuri (Japan) has reported that "the public postal corporation to replace the Postal Services Agency in April is to be unofficially called Japan Post."
December 24, 2002 -- The Guardian (United Kingdom) has reported that Britain's "postal regulator warned Royal Mail yesterday it would be fined unless it improved the standard of two of its business services. Postcomm imposed an enforcement order on Royal Mail requiring it to improve its first-class response and first-class postage-paid services. The move came as Postcomm granted the first two licences to rival operators to provide business mail services." See also The Independent.
December 24, 2002 -- According to the Hindustan Times (India), "this Christmas, Santa Claus has been delivering postal packets and mails in several hill villages of West Bengal. Postal officials hit upon the idea of dressing some postmen like Santa, complete with a red robe, red cap, a glowing white beard and a cheerful disposition, to increase business in the festive month in which millions of Christmas cards and cakes are sent and received. So postman Santa Claus goes delivering mailers in his inimitable style and the loud "Ho-Ho-Ho Merry Christmas" greeting. For the role, preference has been given to rotund employees. They put on their dress and makeup at office and set off to make the deliveries. These Santa Clauses don't travel on reindeer sleighs, but mostly use smart motorbikes."
December 24, 2002 -- A Postal Service contract has been given to Northrup Grumman to do a retrofit for the AFSM 100 "feeder enhanced destacker." Gotta stop those machines from tearing off those catalog and magazine covers.
December 24, 2002 -- The Pacific Business News has reported, "not to demean Prancer and Vixen, but the real-life reindeer hauling Yuletide goods to and from Hawaii have names like MD-11 and B-747. Package-shipping giants UPS and FedEx stepped up service to and from Hawaii this week to handle volume about a third larger than usual. UPS used bigger planes; FedEx used more of them." Yeah, but as every young child knows, Prancer and Vixen do all their deliveries to children all over the world in just one night.
December 24, 2002 -- As the Centreville Times has rightly noted, "they've delivered your holiday cards and packages. They've talked you through first class and bulk rate. And, in most cases, they've complimented you on your new dog. Now it's their turn to celebrate. But Northern Virginia's postal workers are not just celebrating the end of the hectic holiday season. They're celebrating an honor that, for many of them, means they've just been doing their job. The USPS board of governors has announced that for the past fiscal year Northern Virginia has achieved a significant accomplishmentthat it is one of the highest performing postal districts in the United States."
December 24, 2002 -- According to the Anchorage Daily News, "The U.S. Postal Service has organized a drive to put Christmas gifts into the homes of dozens of families in the Norton Sound village of St. Michael who lost presents when the local post office went up in flames 10 days ago. aA lot of people had their Christmas presents and COD (packages) destroyed, including our postmaster, who lost presents for her kids,' Postal Service spokeswoman Kathy Phillips said in Anchorage. Postal workers and their families and friends in Alaska are contributing to the the Christmas St. Michael's Special Delivery campaign by sending clothing, food baskets, electronic gear and lots of toys and games, the agency said. But workers in Washington, D.C., also have bought, wrapped and mailed gifts to St. Michael, Phillips said. 'Saturday night we got 1,900 pounds of express mail parcels for St. Michael from the Washington, D.C., headquarters.'" Nice touch, guys.
December 24, 2002 -- According to The Tribune (India), "beggars in Haryana have unwittingly found a new way to boost their incomes. Business establishments with limited advertising budgets are using beggars and their familiarity with different areas in various towns to deliver unsolicited mail to the letter boxes of potential customers at a fraction of the cost of routing these through post offices or courier services. The mail neatly bundled in white envelopes usually contains handbills or other publicity material and occasionally chain letters aimed at appeasing various goddesses. Inquiries reveal that beggars are paid 10 to 20 paise per mail article for their services. This is peanuts compared to postal charges (lowest Rs 4) and courier charges ranging between Rs 5 to 10 per mailer depending upon weight."
December 23, 2002 -- Okay, so a letter or two sometimes gets lost. But look at the size of a letter. Now take a look at what CNN has reported on "air luggage that gets lost every 90 seconds."
December 23, 2002 -- Reuters has reported that "British recruitment and logistics firm, Hays Plc, said on Monday it had been awarded a seven-year licence by the postal regulator to expand its business-mail deliveries across the country. Hays, which applied for the licence last August, already carries around one million items of mail each day on behalf of 30,000 customers across Britain. Hays plans to offer the new services from January 1, including a door-to-door next-day delivery service before 8 a.m. and a service enabling customers to track the delivery progress of their mail on the Internet."
December 23, 2002 -- Joongang Ilbo has reported that "Korea Post, the state-run postal service, is expanding its business tentacles into financial areas, adding foreign-exchange service to its job descriptions, on top of the current business of selling deposit and insurance products. Threatened by the potentially huge challenger, local financial institutions complain that the postal service is playing an unfair game, taking advantage of its status as a state agency, while not being subject to the oversight by the Financial Supervisory Service."
December 23, 2002 -- Reuters has reported that "Dutch mail, express and logistics company TPG NV said on Monday it was granted a long-term postal licence in Britain. TPG -- which operates under brand names TNT and Royal TPG Post -- said in a statement UK postal regulator Postcomm, granted the licence on Monday to a TPG unit."
December 23, 2002 -- The U.S. Postal Service has announced that "effective immediately, Philadelphia District Manager Al Lazaroff will begin working with Eastern Area Vice President Gary McCurdy, who is retiring from the Postal Service in January. Lazaroff will assume the duties of Eastern Area vice president, in an acting capacity, beginning Jan. 4."
December 23, 2002 -- Jiji Press has reported that "Japan's state-run postal mail service will incur losses of 37.9 billion yen in the year to March 2003 due to a slump in corporate demand, against the initial estimate of a profit of one billion yen. Postal mail revenue in the year is now projected to fall 4.1 pct from the previous year to 1,966.6 billion yen."
December 23, 2002 -- Agence France Presse has reported that "Deutsche Post chairman Klaus Zumwinkel hopes the German government will sell its remaining shares in the partially privatised postal authority by 2007, the deadline for liberalisation of postal services in Europe. 'I hope the state won't wait too long to cut its stake to zero, even if it still currently holds 68 percent,' Zumwinkel told the weekly magazine Der Spiegel. 'Governments always make bad corporate bosses.' Deutsche Post is scheduled to lose its monopoly in letter delivery in 2007."
December 23, 2002 -- Lu's News and Views has reported that "the Union Flash has learned that the American Postal Workers Union and the Postal Service will soon announce a 6-month moratorium on arbitrations as one of several new APWU cost-cutting measures to offset declining union membership. According to national union sources, the union is losing 2,200 members a month. These latest cuts in representation paint a picture of a worsening financial crises at APWU headquarters."
December 23, 2002 -- The Glasgow Herald Business (U.K.) has reported that "two businessmen who own the Scottish franchise of American postal company Mail Boxes Etc (MBE) are keen to acquire some of the sub-post offices that the loss-making Royal Mail wants to close."
December 23, 2002 -- According to The Guardian (U.K.), British union leaders have expressed "deep concern over current negotiations in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (Gats). This World Trade Organisation agreement has far-reaching implications for how governments deliver and regulate health, education, transport, broadcasting and postal services."
December 23, 2002 -- According to The Scotsman (U.K.), "Christmas mail volumes may be running more than five per cent down on last year, adding to worries about Royal Mail's ability to stage a quick turnaround from its œ1 million a day losses."
December 23, 2002 -- The Globe and Mail (Canada) has reported that "Government-owned Canada Post has placed its money and weight behind a Liberal fundraiser's aggressive and controversial cross-Canada expansion of his Montreal-based messenger-service firm. Messenger-service companies in several cities have protested to the federal government that the Crown corporation is using its massive resources and influence to unfairly back the expansion of Montreal-based messenger Intelcom."
December 23, 2002 -- Postal workers in the Christmas spirit:
December 22, 2002 -- According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito in an article for Direct magazine, now's the time for direct mail marketers to put their communication skills to work.
December 22, 2002 -- Stuff.co.nz has reported that "New Zealand Post No. 2 John Allen is a strong contender to replace outgoing boss Elmar Toime in the $770,000-a-year job, according to sources close to the company."
December 22, 2002 -- Ireland Online has reported that "a new postcode system for Ireland is proposed by the commission for communications regulation in order to reduce confusion about addresses and to make the sorting of post more efficient. An Post is opposed to a post code system because they say Ireland's population is too small and scattered. But the code is backed by ESB, banks and emergency services. Local postmarks are set to disappear as An Post is creating 4 main sorting hubs in Cork, Dublin, Athlone and Portlaoise."
December 21, 2002 -- Le Figaro (France) has reported that "Jean-Paul Bailly, chairman of the French post office (La Poste), has presented the group's business plan for 2003-07 and says that the group will close 2002 in the red for the second consecutive year. Next year, with the liberalisation of postal services, La Poste will lose its monopoly on some important services. Mr Bailly wants the French government to increase the price of stamps in order to offset the effects of liberalisation. He argues that postage rates have not increased since 1996 and that revenue from the sale of stamps is used to support the universal service."
December 21, 2002 -- NineMSN has reported that "Australia Post has been crowned as the nation's worst boss for a litany of workplace sins - including toilet paper restrictions, standing down overweight workers and disciplining an employee for having a family photo on her desk. Labor Council secretary John Robertson said unions wanted to highlight bosses who made work into an ordeal. He said he was 'overwhelmed with responses to our contest, but at the end of the day it was Australia Post that continued to push the envelope for workplace bastardry.' Australia post complained that the award was misleading, maintaining it had a good employment record. The company said it was recently named the top corporation for employee management - and one of the judges was the ACTU."
December 21, 2002 -- The National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU) (Canada) has reported that "Canada Post will co-chair a National Information Workshop on current state and FUTURETHINK for the Lettermail and Addressed Admail products.The first session will be held in Toronto by end January 2003. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 21, 2002 -- According to Traffic World, "FedEx's chief economist had his crystal ball tuned just right in late 2001 when he predicted what was in store for 2002. Gene Huang, recently chosen as BusinessWeek's top economist for last year's most accurate forecast, expects a continued, albeit slow, turnaround for the upcoming year."
December 21, 2002 -- As Business Week has noted, "more shoppers are spreading their dollars around -- and making the Web one of their regular stops, along with discounters and name-brand chains. In fact, despite setbacks in the wake of the Internet bust of 2000, online shopping continues to grow in popularity."
December 21, 2002 -- According to the New Zealand Herald, "Elmar Toime will get a huge pay rise thanks to his move from chief executive of New Zealand Post to executive deputy chairman of its British equivalent, Royal Mail Holdings. In his NZ Post job, where he has come under regular attack from Opposition MPs, Toime gets about $770,000 a year. But at Royal Mail, where he is one of two outside executives being brought in to sort out the business, he will get a basic package of œ500,000 ($1.5 million) with the opportunity to double that in bonuses." And good old Jack Potter, chief executive of the world's largest postal system, still makes no more than $164,000. Something's wrong here.
December 21, 2002 -- Agence France has reported that "Deutsche Post World Net AG is filing a complaint against the government over the latter's demand that the company repay about 850 mln eur in state aid ruled unlawful by the European Commission, CEO Klaus Zumwinkel said in an interview with Der Spiegel. According to extracts from the interview, due to be published this weekend, Zumwinkel said the legal action, brought before the administrative court, is designed to 'finally clarify' by January the amount the company will be required to pay back."
December 21, 2002 -- The Montana Forum has reported that "A decision by the U.S. Postal Service to continue using regional airlines to deliver mail to rural residents drew mixed reactions Wednesday. In September, the Postal Service announced that it would replace airplane deliveries with truck deliveries to save money. The change was scheduled to take place in May 2003. Rep. Dennis Rehberg, R-Mont., says that Postal Service Vice President Paul E. Vogel told him Wednesday that the mail would continue to be delivered by airplane rather than truck. But Kent Craford, a spokesman for a coalition of regional airlines, said the promise is worthless, because the Postal Service is also calling on the airlines to install expensive scanning equipment to track the mail. Craford said the promise to continue air service means nothing as long as it is coupled with the requirement to buy the scanning equipment and lacks guarantees on a minimum amount of mail the airlines would receive. The airlines are paid at a rate that is based on volume."
December 20, 2002 -- According to a recent report by the London School of Economics, "the total [direct mail] market appears to be growing steadily, regardless of the general economic slowdown, driven by substantial growth in the UK (especially this year, according to our respondents) and a strong performance in the USA. Japan and, to a lesser extent, Germany are down. France is steady this year, growing again next year. As with sales promotion we believe the UK figure for 2002 may be overstated. Growth is especially strong for frequently purchased goods/services and for firms in B2C markets. The principal reason for increasing spend on direct mail was its effectiveness - businesses cited its ability to show good returns, its speed, targeting and value for money. Businesses from Germany particularly emphasized its ability to address the consumer directly. Respondents in the automotive, hotels/tourism/leisure and consumer durable sectors gave the most responses of this type, suggesting that direct mail is particularly well suited to their marketing needs.
December 20, 2002 -- The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) today announced its members have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a two-year contract extension. The unofficial tally, according to APWU's website, is 79,932 yeas and 10,568 nays. The agreement covers the period from Nov. 20, 2003 through Nov. 20, 2005 and affects some 312,000 employees represented by the APWU.
December 20, 2002 -- The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available on this site. If you're not getting the PostCom Bulletin on a regular basis, why not ask how you can have the Bulletin delivered to you every week. You should know what you've been missing. Want a sample of our Bulletin? Just ask for it.
December 20, 2002 -- According to LatinTrade.com,"the clearest sign yet that negotiation for a Free Trade Area of the Americas by 2005 is under way in earnest? As talks begin to gain momentum, the air-express industry has published one of the first lobbying reports highlighting its positions and the pan-regional importance of such a pact. DHL, Federal Express, TNT and United Parcel Service (UPS) which together account for approximately 85% of the world's express shipments along with local participants Aeromexpress and Estafeta in Mexico, LACSA Courier in Costa Rica, and LAN Courier in Chile, among others, comprise an express industry expected to generate total economic output of almost US$126 billion, according to a study by the PA Consulting Group. The express companies provide 1.2 million jobs representing employee compensation of $46.7 billion in the Americas by the end of 2003."
December 20, 2002 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "New York banking regulators accused Western Union Financial Services Inc., the world's largest money-transfer company, of widespread violations of federal and state laws designed to stem the flow of terrorist money."
December 20, 2002 --Examiner.Net has noted that "since publishing two news articles on the death of letter carrier James Fussell, The Examiner has received a steady and stunning number of responses. These letters fall outside the usual pattern. Local news stories usually bring responses from local readers. Once posted on the Web, however, these articles have brought immediate response from U.S. Postal Service employees around the country."
December 20, 2002 -- DM News has reported that "shippers continue to divert parcel volume from the U.S. Postal Service's Priority Mail to rivals United Parcel Service and FedEx, according to a survey of major shippers from Bear, Stearns & Co. released this week."
December 20, 2002 -- The Financial Times has reported that:
December 20, 2002 -- The Guardian, (U.K.)on the other hand, has some strong views of its own regarding the Crozier and Toime hires.
December 20, 2002 -- The Denver Business Journal has reported that "according to the New York-based Direct Marketing Association, direct mail accounts for nearly 46 percent of all general advertising efforts."
December 20, 2002 -- As XtraMSN has noted, resigning New Zealand chief Toime's "appointment [as the new second in command at Royal Mail] demonstrates that he is one of the most highly regarded and respected figures in the international postal industry." See also Scoop.co.nz
December 20, 2002 -- O Canada.... Canada.com has reported that "Montreal marijuana activists are growing bolder after winning a crucial court battle yesterday that allows them to provide the illegal drug to suffering patients. The activists immediately set up an Internet site that takes orders for medicinal marijuana for delivery across Canada via the post office. The new endeavour came after a judge acquitted St-Maurice and Alexandre N‚ron of drug trafficking when they volunteered at the Club Compassion on Rachel St." See also the report in The Globe and Mail.
December 20, 2002 -- Stuff NZ has reported that "New Zealand Post chief executive Elmar Toime's decision to take up a job in Britain had nothing to do with the Audit Office report on extravagant spending by Transend executives, NZ Post chairman Jim Bolger said." See more in the report from Xtra News and the New Zealand Herald.
December 20, 2002 -- The U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued a procurement conducted under the Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAP) as request for Quotation No. (RFQ) FHQ03Q00022, WINDOW FILM, to be used in the production of Government check envelopes. The window film shall be used as covering on the window patch to the envelope. The type of film to be use will be of Polystyrene or Glassine material, that when scratched turns white.
December 19, 2002 -- The Financial Times has reported that "the postal regulator will not be "bullied" over its plans to limit Royal Mail's price increases but the mail operator would be able to "live with" its final proposals, Graham Corbett predicted yesterday. The chairman of Post-comm, whose commissioners will meet today to finalise its plans after three months of consultation, said: "I don't expect they [Royal Mail] will be delighted but I hope we can come up with something they can live with.' The regulator's decision will be made public towards the end of next month following further discussions with Royal Mail, Postwatch and the unions and amendments to Royal Mail's licence."
December 19, 2002 -- icNewcastle (U.K.) has reported that "the former head of the Football Association has been appointed chief executive of the Royal Mail. Adam Crozier will take over from John Roberts, who is retiring from the job. Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton said Mr Crozier's modernising touch was a "very powerful cocktail" that would restore the service to being the best in the world. Mr Leighton also announced that Elmar Toime, the current chief executive of New Zealand Post, will become executive deputy chairman of Royal Mail, with responsibilities across the postal group. He has been chief executive of New Zealand Post for the past 10 years." See also The Guardian and the New Zealand Herald.
December 19, 2002 -- Manchester Online (U.K.) has reported that "Christmas has come early for community groups and charities in the Sale area thanks to the generosity of a marketing company. AMC Marketing Services is offering local community groups the chance to use hundreds of freepost envelopes to help with fundraising and other activities."
December 19, 2002 -- The China Post (Taiwan) has reported that "a group of executives of the National Federation of the Postal Services Associations appealed for lawmakers' assistance yesterday, asking them to push the government to protect their rights while carrying out reform programs. As the Directorate General of Post (DGP) is scheduled to be transformed into a state-owned corporate body at the beginning of next year to upgrade its operational efficiency, the government has decided to trim the DGP's work force by 8 percent. To reach this goal, the government has worked out a preferential pension payment scheme to encourage older DGP staff members to retire or resign."
December 19, 2002 -- Montana's Congressman, U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) has announced the United States Postal Service has agreed to continue its airmail service in Montana. Earlier this year, the USPS announced it would terminate its so-called ASYS-R regional airmail contract in May 2003 and instead use trucks for rural mail delivery a move that Rehberg said would slow delivery, create delays during inclement weather and cost jobs and infrastructure investments for regional airlines. Postal Service officials called the move necessary as part of a directive to trim $5 billion from its budget by 2006. Fighting the move, Rehberg insisted rural areas would not be afforded the same service as urban areas, while being charged the same postal rates.
December 18, 2002 -- Talk about planning. House Majority Whip Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) already has posted a calendar of House business for 2003.
December 18, 2002 -- Econonic Times (India) has reported that "India and Cyprus on Tuesday signed five agreements for cooperation in Information Technology, Science and Technology, telecommunications, health and cultural exchange and decided to intensify high level political contacts and explore prospects of tie-ups in tourism and other diversified areas. The agreement in the fields of Posts and Electronic Communications provides for exchange of information in this sector to strengthen the existing postal services between the two countries."
December 18, 2002 -- CFCNPlus (Canada) has reported that "a new rule at Canada Post is causing confusion for people mailing Christmas gifts. The Post Office has set standards on how big a package has to be, based on its weight. It means some people have to repackage and, in some cases, pay again for parcels they thought were OK."
December 18, 2002 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that:
December 18, 2002 -- Did you know that DHL is playing a key role in the logistical planning for the United States' defense plans in the war on terrorism?
December 18, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that "FedEx Corp.'s second-quarter profits were flat despite a 10 percent rise in sales."
December 18, 2002 -- Di-ve.com (Malta) has reported that "Christmas postal deliveries were threatened by actions ordered by the General Workers' Union (GWU). The union on Wednesday morning issued a directive to the Postal Operators who collect post from Letter Boxes all over Malta and Gozo not to collect the post before they are given the protective equipment which should have been given to them around three months ago." See also Malta Media.
December 18, 2002 -- The Albuquerque Tribune has reported that "as manufacturing and high-tech sectors have struggled in the slowing economy, so has FedEx's express business. But FedEx's ground services have been booming and picking up the slack by focusing on the small- to medium-sized shippers that the company once overlooked in favor of larger ones. These ground services include FedEx Freight, formed with the acqusition of Amercan Freighways; FedEx Ground, the small package delivery unity formerly known as RPS; and FedEx Home, the dedicated residential delivery service created to compete with UPS for online shipments delivered to homes."
December 18, 2002 -- As Business Week has noted, "one of the platitudes of the technology industry is that people overestimate the speed of adoption of new technologies in the short term but underestimate their long-term impact. That old saw could well turn out to be true when it comes to business-to-business e-commerce."
December 18, 2002 -- Business News Americas has reported that "Brazil's federal post office Correios expects to activate its first public access Internet booths in December and have 103 units operational by year-end. The goal for 2003 is to end the year with 1,617 installed booths. Correios eventually plans to install 5,690 booths in about 3,800 post offices as part of its e-Post project."
December 18, 2002 -- The Honolulu Star-Bulletin has reported that "arrival of e-mail in the world of communications has sent the U.S. Postal Service on an ill-advised venture into competition with free enterprise. The agency's proper role is that of delivering mail at reasonable rates to all mailers, and a commission appointed last week by President Bush should find ways that can be done more efficiently. The Postal Service should not stray from its traditional mission."
December 18, 2002 -- Group 1 Software has announced the latest release of CODE-1 Plus International, its global address data quality solution. This release is the first solution from a North American software vendor incorporating data from the POST*CODE(R) DataBase, which is administered by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and contains postal data from postal administrations worldwide. Headquartered in Berne, Switzerland, the UPU is a specialized agency of the United Nations. The UPU's POST*CODE(R) DataBase contains postal data for all United Nations signatories and is designed to enable postal service customers to eliminate addressing errors."
December 18, 2002 -- Agence France Press has reported that "Portugal's cash-strapped state postal service company CTT will shed up to 1,000 workers, roughly six percent of its total workforce, next year. The positions will be trimmed through early retirements and the non-renewal of temporary contracts."
December 18, 2002 -- According to the Baltimore Sun "cleaning up the invisible trail of biological poison left by the anthrax letters mailed last year will cost hundreds of millions of dollars by the time the decontamination effort is complete in 2004 or later, government officials say."
December 18, 2002 -- R.R. Donnelley Logistics will open a 670,000-square-foot automated distribution facility in York, PA, by the end of second-quarter 2003 in an expansion that is expected to cut delivery times by a day or more nationwide, the company said yesterday."
December 18, 2002 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "United Parcel Service on Tuesday introduced 10 liquefied natural gas (LNG) tractors, which the express provider claims are the first alternative-fuel Class 8 vehicles in the industry. The tractors will officially begin operating in the company's West Coast fleet each day traveling from California to Nevada. The LNG tractors are part of UPS's program for testing new technologies to reduce emissions from heavy duty vehicles."
December 18, 2002 -- According to The Age (Australia), "new mail redirection barcoding may help the postie find your new address faster but it won't save Australia Post a lot of money just yet." See also the Sydney Morning Herald.
December 18, 2002 -- And you got problems? The Daily Times of Nigeria has reported that "the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST), is being owed a total of N4,963,000 by customers in the Benue territory of the organisation. The amount which is being owed through charges on Post Office Boxes, Private Mail Bags and Special Delivery Services, according to the Area Postal Manager, Pat Onuekwusi, has retarded efforts of the new NIPOST management to fully meet its set targets.
December 18, 2002 -- RTE News (Ireland) has reported that "consumers face yet further price increase after the Commission for Communications Regulation sanctioned increases in the cost of sending mail abroad by An Post."
December 18, 2002 -- WOAI has reported that "Congressman Ciro Rodriguez wants an investigation into the claims of "mail dumping" at San Antonio post offices. Post office workers are coming forward with pictures of bulk mail in the dumpster. "They dump good mail. The addresses that were there are good addresses. People live there, and their mail should have been delivered," says Letter Carrier's Union President, Rudy Perez. Most of the mail dumped is political ads. Congressman Rodriguez says at least one postal worker told him it has nothing to do with politics, it's just a way to save money."
December 18, 2002 -- The New York Times has reported that "two leading forecasters are offering more upbeat predictions for a resumption of growth in advertising spending next year, but differ as to just how strong the recovery is likely to be."
December 17, 2002 -- Effective January 15, 2003, Mary Elcano, former general counsel to the U.S. Postal Service, will assume her new position as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary to the American Red Cross. [Editor's Note: Congratulations, Mary, from all of us within the postal community. We'll miss you. (See, there really is life after "postal."]
December 17, 2002 -- PostCom has been told that "the House leadership will have to choose among three candidates vying to be chairman of the House Government Reform Committee when the 108th Congress convenes in January. Reps. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), Tom Davis (R-Va.), and Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) have all expressed a strong desire to lead the committee in the new Congress. The Republican Steering Committee is expected to interview the three candidates Jan. 4. Seniority is a factor in deciding chairmanships, but not the only one."
December 17, 2002 -- For those who are interested in a little history on the matter of postal reform, posted on this site is the chapter dealing with the Postal Service from the "Report of the President's Commission on Privatization" (a.k.a., the "Linowes Commission").
December 17, 2002 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "A recent JoC Online Pulse asked if you thought the U.S. Postal Service should be privatized. The voting results were intriguing. Fifty percent of JoC Online readers voted to sell the Post Office to private interests, while 49 percent said no, don't bring in those money-grubbing capitalists."
December 17, 2002 -- Traffic World has reported that:
December 17, 2002 -- According to The Economist, "Chapter 11 gives United Airlines a chance to reshape its business to survive though that is no sure thing. The collapse of United marks the failure of one of the highest-profile employee-owned companies. With two national network carriers now in Chapter 11 (the other is US Airways), fears must be rising among managers at American, Delta and Continental, who are already worried by the inexorable rise of the low-fare carriers led by Southwest and JetBlue. The nightmare scenario is that a wave of Chapter 11 bankruptcies could sweep through America's airline industry, condemning it to many further years of instability. Could be the Postal Service's Fedex strategy to move the mail may prove a prudent move.
December 17, 2002 -- The Evening Telegraph (U.K.) has reported that "bosses at Royal Mail have been branded "Scrooges" after they refused to return Christmas cards meant for delivery through a festive charity postal scheme run by Derbyshire Scouts."
December 17, 2002 -- ChannelNewsAsia has reported that "Singapore Telecommunications may spin off or sell a stake in its post office arm, Singapore Post, next year, said SingPost Chief Executive William Tan."
December 17, 2002 -- According to Dow Jones, "SingTel's (Singapore) flagging share price, now down 1.6% at S$1.25, unlikely to revive on news SingPost CEO William Tan asking IDA for approval to raise postal rates for first time since 1995 due to scheduled hikes in GST from next year; Tan says no decision by IDA yet."
December 17, 2002 -- The KCRAChannel has noted that "In an effort to make the United States Postal Service more consumer friendly, it has added some useful tools to its Web site. The USPS now offers a service called Click-N-Ship, which allows the consumer to pay for and print shipping labels with postage. The consumer just sticks the pre-paid postage on the package and drops it off at the post office with no waiting in line. The Service can also help with personalized greeting cards that would have a family photograph."
December 17, 2002 -- InformationWeek has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service is standardizing its training initiatives through the use of E-learning and a recently purchased learning-management system from Thinq Learning Solutions Inc."
December 17, 2002 -- The Washington Times has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service issued and then ignored guidelines in the middle of the anthrax attacks in fall 2001 that directed that postal locations receiving a suspect letter be shut down. The delay in shutting down Brentwood, a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week mail processing facility, increased the chances that the more than 2,000 employees could be exposed to anthrax."
December 17, 2002 -- Bangkok Post (Thailand) has reported that the Thai "Information and Communications Technology minister will most likely reject a proposal to increase the regular domestic postage rate to three baht from two baht unless the Communications Authority of Thailand comes up with more sound reasons. The CAT maintains that the increase is necessary as 'part of the master plan to improve postal services'."
December 17, 2002 -- The Polish News Bulletin has reported that "Lockheed Martin wants to start co-operation with Prokom and ComputerLand, which could be of assistance to the American company in further expansion on the Eastern European markets. Lockheed Martin has a lot to offer. It plans to provide Polish IT companies with technical support and access to state-of-the-art technologies. Lockheed Martin's offer to Eastern Europe includes air traffic control systems, the development of postal services, and data processing in social benefits and health insurance systems."
December 16, 2002 -- The Postal Rate Commission has published a notice of proposed rulemaking concerning evidence supporting rate and classifcation changes. Interested persons are invited to comment on the proposed rules by February 12, 2003.
December 16, 2002 -- The Washington Times has reported that "the inspector general of the post office wastes money on 'team-building' retreats and intimidates staffers who don't embrace her management style, according to written complaints sent to Sen. Charles E. Grassley. Mr. Grassley, Iowa Republican, confirmed to The Washington Times that his office has received more than 50 complaints from current and former auditors and investigators about Postal Inspector General Karla W. Corcoran. 'I've received information alleging problems in the postal inspector general's office,' Mr. Grassley said in a written statement. 'These allegations include the waste of agency dollars, employee intimidation and operational inefficiency. These allegations are troubling. An inspector general's office should be above reproach to function effectively as an agency watchdog. I'm looking into the allegations.'"
December 16, 2002 -- DM News has reported that:
December 16, 2002 -- Pacific Business News has reported that "new competition among air-cargo carriers is lighting up Hawaii's skies this holiday season as additional capacity and lower prices from a new service prompts charges of predatory practices from an existing carrier."
December 16, 2002 -- The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has said it "welcomes the decision by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to open an investigation into activities by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and Canada Post Corporation."
December 16, 2002 -- Stuff NZ (New Zealand) has reported that "the Audit Office has discovered extravagant spending by senior Transend staff and inadequate management procedures in the NZ Post subsidiary. State-owned Enterprises Minister Mark Burton said today the Audit Office report worried him and he had told NZ Post chairman Jim Bolger of his 'grave concerns'. 'The report outlines instances of ill-defined policies and procedures and extravagant spending by a number of Transend staff during the last two financial years,' he said after receiving the report today. 'I regard the extravagant practices of some staff with regard to travel and accommodation detailed in the report as utterly unacceptable behaviour.' Auditor-General Kevin Brady decided in July to investigate Transend, NZ Post's overseas business arm, after concerns were raised by a parliamentary committee."
December 16, 2002 -- The San Diego Union Tribune has reported that "Joseph D. Harris, 55, is a professional photographer who owns four passport photo shops. He's also legally blind. Since birth, a condition known as nystagmus has made his eyes skitter back and forth. He can't focus, but he can cope. So he doesn't complain about his vision. Instead, he complains about the U.S. Postal Service."
December 16, 2002 -- Two weeks ago, AuctionBytes "conducted a survey about the shipping habits of online sellers. 470 U.S. online sellers participated. Online auction sellers overwhelmingly favored the U.S. Postal Service, with 80% of respondents choosing it as their preferred method of shipping. Interestingly, higher volume sellers showed an even greater preference for using USPS."
December 16, 2002 -- PakistanLink has reported that "President General Pervez Musharraf has emphasised the need for provision of most modern postal services by using information technology for the convenience of the common man. He said this during his visit to the Post Mall, the first of its kind in the country providing all modern day postal services including money transfer, business centre, banking, e-commerce, insurance and parcels in F-7 Markaz Islamabad. The Post Office will receive the information from the Western Union on line and the money will be paid to the payee. The Postal Department has also reached agreement with the DHL to deliver Parcels to other parts of the world from Pakistan." See also the report in the Journal of Commerce.
December 14, 2002 -- PostCom has submitted its comments on a USPS distributed a paper outlining draft "Flat Mail Guidelines for Mailers."
December 14, 2002 -- As the Federal Times has noted, "many postal management groups and large mailers are welcoming a new presidential commission to review the U.S. Postal Service, saying it is the best chance to reform the 750,000-employee organization to better control costs and keep postage rates low."
December 14, 2002 -- Eyefortransport has reported that "German post and logistics group Deutsche Post moved its headquarters in a new building, the Post-Tower, from a former ministry building, both in Bonn, on December 12, 2002."
December 14, 2002 -- The Telegraph (U.K.) has reported that "organisations as diverse as the Department of Trade and Industry and the Women's Institute have waded into the debate on how the postal service should be opened up to competition. Postcomm, the mail regulator, received 21 responses to its controversial proposals for Royal Mail. These include a complex series of price controls in return for a penny increase on both first-class and second-class stamps. The Royal Mail's monopoly on letters costing under œ1 to post is to be phased out under these proposals."
December 14, 2002 -- The Times (U.K.) hs reported that "Allan Leighton, chairman of the Royal Mail, yesterday won the backing of Government in his fight with the postal regulator over price controls. In a move that raised questions about the independence of Postcomm, the Department of Trade and Industry urged the regulator to modify its price proposals. Mr Leighton believes Postcomm's controls could jeopardise his recovery plan for the Royal Mail and the promise of œ3 billion in state funding for the troubled postal group. He will be pleased at having government support, but the issue has sparked controversy about whether the department was putting undue pressure on an independent regulator."
December 14, 2002 -- William H. Young was sworn-in as president of the 305,000-member National Association of Letter Carriers Friday night and immediately urged Congress to reform postal laws and regulations that are unworkable in the 21st century. Young added that the union will bird-dog President Bush's new Postal Commission because its recommendations "could either save the Postal Service or bury it."
December 14, 2002 -- According to the East Anglian Daily Times (U.K.), "business bosses believe the postal service in Suffolk is so poor they now rely on sending emails and other forms of communication. The claim, made by the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, comes after an EADT investigation found that Royal Mail's standards appear to be slipping further."
December 14, 2002 -- Japan Today has reported that "the Postal Services Agency has decided to leave postal rates the same when a new public entity to be established in April will take over the current state-run postal services, agency officials said Saturday. The agency has made the decision to ensure sound management because it expects that postal delivery services in fiscal 2002 will again fall into the red with huge losses."
December 14, 2002 -- Ghanaweb has reported that "the management of Ghana Post Company Limited has drawn up a policy to rejuvenate the operations of dormant Postal Agencies in collaboration with local communities. The Dambai Postal Agency, which used to be dormant, is one of such postal agencies now operational following a collaborative effort between Ghana Post and the local community."
December 14, 2002 -- Attention Canadian mailers! There IS a PostCom-like organization that is working to advance YOUR postal interests in Canada. It's called the National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU). To learn more about the group, check out its web site at http://www.nammu.org Check it out! And tell 'em PostCom sent you.
December 13, 2002 -- CNET News has reported that "MasterCard is testing a new credit-card system designed to speed the payment process at check-out counters and replace cash transactions at places such as movie theaters and fast food restaurants. The system, called MasterCard PayPass, allows consumers with specially equipped credit cards to simply tap or wave their cards against a reader to make a payment, rather than having to swipe the card. If the value of the purchase is under a certain amount, the cardholder needn't sign a receipt. The cards come embedded with hidden computer chips and radio antennae, which transmit payment details wirelessly. The cards can also be used with traditional magnetic stripe readers."
December 13, 2002 -- Helping to ease the upcoming holiday mail load, the Chrysler Group introduces the new 2003 Jeep(R) Wrangler right-hand-drive Postal Unit available beginning December 2002.
December 13, 2002 -- According to Traffic World, "never mind that the U.S. Postal Service lost $676 million this fiscal year. There is celebrating going on at postal headquarters. The $676 million lost is half of what was anticipated earlier this year and a fraction of the loss predicted immediately following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the anthrax attacks that rocked the Postal Service's foundation and stripped it of volume."
December 13, 2002 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "TNT Express has rolled out PACS, a pre-arrival clearance system which will speed up clearance of international shipments through Customs by up to eight hours. Developed by TNT in partnership with Fujitsu, PACS will enable shippers to forward mandatory paperwork to Customs for inspection several hours before the shipment arrives at its destination."
December 13, 2002 -- In an editorial, The Missoulian said:
Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg is fighting mad over the U.S. Postal Service's recent decision to abandon airmail service to rural areas, including parts of Montana, in favor of more economical delivery by truck.
"I just don't get what the Postal Service is doing," Rehberg said in a written statement to the press this week. "I hope to be in a position in the new session of Congress in which I have something to say about it, and we're just going to fight it every step of the way so that Montanans get the same quality, speedy service that everyone else gets from their postal carriers."
Well, that's his job to serve as an advocate for his constituents. But if you ask us, there are better battles to fight.
We're all for any service anyone wants to provide for us, including airmail. But we'll be darned if we want to pay the $25 million it costs the Postal Service to subsidize rural airmail, and we can't in good conscience demand that others pay the cost, either.
It's a money-losing proposition, of course, because it's expensive to fly small planes daily to pick up and deliver relatively small amounts of mail to small, scattered communities. Airmail costs an average of 65 cents a pound to deliver, compared to 10 cents a pound by truck.
December 13, 2002 -- The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation's Security Systems LLC unit a contract to expand and continue the testing of its Bio-Agent Detection System (BDS), which is designed to help protect postal employees and consumers from the threat of bioterrorism. "We're proud to continue our support of this critical initiative, which will enhance the safety and security not only of postal service employees but of the American people at large," said Vicki Spira, vice president of Postal Systems at Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector.
December 13, 2002 -- Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) has told his constituents that "on the eve of the start of the long-delayed cleanup of the anthrax-contaminated Brentwood Post Office here, Congress's chief investigative agency has said it is proceeding with Congressman Chris Smith's request to conduct a full and comprehensive investigation into how the government and United States Postal Service handled last fall's anthrax crisis in both New Jersey and Washington." Smith recently asked the Comptroller General of the General Accounting Office to investigate differences in how the government responded to the crisis in Hamilton compared to how it addressed the attacks on Capitol Hill.
December 13, 2002 -- The Black World Today has reported that "with almost no media attention, a trade agreement administered by the World Trade Organization may put public and private sector services -- including water, energy, education, accounting -- even mail delivery -- on the corporate auction block. Pacific News Service contributor Diane Solomon (email@example.com) says GATS is bad for workers, the environment and U.S. democracy itself."
December 13, 2002 -- Datamonitor has reported that Dutch postal and logistics company "TPG has found itself with a surplus workforce for its Fiat global logistics contract after a difficult year's trading for the carmaker. In response, it is ready to shed over six hundred workers from Fiat's Turin plant. TPG plans to reduce its dependency on the automotive sector by increasing revenues in the consumer goods sector - a shift of emphasis that looks like a smart move. Dutch national postal operator TPG has approached the Italian government for help with a layoff scheme to compensate 665 workers. The company is feeling the knock-on effects of the travails afflicting Italian auto giant Fiat, which has seen a dramatic fall in business over the last year, leaving many of its dedicated TPG in surplus."
December 13, 2002 -- Wireless Week has reported that "In one of the largest such deployments so far, the United Parcel Service plans to outfit its package handlers with 55,000 Bluetooth scanner rings and Wi-Fi terminals around the world next year. The handlers work in 1,700 UPS hub facilities where packages are loaded and unloaded. The scanner rings, made for UPS by Symbol Technologies, are worn on the finger and send data to Wi-Fi terminals on the waist. The tracking data taken from the packages is sent into UPS's computer network."
December 12, 2002 -- According to American Postal Workers Union President William Burrus, "the White House appointment of a Commission on the U.S. Postal Service is 'a thinly veiled attempt to dismantle the Postal Service as we know it. The Bush Administration is responding to the requests of the right wing of the Republican Party and the large mailers, he said.'"
December 12, 2002 -- According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, "the presidential commission [on the Postal Service] will most likely encounter the same obstacles that Rep. John McHugh faced as he tried for eight years to enact legislative postal reforms while maintaining "universal service." McHugh, R-Pierrepont Manor, chaired a subcommittee that brought together many of the competing interests, but his reform plan withered in the face of resistance from major daily newspapers, the United Parcel Service and the American Postal Workers Union. Dana Johnson, McHugh's deputy chief of staff, said the action by the Bush administration 'signals an involvement at the highest level of the executive branch, something that has been a missing ingredient until now.'"
December 12, 2002 -- The Daily Post (Fiji) has reported that "Fiji's postal service agency this week made a $0.27 dividend payment to the Government after a $1.1 million after tax profit during its 2001 financial year."
December 12, 2002 -- The Antigua Sun (Antigua) has reported that "Postmaster General Milton Davis has denied any knowledge of mail tampering at the General Post Office. He said he has undertaken internal investigations into such allegations and have not unearthed any solid evidence. However, he disclosed that the post ofice in many instances have received tampered mail from overseas and he has forwarded such information to the St. Lucia-based Caribbean Postal Union. Davis was responding to questions as to how the General Post Office, which has been under severe scrutiny by members of the public, will deal with the Christmas rush."
December 12, 2002 -- CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal) has reported that:
CEP News is without a doubt one of the best newsletters you can find that focuses on the courier, express, and postal market in Europe. For more information on a subscription to CEP News, contact the publisher.
December 12, 2002 -- The Telegraph has reported that "Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton has written to the Trade and Industry Select Committee to repudiate claims that his complaints about postal regulation were a 'self-serving defence of inefficiency'."
December 12, 2002 -- AFX Europe has reported that "the German government will pursue further its privatisation plans in the current four-year legislature term, the finance ministry said. It said in a statement the government will continue to examine its shareholding interests that are considered 'important,' and will undertake this examination 'based on more rigorous standards.'"
December 12, 2002 -- PostX, a provider of secure messaging solutions, has announced support and integration of the Liberty Alliance v1.1 specifications for Federated Identity Management. These standards will be integrated into the next generation of the PostX Enterprise secure messaging platform due for release in Q1 2003. PostX software products ensure that message security is strong, flexible, and easily extended to external organizations, partners and individuals. Security is transparent to end-users; there is no complicated and costly client software required and they may choose to receive secure communication either in their email inbox, through a secure web site, or their wireless device. PostX Enterprise, the company's flagship secure messaging platform, supports common industry standard technologies, integration interfaces, and application design.
December 12, 2002 -- Newsday has reported that "continuing to be hurt by a decline in business with the U.S. Postal Service, Vicon Industries Inc., a designer of video surveillance systems, said Tuesday that sales were lower and losses widened in its most recent quarter. The Hauppauge-based company, which has been struggling as a result of cutbacks by the Postal Service, said that it lost $793,000 in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 30." It's been a tough year all 'round.
December 12, 2002 -- ITWeb (South Africa) has reported that "the South African Post Office yesterday launched the Trust Centre outside Cape Town in the hope that it can counteract falling mail volumes by becoming an e-business heavyweight. The launch of the centre, which it describes as the world's most advanced, puts the Post Office in a position to start issuing legally recognised digital signatures on smart cards early next year. It then plans to start wooing business from banks, other financial institutions and, most importantly, from the government."
December 12, 2002 -- The Irish Times has reported that "An Post [the Irish post office] has deployed e-payments technology supplied by Dublin-based firm Trintech to enable AIB Bank customers transact bank business in post offices. Trintech was selected by An Post to supply chip-enabled PIN pad infrastructure throughout its 1,000 branches, which will enable An Post to securely encrypt a cardholder's PIN and integrate with the post office branch counter automation system. The smartcard enabled PIN will enable both firms to introduce smart card transactions in the future which are compatible with a new global standard, which will shortly be introduced."
December 12, 2002 -- The Christian Science Monitor has noted that "President Bush named a commission yesterday to look into the idea of privatizing part of the postal service. The need for an overhaul is clear - the post office has lost some $6 billion since 1971, and owes a big debt to the government. But privatizing this very public institution creates a new set of issues, and the commission should proceed carefully. The essence of the postal service - universal service at universal rates - runs counter to privatization. Such a move likely would emphasize profit as king."
December 12, 2002 -- On the other hand, "Citizens Against Government Waste expressed disappointment after the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) reform commission's initial press conference this morning."
December 12, 2002 -- The National Newspaper Association, an organization of more than 3,000 community newspapers across America, today released a statement in support of President Bush's decision to name a Presidential Commission to study the future of the United States Postal Service."
December 12, 2002 -- The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) today applauded the Administration's empanelling of a commission to study the role of the United States Postal Service (USPS) in the 21st century.
December 12, 2002 -- The members of the Mailing Industry CEO Council said the President's announcement is a critical first step toward essential reforms in the system. The President asked the Commission to recommend legislative and other reforms to modernize the Postal Service.
December 12, 2002 -- "Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) is gratified that President Bush has taken this critically important step toward postal reform--a course of action that we and other postal-dependent industries have strongly urged him to pursue," said Nina Link, President and CEO of MPA. "We look forward to participating in the Commission's work on behalf of America's magazine industry."
December 12, 2002 -- My heavens! And yet another! "The announcement today that an independent presidential commission of national leaders has been appointed to examine the operations of the U.S. Postal Service and make recommendations for its future was greeted with enthusiasm by the Newspaper Association of America." We're on a roll!
December 12, 2002 -- Eyefortransport has reported that:
December 12, 2002 -- The Carmarthen Journal (U.K.) has reported that "Rural post offices in west Wales have received a boost, following a multi-million pound investment. Wales is expected to receive œ16 million a year for the next three years to help safeguard rural post offices. However Ceredigion MP Simon Thomas met with Postwatch officials to discuss the rural of rural post offices, and he said that 10 per cent of rural post offices in Ceredigion have closed in the last three years. Mr Thomas fears that a number of rural Post Offices could suffer if the Post Office insists on short term money saving tactics."
December 11, 2002 -- The Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), an organization representing companies that value the preservation of a universal mail delivery system for business communication and commerce, has praised President George W. Bush for his appointment of a commission to study the future of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). "The Postal Service," said PostCom President Gene Del Polito, "is at a crossroads. It faces challenges that were never envisioned the last time this nation comprehensively re-evaluated its postal needs."
December 11, 2002 -- The Memphis Business Journal has reported that "United Parcel Service says it supports formation of a special presidential commission to examine the role of the U.S. Postal Service -- UPS' competitor -- in the 21st century."
December 11, 2002 -- Well, it's happened. The President of the United States has appointed a Commission on the Postal Service. According to Treasury Undersecretary Secretary Fisher, the commission has been told what to do, but it has been told NOT to recommend that things either remain the same or that mailers be required to carry the sole burden. PMG Potter and Sec. Fisher emphasized that nothing that the Commission will do should deter the USPS from moving ahead on its transformation plan. Furthermore, he said that it is NOT the intention of the President to privatize the Postal Service. PMG Potter added that there is nothing that should stop the current effort to get Congress to change the manner in which the USPS pays is civil service retirement obligations. A copy of the live proceedings has been posted on the U.S. Treasury web site. See the following as well: Associated Press, the Washington Post, Statement of the Postmaster General, Statement of Robert Rider, Chairman of the USPS Board, Statement of Undersecretary Fisher, the USPS Newslink story, a copy of the President's Executive Order, Statement of the President's Press Secretary.
December 11, 2002 -- The Washington Post has a good story on the Commission that will be announced today, including a list of its members. See also the report in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
December 11, 2002 -- A Presidential Commission on the Postal Service will be announced on Wednesday morning at a 10:30 a.m. news conference at the Department of the Treasury. Treasury plans to webcast the event from its website (www.treasury.gov). The listing says Treasury Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Peter R. Fisher and Postmaster General Jack Potter will attend. (You must have either the free RealPlayer or WindowsMedia Player software to view the webcast.)
December 11, 2002 -- So who is Dennis Shea, the expected to be named executive director of the Commission on the Postal Service? A copy of his bio has been posted on this site.
December 11, 2002 -- GoMemphis.com has reported that "The Postal Service continues to make money off of express mail despite a 10 percent decline in volume over the last year, postal officials said Tuesday in announcing a $676 million deficit for 2002. The contract with FedEx to route priority and express mail through its Memphis hub has lowered costs and improved service, said Postal Service chief financial officer and executive vice president Richard J. Strasser Jr. Before its seven-year, $7.2 billion deal with FedEx last year, the Postal Service had to maintain a separate fleet of planes for priority mail."
December 11, 2002 -- According to Stars and Stripes military postal facilities are getting a heavy influx of holiday mail.
December 11, 2002 -- And, as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has noted, yes, Virginia, they're even processing Santa mail in Germany.
December 11, 2002 -- According to Borderland News, "one of the cheapest ways for people in the United States to wire money to Mexico: the U.S. Postal Service, which charges $8 to send $300. Despite the sluggish U.S. economy, the amount of money Mexican immigrants sent to relatives back home is expected to reach a record $13 billion this year, according to a Pew Hispanic Center and Inter-American Development Bank report. Through a program called "Dinero Seguro/Sure Money," people can send money through the Postal Service, which relatives can collect at any Bancomer bank in Mexico. El Paso Postal Service spokesman Don Berger said the Postal Service is doing a better job of advertising this service, especially in Spanish-language media.
December 11, 2002 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "the loss-making Royal Mail clashed yesterday with its regulator over Postcomm's plans to comply with a new European Union directive opening up the postal services market to competition. In its latest row with the regulator, Royal Mail accused Postcomm of "an overly complex and bureaucratic handling of competition in the UK postal market" in order to strengthen its control. On January 1 the EU will cut the monopoly enjoyed by national postal operators from 350 grams to 100g, with a further reduction to 50g from January 1, 2006. This should open parts of the market to full-scale competition."
December 11, 2002 -- The Royal Gazette (Bermuda) has reported that "the Bank of Bermuda and the Bank of Butterfield have both had to terminate their US dollar cheque facilities. In the past, both banks offered US dollar current accounts with cheques cleared by US counterparts such as Deutche Bank (formerly Bankers Trust). Each sent out letters to clients recently explaining that the US Patriot Act, which was designed to track down funds of terrorist organisations, has led to bank regulations in the United States tightening significantly. Bank of Bermuda head of banking services, Michael W. Collins predicts that the use of cheques, although still important to Bermuda companies, will gradually become less important as people become more accustomed to internet banking."
December 11, 2002 -- PaperlessPOBox, a provider of a service that converts postal mail to electronic mail, announced today a half-price offering for active members of the U.S. armed forces, specifically aimed at military personnel based overseas. The special pricing also applies to reservists and national guard units assigned abroad. Eligible customers may enroll in the special military program through the company's website at www.paperlesspobox.com."
December 11, 2002 -- DM News has reported that "multichannel purchasing has become mainstream as consumers increasingly switch between catalog and online shopping, according to the Fall 2002 Catalog Industry Trend Report from Abacus, a division of DoubleClick, which was released yesterday. The report found that 39 percent of sales from catalog campaigns took place online for merchants with catalog and online sales channels. For those with catalog, online and retail sales channels, 33 percent of sales resulting from catalog campaigns came online, 23 percent were at retail locations and 44 percent came via the telephone."
December 11, 2002 -- The Business Times (Singapore) has reported that "the US Postal Service on Tuesday posted a US$676 million loss in its 2002 fiscal year as officials said they are on track to begin preparing another rate increase for 2004 as early as next month."
December 10, 2002 -- PostCom has learned that Dennis Shea, a former Dole staffer, will be serving as the Executive Director of the Presidential Commission on the Postal Service.
December 10, 2002 -- As PostCom President Gene Del Polito noted in the latest issue of Business Report (the journal of the American-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry), "the challenge of working parents with little leisure time, the desire to dress stylishly, and to find and enjoy the pleasurable things in life is just as much a part of the Moscovite's experience as it is for the Londoner, Parisian, or New Yorker." Russia, he said, is a direct market waiting to happen. To learn more about direct marketing opportunities in Russia, contact the American-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
December 10, 2002 -- The U.S. Postal Service will be publishing in the Postal Bulletin a notice that notes that "effective January 9, 2003, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) Modules E, L, and M are revised to change mail preparation standards for automated flat sorting machine (AFSM) 100-compatible flat-size mail for Periodicals, Standard Mail, and Bound Printed Matter (BPM) mailings. In addition, there are changes to: Periodicals flat-size and irregular parcel mailings; Standard Mail flat-size mailings; and BPM flat-size and irregular parcel mailings that are placed in certain 3-digit sacks, on 5-digit scheme pallets (e.g., under DMM M045.3.1b), and on optional 3-digit pallets. These changes will result in customer mail preparation that requires fewer presort destination packages and preparation of containers that is more compatible with postal processing."
December 10, 2002 -- Maine Today has reported that "a $65 million mail-processing plant planned in Scarborough is on hold until at least 2005, and some are beginning to question whether the facility will be built at all. The U.S. Postal Service, which originally planned to begin construction sometime in 2002, attributes the delay to budget constraints and issues related to Sept. 11. But the Postal Service insists it still plans to build a 400,000-square-foot facility for its 800 employees in southern Maine."
December 10, 2002 -- Congratulations to Ernesta Ballard who has been appointed to a cabinet-level postition in the State of Alaska. Of course, that means the Postal Service has just lost her services as a Governor. Most postal observers say "too bad, she was one of the good ones."
December 10, 2002 -- CNET News has reported that "Online retailers bagged big gains to start off the holiday shopping season, with U.S. consumers spending $6.2 billion online in November, up 22 percent from a year ago, according to a new report. The study, conducted by Nielsen/NetRatings, Goldman Sachs and Harris Interactive, noted that bargain-hunting was a major impetus for online shopping--40 percent of shoppers said that price was a key reason they went online instead of offline. Many stores have been running special promotions on the Web, including free shipping deals, as they try to lure consumers online."
December 10, 2002 -- According to the International Herald Tribune, "the U.S. Postal Service has an early Christmas present for European residents expecting holiday packages from the United States this year. . Hoping to quell a chorus of complaints about exorbitant charges and interminable delays that rocked the service last year, the USPS is promising lower fees and prompt delivery of trans-Atlantic shipments.
December 10, 2002 -- Approximately 25 million small packages or more a day are expected to be shipped and delivered over the next two weeks during the holiday period, and carriers gearing up to deliver that huge volume will have to meet very demanding and distinctly different requirements for ground, air or international services for business customers. A new J.D. Power and Associates study released today asked more than 900 shipping managers and other business personnel to rate their small-package delivery service carriers. The study has established a benchmark for customer satisfaction in the small package delivery service industry. FedEx ranks highest in business customer satisfaction, not only in air and international delivery categories, but in ground delivery as well."
December 10, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that at the December meeting of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, Postmaster General Jack Potter reported that the USPS was able to cut a budgeted loss of $1.35 billion in half to $676 million through aggressive cost cutting. Workhour reductions were the key to cost containment. These were reduced 78 million, or 23,000 career employees. As a result, the USPS was able to reduce its debt by $200 million instead of increasing it by $1.6 billion as originally planned. Be sure also to check the Postal Service's release on this issue.
December 10, 2002 -- The remarks delivered by the Postmaster General and the Chairman of the USPS Board of Governors is posted on the USPS' web site.
December 10, 2002 -- The U.S. Postal Service Inspection Service has reported that it has continued "to combat mail crimes, despite a year in which domestic terrorsm shifted its priorities." The Inspection Service has provided a more complete rendering of its activities in its 2002 Annual Report of Investigations. And, if you haven't seen it yet, you ought to check out a nice booklet that gives you a bit of history on the Inspection Service. It's called: Because The Mail Matters.
December 10, 2002 -- Bell & Howell, a provider of mail and messaging solutions and services, has selected TransFirst Inc., a leading transaction processing and payment technologies provider, to perform payment processing for its electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) solution, eMessaging eXpress(sm).
December 10, 2002 -- The U.S. Postal Service is expected to publish a Customer Support Ruling that "allows mailers to enter Standard Mail (STD) parcels at Destination Delivery Units (DDUs) and claim the 3/5 Presorted rate and the Destination Bulk Mail Center (DBMC) discount. The mailings may contain less than the minimum volume required for the STD Mail 5-digit sort (e.g., 10 pounds to a 5-digit Scheme/5-digit). It also includes the option to combine STD Mail machinable and irregular parcels in the same container with Package Services parcels when presented at a DDU."
December 10, 2002 -- Siemens Dematic Postal Automation L.P. has announced the relocation of its U.S. headquarters to a site adjacent to the "Ballpark in Arlington" in Arlington, Texas. The 14.1-acre site is located on the northwest side of the Ballpark between Pennant Drive and Copeland Road.
December 10, 2002 -- According to AFX Newswire (Asia), "Lawson Inc.will tie up with the Postal Services Agency to set up mail boxes at its outlets nationwide from January, 1. Japan's second largest operator of convenience stores will also consider further alliances with the agency including operation of in-store automated teller machines and handling small parcel delivery after the agency transfers its major operations to a public corporation next April. The agency will set up mail boxes on store counters at about 7,700 Lawson outlets from January."
December 10, 2002 -- Sw issInfo has reported that "the Swiss parliament has approved in principle the gradual opening up of the postal services. The Senate voted to liberalise parcel and mail deliveries beginning in 2004, but said the Post Office must maintain a country-wide network of branches. The House of Representatives has already given the green light to the measures. However, the Swiss electorate will have the final say on the Post Office's plans to cut the number of branches, after consumer groups and trade unions collected enough signatures to force a nationwide vote."
December 10, 2002 -- Since the Commission on the Postal Service will (at least) nominally be running under the Treasury Department's auspices, here is a profile on the new Treasury Secretary-Designate John Snow. Here also is a Goldman Sachs profile on former Fannie Mae chairman James Johnson, who will co-chair the commission.
December 10, 2002 -- Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg (R) is unhappy with the Postal Service. He said: "the United States Postal Service wants to charge us more for less service. I'm going to do everything I can to keep that from happening. Rural states like Montana end up being the losers, because we have a large geographical area and not a lot of population. I find over and over on issues back in Washington DC, it's not east versus west, it's really urban versus rural. I just don't get what the Postal Service is doing. I hope to be in a position in the new session of Congress in which I have something to say about it, and we're just going to fight it every step of the way so that Montanans get the same quality, speedy service that everyone else gets from their postal carriers."
December 10, 2002 -- The President will announce the appointment of a Commission on the Postal Service on Wednesday at 10 a.m. The Commission's charge will include:
The Commission will be chaired by Harry Pearce, the Chairman of the Board at Hughes Electronics. His Democratic counterpart will be James Johnson, former chairman of Fannie Mae.
The Commission will be told to prepare and present a report on its findings and recommendations to Congress by July 31, and will have an August 31 sunset date.
December 10, 2002 -- All Africa Global Media has reported that "water bills can now be paid at the counter of any Ghana post office in the country. Miss Sussie Mensah, a Board member of GWCL, formally launched the collection of GWCL bills by Ghana Post at its post offices throughout the country last Wednesday. Mr. Isaac Addo Boahen, MD of Ghana Post said letter revenues are dwindling because of technology. Postal organizations are therefore entering into alliances with the utilities."
December 10, 2002 -- The Americ an Forces Information Service has reported that "whoever unleashed the anthrax assaults that killed five people last year is most likely a trained biomedical technician. That's the belief of the new chief of the U.S. agency responsible for national medical preparedness for biological, chemical and nuclear terrorist attacks. She noted that 12 letters "almost shut down the U.S. Postal system" during the anthrax threat. 'It wouldn't take many more (such) letters to really create an enormous catastrophe. … Our best defense is to find the (perpetrator of the) first (anthrax) case,' she concluded."
December 10, 2002 -- The Minnesota AFL-CIO has reported that unions "a new cause. It's GOP President George W. Bush's planned war against Iraq." They're against it. And so are thousands of other individual unionists, including Paul Felton, the elected editor of the APWU Local 480-481 Communicator in Michigan, who wrote: "Our country is preparing for war with Iraq--a war that will not benefit Postal Workers or the vast majority of the American people. It will not make us freer, it will not make us safer, it will not make our lives any better. I believe the labor movement should be speaking out, loudly and proudly, against George Bush's plans to invade Iraq." He accused union leaders of "sleepwalking" on the issue of Bush's use of the Iraq war to battle against unionists. "Bush wants to privatize the Post Office. He wants to bust unions throughout this country...His economic stimulus package after 9/11 gave millions to wealthy corporate CEOs and the shaft to working people. In short, Bush is an enemy of working people and a friend to the super-rich." Are you confused? You should be. Is this about a possible war against Iraq or an alleged "war against postal workers?" Foolish me. And I thought "class warfare" stopped being chic with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
December 10, 2002 -- "Did postal rules kill carrier?" asked The Examiner. "The night before mail carrier James Fussell was struck by a car and killed delivering mail after dark, he returned to his station and reported that it was too dark to continue, but he was sent back out to complete his route. At a memorial service for Fussell Sunday, Raytown station manager Steve Morrison confirmed that a supervisor directed Fussell and another carrier to complete the route despite the dark. Fussell was struck by a car and killed Tuesday as he walked his delivery route in the 6500 block of Laurel Avenue in Raytown."
December 9, 2002 -- The American Postal Workers Union has published the first in a series of papers on information about the U.S. Postal Service and APWU's proposed solutions for its current problems. This first paper is entitled: Looking Back, Looking Forward; 30 Years of Postal Reform. If you're a postal maven, consider it must reading.
December 9, 2002 -- According to the Associated Press, "deep discounts driving merchandise off store shelves this month could lead to a busier-than-usual shipping rush to restock the shelves next month, analysts say. Major shippers like United Parcel Service and FedEx are prepared for a shorter holiday shipping season only 17 instead of 21 regular shipping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. But it's what happens after the holidays that could catch them by surprise, analysts say."
December 9, 2002 -- The Star (Malaysia) has reported that "United Parcel Service (UPS) has launched its short message service (SMS) tracking service in eight Asian countries, providing customers with the convenience of tracking their package delivery status anytime, anywhere. The move complements UPS’s broad push to provide its customers with the most convenient access to the latest technology and wireless options, allowing customers to better manage their own businesses."
December 9, 2002 -- "Smart elves don't schlep. They ship." So said the Chicago Tribune which also reported that "Americans used to gripe about shipping costs when they ordered things through print or online catalogs. Paying $6 or more to send a gift to a distant relative seemed like a waste of money when airlines allowed unlimited, unsearched carry-ons and the post office would take just about any parcel, no matter how battered the second-hand box. No more. With airline and postal security standards ever-tightening, Americans are happy to check off 'send to recipient.' The convenience is suddenly worth the price, and that newfound appreciation for point-and-ship is translating to a healthy boost in sales for Midwestern mail-order firms."
December 9, 2002 -- The Evening Standard (U.K.) has reported that "controversial plans to break up postal services have been dropped by the regulator Postcomm following a fierce rearguard action from Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton. He threatened to resign unless plans to hive off the delivery business from the rest of the postal system were abandoned."
December 9, 2002 -- The White House is expected to announce the appointment of a Commission on the Postal Service this Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. The Commission will be told to complete and report its work by July 31.
December 9, 2002 -- According to the Appl eton Post-Crescent, "a battle is mounting as the United States Postal Service seeks approval for its first-ever negotiated service agreement to provide discounted rates to the nation’s largest first-class mailer. The Postal Rate Commission is likely to announce a decision in February on the pending deal with Capital One Services Inc. 'We are seeking ways to make it easier and more beneficial for postal customers doing business with us,' said Anita Bizzotto, Washington, D.C., chief marketing officer for the Postal Service. But the Vienna, Va.-based Newspaper Association of America, a leading critic, called the plan a 'sweetheart deal' that’s unavailable on the same terms to other potential users."
December 9, 2002 -- "Starting this week, the U.S. Postal Service's Office of Inspector General is investigating fraud related to on-the-job injuries, called workers' compensation claimant fraud, in the Capital Metro Area that extends from Baltimore, Md., to Richmond, Va., and includes the District of Columbia," announced Inspector General Karla W. Corcoran today. This work was previously conducted by the Inspection Service.
December 9, 2002 -- The Jacksonville Daily News has noted that consumers who want to ship a package face a bit of a conundrum. "Express, priority or parcel post? Next day air or ground? Overnight or two-day delivery? With so many mailing options, it’s easy to get confused about a simple task such as sending a Christmas present to that favorite aunt. The U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and United Parcel Service will be delivering billions of cards, letters and packages to family and friends nationwide and overseas this season. And many of their mailing services are offered online."
December 9, 2002 -- The Daily Times of Nigeria has reported that "Expedited Mail Service (EMS Speedpost) a subsidiary of the Nigerian Postal Service has unveiled plans to dish out fantastic gifts to its customers this Christmas season. The customers to benefit from these gifts include those who send packages through the courier service provider beyond the shores of this country and those with courier and mail whose cost range between N5,000 and N20,000. Among the gifts to customers are branded birds, keyholders/Openers, T-shirts, towels and pressing irons as well as wrist watches. Customers would also go home with gifts such as free mailing package, free prepaid envelops and discount of no less than 10 per cent of total cost for mails going to the UK, USA and Italy. There is also chance of entering for a prime prize drawn for cumulative shipment of no less than N20,000 at the end of the bonanza promotion. These groups stand the chance of winning TV sets, fridges and cookers."
December 9, 2002 -- According to the U.S. Postal Service, "going Global is easy."
December 9, 2002 -- U.S. military officials have asked USPS to stop accepting mail addressed to "Any Service Member" or similar forms of address and return to the sender any such mail that enters the mail stream.
December 9, 2002 -- The Wash ington Post has reported that "most American workers are not -- repeat not -- overwhelmed by stuffed e-mail inboxes or vast amounts of spam, according to a new study that contradicts conventional wisdom that e-mail has become a major burden on people's lives. About 60 percent of workers surveyed for the study by the Washington-based Pew Internet & American Life Project said they receive an average of 10 or fewer messages per day."
December 9, 2002 -- The Economist has reported that "shoppers may be spending less because of a sluggish world economy. But a greater proportion of what they do spend this Christmas will be bought online. Nearly three out of four computer users in America will buy at least some of their Christmas gifts over the Internet, according to a recent poll by Business Software Alliance, a research group. A quirk of the Internet is that many customers still like to receive a retailer’s catalogue even though its offerings can all be found on the web. RedEnvelope, an American company that sells jewellery and gifts, has found that up to half its online sales stem from its catalogue. That may be one reason why Amazon—never slow to spot a trend—has lately started to distribute copies of its own catalogue when delivering goods which its customers have bought online."
December 9, 2002 -- China Daily has reported that "France-based Neopost, the world's No 2 manufacturer of postage machines, wants to take advantage of the opening of China's postal service market. The company is lobbying China's postal industry regulators to allow franking machines to be installed in large companies, said Neopost Chair and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Paul Villot. China's low usage of franking machines, meant to facilitate processing of outgoing mail, provides huge business opportunities for manufacturers. US-based Pitney Bowes, Neopost's major competitor, formed a partnership with China Post in August to implement its first Chinese Web-based postage management system, Postagebyphone.com. Pitney Bowes also signed contracts with more than 15 provincial postal bureaux, which are worth several millions of US dollars, to provide and install postage machines."
December 9, 2002 -- The Daily Press has reported that "the federal government plans to adopt a rule requiring the locking of all trucks on the road, a seemingly simple requirement that could have a far-reaching effect on the trucking and freight-delivery industry."
December 9, 2002 -- Hoovers Online has reported that "UPS (United Parcel Service), has recently launched the 'Standard Service', an integrated logistics service between Brazil and the US that involves air transportation until Miami and railroad transportation covering 48 US states. The service is targeted at Brazilian companies with several clients in the US. The main targets are shoes, auto parts, textile mill products and publishing products segments."
December 8, 2002 -- According to the managing editor of The Saratogian, "it's no wonder mail carriers go postal. Any sane person would after delivering 1,729 pounds of catalogs to each and every household and picking up tons of canned goods donated by residents to stock local food pantries, all in the same week. The postmaster general apparently wants to know how many catalogs and cans a carrier can carry. That is why he is called the general. It's a war out there."
December 8, 2002 -- According to the Sunday Sun (U.K.), "The famous fib "the cheque is in the post" may actually be true, the Royal Mail said yesterday. Last year alone the postal service dealt with £175m worth of cheques that were undeliverable because they were improperly addressed. And it's getting worse, with the National Return Centre handling 250,000 "lost" cheques this year. The total of undeliverable letters and parcels handled each year tops 72 million. The worst offenders are people failing to include a postcode in an address."
December 8, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that "a conservative watchdog group is seeking a criminal investigation into the U.S. Postal Service's handling of last year's anthrax contamination that killed two workers at a Washington post office. Judicial Watch submitted documents to a federal prosecutor that it says prove postal and government officials knew anthrax spores had leaked from a letter sent to Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., into the Brentwood mail processing center but neither warned workers nor shut down the site."
December 8, 2002 -- The Economist has reported that "management consultants at McKinsey calculate that the total American logistics market, which includes basic transport and in-house administration costs, is worth about $1 trillion a year, and grows annually by around 4%: in other words, it is a mature business. But the third-party market, of around $50 billion a year, is reckoned to be growing at 15-18%. On a similar narrow definition, McKinsey estimates that the European market was worth around $155 billion in 1999, and will expand to $213 billion by 2005. This growing market is being eyed, especially in America, by lots of existing freight companies. Most operators in one market, or one region, are considering widening their service and geographical footprint. Express air-carriers such as FedEx and UPS have the advantage of existing large networks, which they can also use for customised logistics. Broking houses such as Kuehne & Nagel can offer their skills in tying together different modes of transport. DPWN and TPG bring sheer size and capital."
December 8, 2002 -- The Gillette News-Record has reported that "there's a problem in Gillette and the surrounding subdivisions that, up to now, only Santa could appreciate. The problem is for those trying to deliver holiday parcels and packages when there are no street numbers or house numbers in place. 'With all the expansion we've had, and all the growth, we have a lot of places were the roads aren't marked, houses don't have numbers on it and you just can't leave a package if you can't find the place,' said Mike Hankins, United Parcel Service Center supervisor in Gillette."
December 8, 2002 -- According to Traffic World, "Dulles, Va.-based Vastera is in North America, Latin America, Asia and now Europe. It facilitates trade but doesn't move boxes. And it is not a third-party logistics provider. Confusing? Yes. Vastera continues to provide a niche service: helping companies with the documentation that moves along with freight when it crosses borders."
December 8, 2002 -- Forbes has reported that "some of America's biggest truckers and the Teamsters union are encountering headwinds as they bargain on a new labor contract each side wants settled before nonunion rivals again lure away cargoes."
December 7, 2002 -- According to Direct magazine's "Postal Doctor," Dan Minnick, don't go cashing in the savings from the Postal Service's CSRS bonanza quite yet.
December 7, 2002 -- The Bergen Record has declared "attention, please: Would the individuals who helped themselves to 19,940,000 plastic mail bins kindly return them? The U.S. Postal Service really needs them back."
December 7, 2002 -- Xinhua has reported that "China's first ever working committee on international express delivery was founded in Beijing Friday, with the purpose of ensuring couriers in China compete in an orderly way and in line with international standards. The newly founded industrial body is affiliated to the China International Freight Forwarders Association, a non-governmental organization responsible for industry guidance. The new committee will liaise between the government and overseas and domestic express delivery firms, and inform them the latest industrial and technical information."
December 7, 2002 -- According to the Lake Worth Herald, "Forget Enron, WorldCom, and the other public companies who cooked their books and, as a result, emptied stockholders' pockets. Upon information and belief, the U. S. Postal Service tops them all. The powers to be at the USPS, not only cooked the books, but they also barbecued, deep fried, grilled and everything else known to man, in their accounting and reporting of their sponsorship of Lance Armstrong's Tour de France bicycle team since 1997."
December 7, 2002 -- The Stamford Advocate has reported that "Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., has asked the Postal Service about its procedures for handling suspicious mail after an incident at a Hartford post office involving a letter that referenced anthrax. On Nov. 19, a letter was discovered at the Hartford Processing and Distribution facility by a postal worker, with the following message: "To anyone who wants anthrax have a nice day," according to Lieberman. He said he was notified by a local American Postal Workers Union president."
December 7, 2002 -- In a letter to the President of the United States, a coalition of mailer organizations, companies, and postal employee organizations wrote:
On behalf of millions of customers of the United States Postal Service and its employees, we urge you to ask Congress to act swiftly on legislation recently proposed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to correct the statutory funding mechanism for the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). This legislation is necessary to prevent the overpayment of retirement contributions by the United States Postal Service. This legislation would also stimulate the nation's economy, including the $900 billion mailing industry that employees 9 million Americans and represents nearly 9% of the GDP.
December 7, 2002 -- CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal) has reported that:
CEP News is without a doubt one of the best newsletters you can find that focuses on the courier, express, and postal market in Europe. For more information on a subscription to CEP News, contact the publisher.
December 7, 2002 -- MSNBC has reported that "FBI and Customs agents have raided a Quincy, Mass., software company that has done business with dozens of government agencies [including the Postal Service] and Fortune 500 companies, attempting to determine whether the company is partly owned by a Saudi businessman who U.S. officials believe is a financier for the al-Qaida terrorism network.
December 6, 2002 -- The Financial Post (Canada) has reported that "In a stunning rebuke to Canada Post, a NAFTA tribunal ruled recently that a US$160-million lawsuit filed by United Parcel Service can proceed. Hours after the recent judgment was issued, Canada Post sent out a press release erroneously entitled "Canada Post Pleased NAFTA Tribunal Rejects UPS Claim." Hardly. While a handful of UPS's dozens of arguments were dismissed for technical, jurisdictional reasons, the bulk of the lawsuit has, in fact, been ordered to proceed to trial, over Canada Post's objections. Each party has until Dec. 9 to report back to the tribunal for the next round. Perhaps Canada Post's delusional media spin was written before the tribunal had even issued its ruling, out of overconfidence. Or perhaps it was written after the ruling, simply to avoid dealing with the consequences that Canada's largest monopoly now faces. Either way, it's not very encouraging behaviour from the federal government. Canada now has to answer for the fact that our government-run mail monopoly subsidizes its non-monopoly courier companies -- resulting in a 47% share of the market."
December 6, 2002 -- The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) announced a tentative agreement today with United Parcel Service (UPS), covering 3,200 mechanics and maintenance employees at more than 100 UPS facilities nationwide. The 7-year accord includes pay raises for employees in 36 job classifications. Major increases were also achieved in pension benefits and in a company-provided national health care plan that sets new standards for affordability and quality.
December 6, 2002 -- ABC News has reported that "Dow Jones & Co. said Thursday it was pulling beleaguered UAL Corp. from the Dow Jones Transportation Average and replacing it with United Parcel Service Inc."
December 6, 2002 -- Inquiring minds want to know: Will there be a Presidential Commission on the Postal Service? Answer: Yes. Expect the announcement in the coming week.
December 6, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that "about 2,000 Romanian postal workers marched through the streets of the capital Wednesday to protest low wages and too heavy workloads. The employees, who defied low temperatures and traveled to Bucharest from all over the country, demanded that the government allow the state-run postal system to resume hiring to cope with an increasing workload."
December 6, 2002 -- According to the Financial Times (U.K.), British postal regulator " Postcomm rarely wastes an opportunity to tick off the Royal Mail for getting its sums wrong - so what fun that, it too, struggles with a calculator. The postal regulator exceeded its œ5.3m budget by more than œ300,000 in the past financial year after "miscalculating" its accounts. It forgot to factor in depreciation for its computers, office furniture and other fittings at its new London offices. Martin Stanley, Postcomm chief executive, can expect to be grilled by the Commons' public accounts committee for the oversight."
December 6, 2002 -- According to Korea Times, "On any day on Seoul's bustling streets, one can see door-to-door delivery trucks that look like moving vans unloading big and small boxes people's shopping. With the winter buying season approaching, hard-working deliverymen who deliver such parcels will become even more common. The door-to-door service has become routine when the Internet produced a new type of online shoppers. The major impetus, however, was the growth of the home shopping market. TV home shopping has existed in South Korea for just seven years, but the market has grown to five trillion won this year. Door-to-door delivery of purchased goods appealed to home consumers who hate crowded and noisy stores."
December 6, 2002 -- AFX Asia has reported that "The Postal Services Agency will form an alliance with convenience store operator Lawson Inc to set up mail boxes in about 7,600 stores from January, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported, citing sources close to the matter. The partners will also consider jointly operating the agency's in-store automated teller machines and handle its small parcel delivery service. The agency aims to compete with private parcel delivery companies and financial institutions, after it transfers its major operations to a public corporation scheduled to start in April."
December 5, 2002 -- Traffic World has reported that "America needs a 'very aggressive' push toward increased spending on transportation in the next Congress or else it faces the risk of giving in to terrorism, the nation's top business advocate charged next week. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue told the National Industrial Transportation League annual meeting Nov. 19 that the nation's economic recovery depends on its $1.75 trillion transportation system. Donohue is considering a lead role in the crafting of next year's reauthorization of the $216 billion highway bill. 'You might be wondering why the Chamber is taking such a big role in this,' Donohue said. 'Transportation is a global issue. It's not confined to one sector, one business or one mode. The highly competitive business models of just-in-time deliveries depend on secure, dependable and integrated supply chains.'"
December 5, 2002 -- The New Zealand Herald has reported that "Transend Worldwide, New Zealand Post's international subsidiary, has won a $1.5 million contract to provide over 650 postal delivery sorting systems to Hongkong Post."
December 5, 2002 -- The Financial Times (U.K.)has reported that "Allan Leighton's appointment as chairman of Royal Mail Group was an act of genius. The former Asda boss has driven through cost cuts to lift this once highly profitable monopoly out of the red. He has begun to put it on a firmer footing to face competition as the market is opened up over the next three years. And he is ambitious enough to plan returning the post office network to profit by turning it into "the EasyJet of banking". All this while the foremost advocate of "going plural" continues to hold a fistful of other top jobs. There is a downside in all this, however. Running Royal Mail during these most testing of times would be no easy matter full-time. Less than full-time, quick judgments must be made - and there is a premium on short, sharp campaigns against threats to the business plan. In most cases it is Postcomm, the regulator, that is the scapegoat - most recently over its proposals for price controls."
December 5, 2002 -- The Times (U.K.) has reported that "Royal Mail, the troubled postal services group, yesterday gave warning that the price of stamps could rise by up to 17« per cent if a campaign to end its VAT-exempt status on business services is successful. Charging VAT on Royal Mail's business services would be another blow to Allan Leighton, chairman of Royal Mail, who is struggling to reduce the organisation's huge losses."
December 5, 2002 -- Japan Times has reported that "the [Japanese] government has drafted a decree calling for a net worth equivalent of between 6 trillion yen and 7 trillion yen to be held by the public corporation set to take over from the Postal Services Agency. The decree also stipulates that areas of business in which the new public entity can invest be limited to two fields -- handling of data on mail delivery and creating and sending of mail."
December 5, 2002 -- The Federal Times has reported that "to some rank-and-file American Postal Workers Union members, the proposed contract extension that would provide a 1.3 percent pay hike for each of the next two years does not look so attractive now that the U.S. Postal Service is billions of dollars better off than it was a few months ago. "The contract extension is great for the major mailers and for the Postal Service, and it's even good for the APWU bureaucracy because it will get them off the hook in negotiating for us," said Dan Sullivan, who edits the newspaper for the APWU local in Kalamazoo, Mich. 'The only party that it's not good for is the union membership.'
December 5, 2002 -- Kewill Systems, a provider of multi-carrier shipping management and supply chain control software, announced today it has partnered with ReturnCentral to offer web-enabled returns processing technology to its customers. As part of the agreement, ReturnCentral will team with Kewill to provide the leading shipping management solution to its customers."
December 5, 2002 -- Even before he joined the Football Association, Adam Crozier gained a reputation as a politically-astute 'Teflon man'. This skill for brushing off criticism would certainly help at the Royal Mail, writes the Financial Times' (U.K.)Dan Roberts."
December 5, 2002 -- The Rapid City Journal has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service can drop its air-transport route between Sioux Falls and Rapid City without hurting delivery times for packages and letters in the region, according to Mark Saunders, Postal Service spokesman in Washington. 'Our No. 1 priority is to provide the best possible service at the lowest possible price, and service won't be impacted,' he said."
December 5, 2002 -- The Tribune-Democrat has reported that "more than 30 Meyersdale Manufacturing Co. workers took to the frozen streets yesterday, saying a new policy threatens their jobs. Textile workers, their union and parent company Elbeco Inc. of Reading, Berks County, are uniting to criticize the U.S. Postal Service's decision to allow one of its suppliers to manufacture the agency's uniforms outside U.S. borders."
December 5, 2002 -- The Edinburgh Evening News (U.K.) has reported that "Alan Jones, the managing director of express delivery giant TNT, has emerged today as the surprise front-runner to land the role of chief executive at the Royal Mail. Mr Jones joins Adam Crozier, the former chief executive of the Football Association, on a shortlist of two for the job at the head of the loss-making postal group."
December 5, 2002 -- As the Dallas Business Journal has noted, "The predecessors of American Airlines Inc. and other air carriers hauled mail before they carried passengers. But now, already awash in a sea of red ink, the carriers are reeling from a serious decline in the amount of mail they handle and the revenue it produces. The postal service historically has been commercial aviation's largest single customer."
December 5, 2002 -- The Federal Times has reported that "agencies are under pressure from Congress and the Office of Management and Budget to adopt disciplined methods for planning and managing information technology projects. According to an October report by the General Accounting Office, the Postal Service is more successful than most at establishing ways to manage investments that ensure IT dollars are spent wisely. GAO auditors were especially impressed by the way Postal Service senior managers made IT investment decisions."
December 5, 2002 -- The Financial Times has reported that "Post Office Ltd, the Achilles' heel of Royal Mail Group, could become the "EasyJet of banking" within a few years, according to Allan Leighton. The chairman of Royal Mail said its subsidiary, which last half-year ran up losses of œ95m before exceptionals, could one day return to profitability by providing cheap and simple banking services to millions. 'With 3m to 5m card accounts we could break even," Mr Leighton said. "If you then add on banking services, we can make it very profitable and become the EasyJet of banking.'"
December 5, 2002 -- According to the Journal of Commerce, "Deutsche Post World Net, the German postal service operator, may acquire a stake in Austria's state postal operator, although a decision by the Austrian state regarding a privatization of a majority stake in its postal service is not expected before early 2003. Deutsche Post is already active in the Austrian letter delivery market via subsidiary Global Mail Austria, and on the country's parcel delivery market via Deutsche Post Euroexpress Osterreich. The German company is also reported to be interested in investing in Danish postal operator Post Danmark, although the Danish state is currently considering the selling of a 25 percent stake."
December 4, 2002 -- Internet.com has reported that "mailing giant Pitney Bowes has added another lawsuit to its stack of legal proceedings against Stamps.com, this one claiming that the online company's NetStamps product infringes on several P-B patents." For Pitney's reasons for the lawsuit, check out the information posted on the company's web site.
December 4, 2002 -- According to the Edinburgh Evening News, "Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton has threatened to quit unless Britain's postal regulator stops hampering his attempts to restructure the country's loss-making postal service. The former supermarket chief also warned that he would seek a referral to the Competition Commission if Postcomm took a negative view of his plans to lift the cost of posting a letter by one pence."
December 4, 2002 -- The Leaf Chronicle has reported that "online sales are expected to increase 41 percent to $72.1 billion in 2002, according to a Shop.org annual study conducted by The Boston Consulting Group. Almost half of online buyers plan to do more shopping on the Web this holiday season than last year, according to the 2002 Online Holiday Mood Study conducted by Shop.org and BizRate.com, two sites that monitor and analyze consumer shopping and retail prices online."
December 4, 2002 -- Radio Prague (Czech Republic) has reported that "according to the Minister of Information Technology, Vladimir Mlynar, the Czech Postal Service should enable all citizens to have access to the Internet at post offices throughout the country. The company already has the necessary infrastructure - all 3,400 post offices in the Czech Republic are connected to a high-speed backbone network."
December 4, 2002 -- EuropeMedia.Net has reported that "SMS campaigns are failing to convince marketers in the UK, according to a new survey from Pitney Bowes Document Messaging Technologies. Although GartnerG2 research found that 41 per cent of European adults use SMS regularly, according to the Pitney Bowes study, marketers expect average response rates of 5.1 per cent when using SMS for marketing, compared to 6.8 per cent from direct mail campaigns. The survey suggests that SMS marketing may be successful with the youth market and those who are tech savy. It also found that marketers expect a typical response rate of 7.2 per cent when using email marketing campaigns, which is lower than the last few years when marketers were predicting rates of 10-15 per cent."
December 4, 2002 -- The Times Record has reported that "Fort Smith Mayor Ray Baker, who has championed efforts to retain mail processing facilities and a hometown postmark in Fort Smith, said Tuesday he has been told events are occurring in the local mail delivery system apparently aimed at sabotaging Fort Smith's service. Baker said at a meeting of the Fort Smith Board of Directors on Tuesday 'people in the postal system' have told him sorting of local mail is being delayed for several days, and work load records are being doctored to make it appear there is lower mail volume in Fort Smith. Baker said he believes the actions are deliberately aimed at supporting a case for moving the processing facilities to Fayetteville."
December 4, 2002 -- CoStar Connect has reported that "In a major bid to muscle-in on United Parcel Service's turf, FedEx Corp. recently announced plans to spend $1.8 billion over the next six years to build 10 new distribution hubs and expand 23 existing ones. The additional capacity will help boost its daily package processing volume from 2.5 million to 4.8 million by the end of fiscal year 2009, according to the company. The additional facilities are needed to support the expansion of the firm's home delivery service and expected growth, according to T. Michael Glen, executive vice president of FedEx Corp.. Glen said FedEx Ground will open new hubs by 2006 in Memphis, Dallas, Cincinnati, and Hagerstown, MD, and six more in other locations by the end of fiscal year 2009. In addition, FedEx said it plans to expand or relocate more than 300 of its customer service existing facilities."
December 4, 2002 -- Die Welt (Germany) has reported that "Deutsche Post, the German postal service operator, is considering a participation in Osterreichische Post, the Austrian state postal operator, although a decision by the Austrian state regarding a privatisation of a majority stake in its postal service is not expected before early 2003. Osterreichische Industriebeteiligungs AG (OIAG), the Austrian state enterprise holding, which currently owns Osterreichische Post, confirms that talks have been held with the German company, and it is rumoured in Austrian media circles that Deutsche Post may have reached an agreement over the acquisition of a 75 per cent stake."
December 4, 2002 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that:
December 4, 2002 -- According to The Times (U.K.), "someone in the Government thought that a Universal Bank [using post offices] sounded like a good idea. Since the someone in question was Stephen Byers, it will come as no surprise to learn that the scheme is not going entirely to plan. In fact, as it heads towards its scheduled springtime launch, the project looks more like a monumental flop than a universal success."
December 4, 2002 -- In the December 3rd Federal Register, the Postal Rate Commission has noted that "a petition has been filed seeking review of the jurisdictional status of numerous services offered by the Postal Service, such as First Class Phone Cards and Returns@ease. The petition also seeks, for services deemed non-jurisdictional, development of accounting and reporting rules. Although formal action on the petition has been deferred pending completion of a related Postal Service assessment, the Commission is soliciting comments from the public. Comments should be submitted by January 30, 2003.
December 4, 2002 -- According to DM News, "members of the Mailing Industry CEO Council sent a letter to President Bush yesterday supporting legislation that would let the U.S. Postal Service significantly lower its contributions to the Civil Service Retirement System."
December 4, 2002 -- The Business Standard (India) has reported that "Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), in collaboration with the department of posts (DoP), has launched a plan to equip the village postman with a mobile phone, based on the wireless in local loop (WLL) platform, that will act as a mobile public call office (PCO). The project, called Grameen Sanchar Sewak cheme, will enable villagers to make a call from their doorsteps using the mobile phone available with the postman. The scheme will be launched on December 25 across 7,000 villages by giving mobile handsets to over 2,000 postmen who will now be called grameen sanchar sewak. In return for their services the sanchar sewaks will be entitled to Rs 1 for calls between 100-200 km and Rs 2 for all other long distance calls. The GSS can also collect Rs 5 for passing on the message to the concerned persons in the village."
December 4, 2002 -- As Wired has reported, "a controversial government initiative to recruit Americans to spy on each other in an attempt to prevent terrorist attacks was quietly killed with the passage of the Homeland Security Act. First announced by the Justice Department in January, Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System), was initially designed as a nationwide reporting system that would enlist one million workers ranging from postal employees to truck drivers to tattle on any 'suspicious activity' by people along their routes."
December 4, 2002 -- The Times (U.K.) has reported that "plans to help to save the Post Office with the introduction of what had been known as the Universal Bank account have been scaled back, to the fury of sub-postmasters."
December 4, 2002 -- As the Newhouse News Service has noted, "having tightened security on passengers and their baggage, the federal government and the airlines are turning their attention to the cargo that is carried on airplanes. About 22 percent of air cargo is shipped on passenger flights, but only a small percentage of it is inspected. But as a precaution after Sept. 11, 2001, Congress and the TSA banned passenger airlines from carrying cargo items weighing more than 16 ounces. Most experts don't believe a bomb inside a smaller, lighter parcel would have enough explosive force to bring down a commercial jet. The ban has proven to be a financial hardship for the airlines, which have been reeling from a slowing economy. The volume of mail carried on U.S. airlines between January and September dropped 42 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the Air Transport Association, a Washington trade group representing the airlines and freight companies. Much of the decline is attributed to the 16-ounce limit, which doesn't apply to FedEx Corp. and other non-passenger carriers."
December 3, 2002 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that:
December 3, 2002 -- A new study indicates that e-mail addresses are changed at the rate of 31 percent annually, causing 53 percent of those consumers to lose touch with personal and professional contacts, as well as preferred Web sites. The survey, conducted by research firm NFO WorldGroup, identified that half of all Web site relationships are lost, on average, due to e-mail address changes. Return Path Inc., the leading provider of e-mail change of address services, and Global Name Registry, license operator of the .name top-level domain, commissioned the study. According to the study, e-mail address turnover is driven by ISP switching, job changes and consumer efforts to avoid SPAM. Loss of contact with valued Web sites and e-newsletters occurs most often. And, the survey revealed that young adults (53 percent) are significantly more likely to lose these contacts than older individuals (42 percent)."
December 3, 2002 -- The Business Standard (India) has reported that "the [Indian] ministry of communications has rejected the proposal made by the Expenditure Reforms Commission to corporatise the postal department and decentralise tariff fixing powers for postal services. The commission had suggested that it could be included in the Indian Post Office (Amendment) Bill, 2002, which was proposed to replace the Indian Post Office Act, 1898. Ministry sources said the proposal to corporatise the postal department would not be feasible since postal services were heavily subsidised by the government."
December 3, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that "U.S. Postal Service deposits totaling $65 billion a year are vulnerable to theft, robbery and mishandling because of inadequate security and failure to follow procedures, according to a report to Congress Tuesday. About $6.3 million was at least temporarily lost in the 2001 fiscal year, although much of it was recovered, the General Accounting Office said in its report on an investigation of postal security requested by Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz. Postal Service Chief Operating Officer Patrick Donahoe said in a letter responding to the GAO that a plan stressing employee accountability and adherence to security provisions has been developed."
December 3, 2002 -- AFX has reported that "preparations for the privatisation of the Austrian postal service are underway and a strategic partner is being sought, the state holding company OeIAG, the owner of the service, said. 'The search for a strategic partner for the Austrian post is part of the mandate of OeIAG,' said Viktoria Kickinger, a spokeswoman for the publicly held company. Her comments followed a report today in the Vienna daily Der Standard that quoted an OeIAG board member as saying the Austrian government had no mandate to privatise its state postal monopoly, the Oesterreichische Post, despite media reports that Deutsche Post has been in talks to take a 75 pct stake. Der Standard said a sale of the Austrian postal service to Deutsche Post would also meet with tremendous opposition from domestic trade unions." See also the report by Dow Jones.
December 3, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that "Deutsche Post AG has completed the purchase of the 24.4 percent of express delivery service DHL International that it didn't already own -- a move that cost more than 400 million euros ($396 million). The acquisition comes as Deutsche Post, active in the mail, parcels, logistics and financial services businesses, begins a reorganization centering on the Brussels-based express delivery firm. Deutsche Post said in a statement that it bought a joint 23 percent stake in DHL held by Chester Investment and Exeter Investment and another 1.4 percent held by Japan Airlines Systems Corp."
December 3, 2002 -- BBC News has reported that "Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton has told a panel of MPs that a planned stamp price freeze will delay the postal service's financial recovery. Mr Leighton told the House of Commons trade and industry select committee that the proposals would cut the Royal Mail's revenues by œ460m over three years, jeopardising its plans to return to profit by 2006."
December 3, 2002 -- Stamps.com has launched a new version of its software with enhanced shipping functionality, in time for the busy holiday shipping season. The new Stamps.com Version 3.0 promises to make sending packages a simple and convenient process for holiday shippers by allowing them to print complete shipping labels with postage using only regular 8 1/2" x 11" paper, thus eliminating the need for special labels. Customers can also add electronic Delivery Confirmation(TM) or Signature Confirmation(TM) to the shipping label without the need for special forms, and at a discount to regular U.S. Postal Service retail rates."
December 3, 2002 -- E-Wire has reported that Weston Solutions(SM), Inc. Has been selected to receive two new United States Postal Service (USPS) Environmental Services Contracts with a combined worth up to $10 million. Services will encompass hazardous and solid waste management, environmental assessments to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), environmental site assessments associated with real property transactions, floodplain and wetland studies, air quality consulting, and other services required to meet the USPS's environmental mission."
December 3, 2002 -- The Washington Post has reported that "while saying it is 'deeply troubled' by the tragic consequences of last year's fatal anthrax attacks, the U.S. Postal Service has rejected a damage claim filed by an injured Brentwood Road postal center employee and left the door open for a lawsuit against the agency."
December 3, 2002 -- Ananova has reported that "the chairman of Royal Mail has launched a fresh attack on the industry's regulator, claiming that it's threatening the future of the postal service. Allan Leighton says the business is running out of time to put in place a recovery plan, blaming constraints from Postcomm. Mr Leighton says it's now nine months since the Royal Mail submitted plans to raise stamp prices by 1p as part of its plan to tackle losses which are still running at more than œ1 million a day."
December 3, 2002 -- According to AFX, "the Austrian government has no mandate to privatise its state postal monopoly, the Oesterreichische Post, despite media reports Deutsche Post AG has been in talks to take a 75 pct stake, the Vienna daily Der Standard reported, citing a board member of Austria's state holdings company."
December 3, 2002 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that:
December 3, 2002 -- The Times (U.K.) has reported that "sub-postmasters have taken their three-year fight to be paid the national minimum wage to the Court of Appeal. The Inland Revenue has also joined the test case brought against Royal Mail. Failure by Royal Mail to win the case could spark a deluge of claims from 16,000 sub-postmasters seeking the minimum wage and benefits under the Working Time Directive, including holidays."
December 3, 2002 -- Reuters has reported that "Britain's loss-making Royal Mail said on Tuesday it would tell legislators a possible three-year freeze on postal charges would destroy its financial recovery and must be replaced by price rise guarantees. The state-owned company will tell a parliamentary committee proposals by the UK postal regulator for a price cap on stamps would wipe out 460 million pounds ($716.4 million) in revenue and end its plans to return to profit by early 2006."
December 3, 2002 -- The Daily Star has reported that "LibanPost, the national postal service of Lebanon, is neither trusted by the public nor profitable according to its chairman Khalil Daoud. In an extensive interview conducted before last month's news that former shareholders Lebanon Invest had sold their stake in the business to local telecommunications group Investcom, Daoud said the problem was not with the service LibanPost provided but with government bureaucracy and the difficulty in creating a mail culture in a country where for decades there has been none."
December 3, 2002 -- CNET News has reported that "consumers are shaking off economic woes and heading to the Net this holiday season, with a new report saying online shopping is up as much as 30 percent. The Friday after Thanksgiving traditionally marks the kickoff to the holiday shopping season, and this year shoppers went online as well as to the mall, with Internet shopping traffic rising 18 percent Friday compared with the rest of last week, according to Internet measurement firm Nielsen/NetRatings. Consumers spent around $195 million online on Friday alone, according to ComScore Networks, an Internet measurement firm. That number is up around 30 percent from a year ago, with the bulk of the increase coming from nontravel-related sales, according to ComScore." Let's hope the same's in store for mail.
December 3, 2002 -- AMBER Alerts designed to quickly spread the word about missing and kidnapped children are finding their way onto the displays of PCs, pagers, and cell phones of anyone who signs up for the free service through America Online. The program is officially called America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, and was named after murdered nine-year-old Amber Hagerman of Texas. Law enforcement transmits AMBER Alerts to television, cable, and radio stations using the Emergency Broadcast System. There are currently 74 states, counties, and cities with AMBER Alert plans in place. AOL announced the inaugural online implementation of AMBER Alerts in October, and launched the service Thursday. The online service will send the timely information to anyone, AOL customer or not. More than 70,000 people have already registered since AOL began accepting sign-ups in October. Kudos to PostCom member AOL for providing this vital service.
December 3, 2002 -- GovExec.Com has reported that "Postal Service officials say the Bush administration may be about to end months of speculation by naming a presidential commission to study the agency's tenuous future. An announcement could come as early as Dec. 4, according to agency sources. Another date being floated is Dec. 10. The Postal Service's largest labor union the American Postal Workers Union opposes a commission."
December 3, 2002 -- The Associated Press has reported that:
December 3, 2002 -- The Communication Managers Association (U.K.) section of Amicus, the union representing 14000 postal managers and professionals, said in a submission that the price control proposals of U.K. postal services regulator Postcomm would threaten 10,000 jobs and strangle the company [Royal Mail] during its 3 year recovery period.
December 3, 2002 -- According to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, "FedEx Ground is more than pulling its weight."
December 3, 2002 -- According to The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, British "rural post offices in Huddersfield are due to get their share of a œ36m county-wide aid package to help them stay open. But subpostmasters say the deal will not lift post offices off the poverty line."
December 3, 2002 -- A copy of the "Report From The Commission To The European Parliament And The Council on the application of the Postal Directive" has been posted on the PostInsight web site.
December 2, 2002 -- According to SinoCast, "Li Pizheng, general director of Information Technology Bureau of China Post, made a statement in the Conference of China Internet on November 25 that e-post has becomes the new economic leverage for informationization of China Post. The sale of logistics is expected to be RMB1.5 billion. Li also said E-post is the integration of E-business, postal logistics, capital and information flow. It consists of many value-added services such as cyber supermarket, information services, e-mail, payment online and deposit payment etc. The informationization reforms the traditional post with new technology, explores new business channels for the development of China Post. Now, e-post sales are increasing rapidly."
December 2, 2002 -- Ireland Online has reported that Irish "postal services are expected to operate normally this Christmas after the Irish Postmaster's Union voted in favour of adopting the latest package aimed at ending the dispute with An Post. The union voted overwhelmingly for the measures to wrap up the dispute."
December 2, 2002 -- Ananova (U.K.) has reported that "unelected trade lawyers at the World Trade Organisation have been given control of significant parts of UK services, according to a new report. The document by international trade campaigners the World Development Movement says the change has happened without any public or Parliamentary debate. It is a study of the UK's commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), a far reaching, controversial and little understood free trade agreement currently being renegotiated at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva. Sectors currently being targeted in Gats negotiations for further opening to the free market include postal services, broadcasting and communications, care homes, healthcare and education. The new rules will govern the extent and nature of the involvement of foreign companies in the delivery of services and places strict limits on the ability of governments to regulate the market in service sectors."
December 2, 2002 -- The Polish News Bulletin has reported that "the EU is not in favour of the Polish proposal to postpone the liberalisation of the postal services market until the end of 2006. The good results of the Polish state monopolist make a transitory period unnecessary, according to EU diplomats. Starting on 1 January 2003, services for successively lighter parcels will be liberalised, so that in three years the market for all parcels over 50 grammes will be open to competition."
December 2, 2002 -- The Financial Times has reported that British "opposition parties yesterday accused the government of failing to address the problems besetting rural post offices, claiming ministers were buying time through a œ450m state fund to support the network that will be launched on Monday."
December 2, 2002 -- The National Association of Major Mail Users (Canada) has reported that "substantially greater than 50 percent of Canadian movers purchasing the Canada Post change of address notification and redirection service are opting out of mailer notification. The new wording in the 'Smart Moves' booklet since late summer caused the statistics to rise dramatically in September. Canada Post recently confirmed what business users of the NCOA service were already experiencing: the rate climbed even higher in October."
December 2, 2002 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton is heading for a showdown with regulators over calls to break up the postal service as part of plans to increase market competition."
December 2, 2002 -- The Times (U.K.) has reported that "Adam Crozier, the former chief executive of the Football Association who resigned after a bust-up with football club chairmen, is thought to be a candidate to run Royal Mail. Allan Leighton, the Royal Mail chairman who is also a non-executive director of Leeds United, is expected to make a decision on the position in the next few days. Four candidates are on his list, though Mr Leighton yesterday declined to comment on whether Mr Crozier was one of them."
December 2, 2002 -- The East Anglian Daily Times (U.K.) has reported that "hundreds of post offices in East Anglia are still under threat of closure despite today being offered a Government lifeline. One Suffolk sub-postmaster said he was concerned the cash was just "delaying the death sentence" for hundreds of rural post offices. And Jon Richardson regional secretary of the Federation of Sub-postmasters said the money sounded big but did not amount to much over three years. Ministers are due to unveil œ48million plans to secure the future of 1,000 rural post offices across the region and enable them to keep providing services."
December 1, 2002 -- According to the Business Times Asia, "Singapore Telecom's plan to divest non-core assets Singapore Post and SingTel Yellow Pages won't be a simple asset sale. Potential buyers will have to be approved by the Infocomm Development Authority because ownership of the licences for the two units is not transferable."
December 1, 2002 -- The Irish Times has reported that "An Post [the Irish post office] will pay a levy set at 0.25 per cent of its annual turnover to cover the cost of regulating the postal sector."
December 1, 2002 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that "opposition parties yesterday accused the government of failing to address the problems besetting rural post offices, claiming ministers were buying time through a œ450m state fund to support the network that will be launched on Monday."
December 1, 2002 -- The Telegraph (U.K.) has reported that "Postcomm, the postal services regulator, is to investigate breaking up Royal Mail as part of a drive to increase competition in the market. Delivering the goods: post chiefs are railing against separating services The review, planned for next year, could result in the separation of the postal delivery network, including all postmen, from the rest of the group. It may prompt the resignation of Allan Leighton, the man brought in by the Government to revive the fortunes of the loss-making company. Royal Mail insiders say that the investigation itself could prove the final straw for Leighton, whose relationship with the regulator has become increasingly strained. The pressure to break up Royal Mail comes from Postwatch, the consumer group. Under their proposals, the delivery "pipeline" of postmen, vans, delivery offices and sorting centres would be owned by a separate company, with its own accounts and management. It would sell its services to the marketing arm of Royal Mail and rival delivery businesses."
December 1, 2002 -- The South Florida Sun Sentinel has reported that "a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, in partnership with the National League of Cities, says postal mail and phone calls carry more weight with local elected officials. The authors also concluded that those in smaller towns were less likely to do business by e-mail. 'There's a perception that e-mail doesn't take much effort,' said Elena Larsen, a research fellow who conducted the October study. 'Whereas sitting down and writing a letter or making a phone call really shows a much stronger inclination to get your message heard.'"