Postal News from December 2003
December 31, 2003 -- The BBC (U.K.) has reported that "parcels sent from Italy's Bologna region to European Union institutions are being blocked after a spate of letter bombs, officials have announced. Four devices have been posted from Bologna in the past week by suspected anarchists. Post offices will now halt all packets addressed to EU bodies/"
December 31, 2003 -- The U.S. Postal Service has informed PostCom that while "we previously announced that the new Mail Evaluation Readability Lookup INstrument (MERLIN) address accuracy barcode digit string analysis verification would be implemented on January 1, 2004. In consideration of the holiday period, we have decided to extend the implementation date to January 17, 2004. This extension will give mailers additional time to assess their address matching process and identify situations where any of these errors may occur. Business mail entry units are being instructed to provide the address accuracy digit string results to mailers as a diagnostic tool to assist them with investigating and correcting problems prior to implementation."
December 31, 2003 -- According to the Chattanoga Free Times Press, "some lawmakers and nonprofit advocates want to tighten a new postal regulation on direct-mail fund-raisers that allows private solicitation firms to make more money than the charity groups that hire them."
December 31, 2003 -- CNET News has reported that "buying business services company Kinko will help FedEx's move into the electronic delivery of documents."
December 31, 2003 -- And here's more on the Fedex-Kinko's deal: SmartMoney.com and the New York Times.
December 31, 2003 -- The Jamaica Observer has reported that "the Jamaican Postal Corporation has acquired a friendlier face to go with its improved efficiency."
December 31, 2003 -- A copy of the Congressional Research Service report on The DHL Airways/Astar Air Cargo Controversy and Legislation in the 108th Congress has been posted on this site.
December 30, 2003 -- According to DMNews postal commentator Cary Baer, "the postal service announcement canceling the next forum was right on the mark. The USPS needs to take a fresh look and develop an updated mission and strategy for the forum."
December 30, 2003 -- FedEx Corporation and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Inc. have jointly announced an agreement for FedEx to acquire Kinko's for $2.4 billion, payable in cash. The transaction is not expected to have a material impact on fiscal 2004 results but is expected to be accretive to earnings in fiscal 2005, which begins June 1, 2004. By now, the Postal Service should begin feeling that its retail postal and small package business is, as Paul Simon might have put it, "Slip, slidin' away. Slip, slidin' away. You know the nearer your 'transformation' the more it's slip, slidin' away."
December 30, 2003 -- AFX Asia has reported that "the Japanese business daily said Japanese consumers apparently went on a shopping spree at overseas mail-order businesses in October, with Japan Post handling 178,000 incoming international parcels, up 5.5 pct from a year earlier. And at US-based FedEx Corp, deliveries of international parcels bound for Japan have been running more than 10 pct above year-earlier levels since October, the report said."
December 30, 2003 -- According to the New York Post, "the U.S. Postal Service on Jan. 20 will formally unveil a first-class postage stamp, the latest in its Black Heritage series, honoring Paul Robeson, the renowned actor-singer-orator-activist - and unapologetic Stalinist."
December 30, 2003 -- The Daily Star (Bangladesh) has reported that "The central bank is going to ban money transfer through courier services following questions about the legality of such transactions and allegations of their misuse for hundi business. Bangladesh Bank (BB) will announce the measure as soon as it receives a directive to this end from the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, a central bank official said. Criticising the move, President of Courier Service Association of Bangladesh (CSAB) Imamul Kabir Shanto said, 'This will not be the right thing to do. If necessary, Bangladesh Bank may impose a limit on the level of money transfer for the courier services.'"
December 30, 2003 -- According to the Alaska Journal of Commerce, "Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is positioned for growth in 2004 and beyond. On the cargo side, the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill recently signed by the president should benefit Anchorage and Alaska. It expands cargo transfer opportunities and increases FAA funding for cargo airports. Finally, the intrastate market between Fairbanks and the Bush in 2004 will be a real jumble as new postal service rules on bypass mail take effect."
December 30, 2003 -- The Miami Herald has reported that "Curacao's governing party leader has been convicted of fraud, embezzlement and corruption charges and a judge sentenced him to a year in prison. Anthony Godett, leader of the Workers Liberation Front, will serve only nine months of the sentence on the condition that he doesn't commit a crime in the two years after his release. Godett was also convicted of receiving $112,000 in bribes for helping give a contract to the company of a fellow party member during privatization of the postal service last year."
December 30, 2003 -- The Sunday Mercury (U.K.) has reported that "the British Post Office has launched a pounds 10 million campaign to increase revenue by developing new financial services, expanding its banking arm and revamping branches. The biggest-ever drive to win new customers will include a return to TV advertising for the first time in two years -and follows bitterly-contested branch closures."
December 30, 2003 -- Suddeutsche Zeitung has reported that "the management of Deutsche Post, the German postal service operator, has stressed that financial services will remain a core area of business following the company's stock market flotation, planned for the autumn of the coming year. The company intends to retain its majority stake in Deutsche Postbank, its banking subsidiary, for some years following the IPO."
December 30, 2003 -- The U.S. Postal Service has issued a new version of the Priority Mail Flat Rate envelope in Washington, D.C., featuring the $3.85 Jefferson Memorial stamp image printed directly on the envelope. The prepaid envelope gives mailers a more convenient way to use Priority Mail.
December 30, 2003 -- Reuters has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service can collect $39,492.56 in clean-up costs from a man who sent letters claiming to contain deadly anthrax even though the powder in them was harmless, a federal appeals court ruled on Monday. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's restitution order against Jacob De La Fuente, who argued he had not threatened a violent crime when in October 2001 he mailed letters with white powder to an ex-girlfriend and a former boss."
December 30, 2003 -- Ha'aretz (Israel) has reported that "every worker at the Israeli Postal Authority will receive a one-time bonus of NIS 12,000 and a promotion that includes an average wage increase of NIS 600, according to an agreement reached in recent weeks between the Postal Authority. Both the Finance and Communications ministries are aware of the draft agreement. The bonuses and promotions are part of the deal to entice the workers to accept the change in status of the Postal Authority from a government authority to a state-owned company. This is generally regarded as the first stage in privatization."
December 29, 2003 -- The Associated Press has reported that "police stopped a suspected suspicious letter Monday addressed to the head of the European Central Bank. It was postmarked Bologna, Italy, where the European Union Commission president received a letter bomb over the weekend."
December 29, 2003 -- PostInsight has posted on its web site a copy of a paper entitled "The Potential Welfare Benefits From Two-Part Tariffs for Bulk Mailers," which was given by by Edward S. Pearsall at the IDEI Conference on "Regulation, Competition, and Universal Service in the Postal Sector" in Toulouse (France), November 13-14, 2003."
December 29, 2003 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "the Pentagon paid commercial airlines and air-cargo carriers about $2.4 billion to haul troops and equipment to Iraq and Afghanistan in fiscal 2003, giving the carriers a much-needed boost in what has been a difficult year for the airline industry. The biggest beneficiary of the Pentagon program was Indianapolis-based ATA Airlines, owned by Indianapolis-based ATA Holdings Corp. Currently German Deutsche Post AG's DHL Worldwide Express air-cargo carrier flies regular flights into Baghdad, but its planes carry only supplies for civilian contractors and relief organizations operating inside Iraq."
December 29, 2003 -- According to Handelsblatt, "Deutsche Post, the German postal service, has confirmed its profit forecast for 2003. The company expects to achieve an ebita of at least 2.9bn euros. This is almost as high as for last year, despite a drop of 300m euros resulting from a reduction in postage imposed by the regulatory authority."
December 29, 2003 -- The agenda for the January meeting of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors has been posted on the Postal Service's RIBBS web site.
December 29, 2003 -- The Financial Express (India) has reported that "the ministry of communications and information technology has signed an agreement with Bhutan Post and Bhutan Telecom, to boost the delivery of e-services in Bhutan with a package of equipment, satellite capacity and training resources worth over $400,000. Telecommunication Con-sultants India Ltd (TCIL), the government-owned project consultancy and management company, will be the implementing body of the project. It will provide instant connectivity to six remote post offices to Bhutan's 'E-Shabtog venture' that are not connected by the national fixed telecommunication network. The E-Shabtog project is an initiative involving two UN agencies, the International Telecommunication Union and the Universal Postal Union (UPU)."
December 29, 2003 -- Asia Pulse has reported that "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Thursday called on the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy (CEFP) to begin full-fledged discussions early next year concerning the privatization of the three postal services."
December 28, 2003 -- As Traffic World has noted, "shippers have too many choices when it comes to information transmission. They don't want to be force-fed a way to do business but they do want one XML standard for logistics and technology and better integration among systems. Today shippers track shipments via electronic data interchange, XML, faxes, phones, flat files, e-mail and possibly even snail mail. The fastest and most often touted choice is the Internet, specifically XML."
December 28, 2003 -- The Sun Journal has reported that "closing a post office is political poison. No politician would favor closing a facility in his or her district if it could be avoided. There are other options, and they should be explored before any buildings are shuttered. But, it appears, some closures are inevitable. The task remains to develop a fair system for spreading the pain around and preventing powerful members of Congress from protecting their own post offices while sacrificing others. A commission, similar to the one used to decide which military bases should be closed, could depoliticize the process, especially if Congress is given only an up-or-down vote on the list with no chance for horse-trading and amendments."
December 28, 2003 -- The Independent (U.K.) has reported that "the executive in charge of the wholesale division of Royal Mail has quit, only days after a ground-breaking deal was struck with its rival, Business Post. Adam Novak, head of the business that sells Royal Mail's services to other postal groups, left his job just before Christmas. The division is crucial to the future of Royal Mail, which has warned that it could lose up to £650m a year as a result of competition in its core markets."
December 28, 2003 -- As the Boston Globe has noted, when you decide to insure that package, you'd better know what you're buying.
December 27, 2003 -- PostCom has been told that the U.S. Postal Service has pushed back the date for its next round implementation of MERLIN until January 17, 2004.
December 27, 2003 -- The Associated Press has reported that "President Bush went around Congress on Friday and installed 12 people to government panels after their nominations stalled in the Senate. The nominations had languished in the Senate for periods ranging from six weeks to 22 months. By approving them during the congressional recess, Bush bypassed the Senate confirmation process. Such appointments are valid until the next Congress takes office, in this case in January 2005. The appointments included Albert Casey of Texas, to be a governor of the U.S. Postal Service. Bush initially nominated Casey on March 4, 2002."
December 26, 2003 -- The Kyodo News Service has reported that "Japan Post and its labor union has agreed to introduce a performance-based wage and personnel affairs system for its 270,000 employees, starting next April, officials at the government-backed postal service provider said. The new system, designed to reflect employees' performances and abilities on wages and bonuses, is to motivate workers and improve services for customers so as to prop up the loss-making mail delivery business, they said.
December 26, 2003 -- The Sun Star (Philippines) has reported that "sending Christmas cards to friends and loved ones in other parts of the country or abroad through what is known as the "snail mail" has become less popular these days. Aside from the decrease in the volume of personal and business letters sent during the rest of the year, the Philippine Postal Corp. (Philpost) 7 noted a decrease in the number of mails sent even during the Christmas holidays, which was previously considered the peak season."
December 24, 2003 -- American Shipper has reported that "shipping industry executives aren't the only ones weighing in on the recent United Parcel Service petition to the Federal Maritime Commission. It seems there's a lot of interest in the petition from the country's lawmakers, a definite sign Big Brown has knocked on doors on Capitol Hill."
December 24, 2003 -- According to Traffic World, "along with the New Year comes what carriers say is one of the biggest changes since the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 largely deregulated the industry. Drivers will operate in a 14-hour continuous workday, down one hour from the old rules that were in place since the 1930s. Although drivers will be allowed one additional driving hour (to 11), those previous "free" hours that drivers spent idling at shipper and consignee waiting docks will no longer be free. In fact, they will be counted as on-duty time. Trucking costs may rise anywhere from 2 to 19 percent, depending on shippers' freight characteristics, lane, length of haul, time of day and even day of the week."
December 24, 2003 -- According to Defense Daily, "SurfControl has been tapped by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Navy Medical Information Management Center (NMIMC) to provide SurfControl Web Filter. The company also announced that four large federal agencies have expanded their current contracts for Web or e-mail filtering, including the Defense Logistics Agency's Supply Center in Philadelphia, the Veteran's Administration, the U.S. Postal Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."
December 24, 2003 -- XATA Corporation has announced that the United States Postal Service (USPS) has exclusively specified XATA's OpCenter(R) system in its 2004 cargo van purchase. The purchase was approved by the USPS Board of Governors in November 2003 and includes an estimated 1,800 XATA systems. XATA has received the initial order from Freightliner LLC, a DaimlerChrysler Company, for 250 systems. XATA expects to deliver these systems throughout 2004.
December 24, 2003 -- It is with regret that we must announce that National Association of Postal Supervisors former National President Rubin Handelman died suddenly on December 19. Ruby served as NAPS National Secretary from 1980 - 1984, National Executive Vice-President from 1984 - 1986, and National President from 1986 - 1994. He was widely admired for his leadership and amiable way of encouraging and working with people throughout the postal world.
December 23, 2003 -- Adweek has reported that "the Martin Agency's latest image spots for UPS break nationally Dec. 26 and offer examples of how the company can help executives, shipping managers, small businesses and front-office personnel."
December 23, 2003 -- Mail, express and logistics company TPG N.V., through its subsidiary TPG Post B.V. has acquired a 60% majority share in Prime Vision B.V. from TNO Beheer B.V. Prime Vision is a globally operating company based in Delft, the Netherlands, which specialises in the development, production, marketing and sales of pattern and character recognition products.
December 23, 2003 -- According to the Federal Times, "about 2,500 more postal workers will be able to retire early under a new agreement between the U.S. Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union. The Postal Service had restricted early retirements to clerks, maintenance workers and drivers under Level 5. The APWU said that the contract extension signed in December 2002 was meant to allow all postal workers to retire early."
December 23, 2003 -- RealMarket.com has reported that "Group 1 Software announced that the United States Patent Office has issued two new patents to the company. The patents are components of the company's data integration technology, called Sagent Data Flow, for which Group 1 already holds an array of patents. These technologies are essential components of enterprise applications including customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and business intelligence systems."
December 23, 2003 -- According to European sources, the "European Parliament rejected on December 16 the report by Olle Schmodt (ELDR, Sweden) on the European Commissions proposal aimed at ending the exemption of postal services from VAT."
December 23, 2003 -- CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal) has reported that:
Don't be satisfied with a less than complete report on the courier, express, and postal market in Europe. Get your subscription to CEP News, today..
December 23, 2003 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "United Parcel Service and FedEx Corp. urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to overrule a recommendation by its own administrative law judge that Astar Air Cargo be allowed to operate as a U.S.-licensed airline. The two big express carriers contended that Astar is controlled by DHL International and its corporate parent, Deutsche Post World Net, and does not meet requirements that domestic airlines by majority-owned by U.S. citizens."
December 23, 2003 -- Reuters has reported that "mail metering company Pitney Bowes Inc. and Web postage service Stamps.com Inc. have settled four years of litigation over technology patents for buying and printing postage via the Internet. The companies said the settlement includes a five-year patent cross-licensing agreement. Pitney's patent licenses may be used in all metering applications, and Stamps.com's patent licenses may be used in 'non-traditional' metering applications, such as Internet postage."
December 22, 2003 -- The Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation (IRET) has published a paper that "offers a checklist of some of the features to look for in future legislative proposals aimed at reforming the U.S. Postal Service. The checklist is organized under four headings: cost management, rate regulation, core versus non-core products, and transparency." According to IRET, "this checklist can help distinguish between legislative proposals that would be better than current law and those that would be worse."
December 22, 2003 -- Expansion has reported that "in 2001 Correos, the Spanish post office, launched a plan to automate its processes. The plan, which concludes at the end of next year, involves an investment of 310m euros, the construction of eleven totally automated sorting offices and the upgrading of another six. Jose Antonio Canadas, head of the postal division of the group, says that in 2006 90 per cent of post processed in Spain will be managed in a completely automated fashion. This compares with 16 per cent only three years ago."
December 22, 2003 -- Mail, express and logistics company, TPG N.V., through its subsidiary TPG Post Holdings (Deutschland) GmbH in Germany, has today purchased the remaining 49% of shares in Olaf Jepsen GmbH (Jepsen). TPG Post had already acquired 51% of the shares in 1998. Jepsen, which generated revenues of around EUR 29 million in 2002, is a key part of the total TPG Post unaddressed mail network in Germany. The company delivers 956 million items such as leaflets and newspapers each year."
December 22, 2003 -- ChannelNewsAsia has reported that "SingPost (Singapore) is revising postal rates for the first time in eight years in the wake of the government's twin hikes in goods and services tax. SingPost says that from 3 February 2004, the cost of sending a standard letter of up to 20 grammes will go up 1 cent to 23 cents. For letters weighing 40 grammes, the price will be raised by the same amount to 31 cents."
December 22, 2003 -- The Washington Post has reported that "when about 100 U.S. Postal Service employees report to work today, they'll find that the facility on Brentwood Road NE has a new name: The Joseph Curseen Jr. and Thomas Morris Jr. Processing and Distribution Center, in memory of the two postal workers who died after being exposed to letters laced with anthrax spores and bound for Capitol Hill."
December 22, 2003 -- Transport Intelligence has reported that "TPG, the Dutch postal, express and logistics organisation, has announced the departure of Alan Jones, Group Managing Director of TNT Express. In his place the company has appointed Marie-Christine Lombard who presently heads up TNT in France. The announcement will come as a shock to many throughout the express and logistics industry. For a number of years Jones headed up TNT in the UK and he is widely credited with being one of the architects of the European express industry in its present form."
December 22, 2003 -- The U.S. Postal Service will begin checking the accuracy of barcodes on high volume mailings beginning January 1. By verifying that such mailings are eligible for automation rates, the organization can make certain that the high quality of mail accepted at discount postage rates is maintained. MERLIN (Mail Evaluation Readability Lookup INstrument) is the equipment used to verify bulk mailings at Postal Service mail acceptance units. MERLIN will begin to detect such errors as ZIP Codes with 0000 or 9999 in the ZIP+4 portion of the mailing address. It will also identify sequential strings of numbers in the last six digits of the ZIP Code which would indicate an address programming error. Mailings with an error rate of more than one percent will not be eligible for automation discounts.
December 21, 2003 -- China View has reported that "the Chinese mainland will take more active and practical measures to realize the 'direct link' in post and telecommunications across the Taiwan Straits, said an official with the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) Sunday. These are part of the measures to realize the "Three Direct Links" in mail, transport and trade so as to boost cross-Straits cooperation and reunify the country at an early date, said the official of the ministry's Hong Kong-Macao-Taiwan affairs office. Thanks to efforts made by departments on both sides, some cross-Straits postal and telecommunications businesses had been launched. Last year, mail sent between the two sides totaled 9.83 milliontons, 320 percent higher than 1989."
December 21, 2003 -- According to Traffic World, "air freight industry officials expect China to be the holy grail of volume next year as its manufacturing base continues to grow. And they are optimistic about the rest of the continent too."
December 21, 2003 -- According to The Guardian (U.K.):
December 21, 2003 -- Reports from the first two postal accounting periods (using the new monthly system) have been posted on the Postal Service web site.
December 21, 2003 -- AMEInfo has reported that "Sultan Abdulrahman Hamad Al Midfa has been appointed as Deputy General Manager of Empost, the UAE's National Courier Company."
December 20, 2003 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "collector interest in rare stamps is on the rise as consumers seek investment alternatives. Demand is particularly strong in the U.K., philatelic specialists say. 'People here are fed up with stocks; and their pensions are down. So they have latched on to stamps,' says Richard Purkis, secretary at Stanley Gibbons of London, Europe's oldest stamp dealer, founded by Edward Stanley Gibbons during 1856, not long after the world's first stamp was produced in England during 1840. Stamp auctions were attended extremely well during 2003, with very competitive bidding for major items, Mr. Purkis says. During the first half, Stanley Gibbons added more than 4,000 customers and clients continued to join during the second half. He says 'the outlook for stamps will remain robust.'"
December 20, 2003 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Astar Air Cargo Inc. and Deutsche Post AG scored a major victory in their long-running legal fight with shipping giants United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp., as a federal judge ruled that Astar meets the citizenship rules required of U.S. airlines. The ruling is the latest setback in efforts by UPS and FedEx to stymie the U.S. ambitions of Deutsche Post, which UPS and FedEx contend illegally controls Astar, partly because it generates almost all of the airline's revenue. Officials at Astar contend that the carrier is completely independent, and that the two U.S.-based delivery giants are simply trying to quash competition on their home turf." See also the Journal of Commerce, Reuters, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press. A copy of the ALJ's decision is available on this site. (This is a 2.8 meg file!)
December 20, 2003 -- In response the development noted above, "UPS expressed its disappointment with an administrative law judge's recommendation that ASTAR Air Cargo be allowed to operate as a U.S.-licensed airline. 'We disagree with this decision, but understand that the Department of Transportation will now review the matter,' said David Bolger, a UPS spokesman. 'We urge a careful analysis. DHL is owned and controlled by the German government, which relies on the German postal monopoly to underwrite its competition with private industry. We continue to believe that DHL also controls ASTAR, in violation of U.S. law.'"
December 20, 2003 -- According to Les Echos (France), "yesterday the management board of French post office La Poste approved the 2004 budget, which aims for a break-even of the consolidated result excluding tax and exceptional items, even if the parent company registers a deficit. La Poste says that this is in a difficult environment."
December 20, 2003 -- The Nikkei News Agency has reported that "the Japanese Bankers Association has drawn up a proposal for reforming the postal savings scheme, with an eye toward the privatization of postal services."
December 20, 2003 -- The Jersey Evening Post (U.K.) has reported that "postal deliveries are slightly up on last year, despite an increase in the price of stamps and a continued decline in volumes of letters posted. And outward mail volumes are around ten per cent higher than the same period last year. The reason, say Jersey Post, is entirely due to increased volumes of packages being posted from the Island as a result of a growing move to 'online' shopping, and companies basing their fulfilment operations in the Island."
December 20, 2003 -- WYFF- TV has asked: "the U.S. Postal Service, UPS and Federal Express all promise to get your package to it's destination quickly. But which shipping service is fastest? To send a coffee mug, the U.S. Postal Service charged $4.49 for parcel post. Federal Express ground cost $4.94, while UPS ground was the most expensive, at $6.90 per box. The first box to arrive at WYFF was also the cheapest."
December 19, 2003 -- The New York Daily News has reported that "a FedEx cargo jet veered off a runway and caught fire while landing at the Memphis airport yesterday. The MD-10, a widebody cargo jet, was arriving on a flight from Oakland, Calif., when the accident happened. The flames were extinguished but television images showed the fuselage partially burned and blackened with smoke. The two crew members and five employees on board exited the aircraft safely, FedEx spokesman Ed Coleman said. The cause of the fire was not immediately known. It also wasn't clear whether the jet's cargo was damaged."
December 19, 2003 -- The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has reported that "Australia Post and Qantas are set to go on the road together. The two companies have been successful with a joint bid to buy the express road freight operator Star Track Express. Qantas says the acquisition is consistent with its strategy of expanding its non-airline businesses. Through a 50-50 jointly owned company, Qantas and Australia Post are paying $750 million for Star Track Express. Star Track Express was founded in 1974 and employs more than 2,400 people around Australia."
December 19, 2003 -- The Anchorage Daily News has reported that "government watchdog groups criticized Sen. Ted Stevens on Thursday after a newspaper report that the Senate's senior Republican had grown wealthy from investments with people who benefited from legislation he helped write. The conservative Citizens Against Government Waste said the Alaskan should resign as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the group sought an investigation by the Senate ethics committee. The organization frequently has criticized Stevens for steering billions of federal dollars to his home state."
At the same time, the Anchorage Press has reported that "smaller developers have griped that [other developers] appear to have benefited from bids on federal projects because Stevens is on their side. None of the critics cared to comment for the record and none offered anything more than their suspicions. The accusations have been called 'nonsense' since none of the investments had 'anything to do with government stuff.'
December 19, 2003 -- DMNews has reported that:
December 19, 2003 -- The Washington Post has reported that "in a subtle shift of marketing tactics, some retailers have stepped up coupon offers directed at their most loyal customers in a bid to attract repeat visits from big spenders during the holiday selling season. The coupons are not the type clipped from newspaper circulars -- though there are plenty of those to go around. They're the ones crammed into mailboxes or handed out with a purchase. Eager to wean themselves from discounts for the masses, retailers hope more targeted coupons will limit big bargains to a pool of their best customers."
December 19, 2003 -- TMCNet.com has reported that "Altitude Software, a specialist in contact center solutions, has announced that La Poste Tunisienne, the Tunisian postal service, has implemented Altitude Software's contact center suite to provide an enhanced level of service to its customers. The Altitude uCI suite is a Customer Interaction Management (CIM) solution that provides a full blended support for voice (inbound and outbound), IVR, email, Web collaboration and chat."
December 18, 2003 -- Reuters has reported that "state-owned Royal Mail says it is talking to the postal industry's regulator Postcomm about restructuring postage charges along the lines of size as well as weight. The firm also said on Thursday it would raise the price of second-class stamps by a penny to 21 pence from April 1, in line with a price cap introduced by Postcomm this year. A spokesman for Royal Mail said larger or non-standard thickness mail had to be sorted by hand instead of by automated sorting machine, making it more expensive to process. He said the measures, if approved by the regulator, would not come into effect before April 2005."
December 18, 2003 -- The Los Angeles Times claims that "Senator Steven's way to wealth was paved with favors." See also a second story.
December 18, 2003 -- For those who haven't yet had the chance, it might be worth while to take a look at the Postal Service's most recent reports (Quarter IV and Fiscal Year) of revenue, pieces, and weight. It's dismal -- particularly for Quarter IV, e.g., First-Class volume down by 3.2%, Priority Mail down by 10.3%, Express down by 6.9%, Standard at virtually no growth.
December 18, 2003 -- The Evening Times (U.K.) has reported that "the price of a second class stamp is to increase by 1p to 21p next April, the Royal Mail announced today. The move will raise an extra £70million a year for the postal organisation and will help boost its finances as it continues with a renewal plan. The price of a first class stamp will remain at 28p." See also The Telegraph.
December 18, 2003 -- As the Tampa Tribune has noted, "as the U.S. Postal Service maintains its freeze on construction, contract postal units are springing up in storefronts, gas stations and supermarkets across the country. Contract units are the only option for expanding service in growing areas such as New Tampa, and they usually offer more convenient hours of operation than traditional post offices."
December 18, 2003 -- Just-Food.com has reported that "fruitcake has been added to the list of prohibited objects, alongside switchblades, scissors and toy guns when boarding a plane in Montreal, Canada. Yes, the fruit cake is dangerous, not only because of the injuries one might sustain if it were to tumble from a cargo hold and hit one on the head, but also because airport security scanners cannot detect deadly weapons that may be hidden inside of it." Never did like the stuff anyway.
December 18, 2003 -- The Motley Fool has reported that "a voluntary retirement and severance program for its Express division employees ate into FedEx's (NYSE: FDX) quarterly results again. Including realignment costs, FedEx earned $91 million in its second quarter, down 63% from last year's $245 million. Shares are off today about 4% thanks to the company's estimate miss of two cents and concerns over FedEx Ground. The retirement and severance program's been more popular than the Memphis-based company expected, with workers jumping at the chance to leave. On the flipside, increased use of the program now will result in greater cost savings down the road." See also the Wall Street Journal.
December 18, 2003 -- The Singapore Business Times has reported that "Johor's future cargo growth and competition with Singapore can be likened to that of China's booming Pearl River Delta and neighbouring Hong Kong, according to the regional head of the world's largest air express group, FedEx Express."
December 18, 2003 -- Business Times (Malaysia) "POS Malaysia Bhd is studying the possibility of setting up a new courier company that will focus on the Association of South-East Asian Nations region, its chief executive officer Datuk Ikmal Hijaz Hashim said in Kota Baru yesterday. Ikmal added, however, that Pos Malaysia wants to strengthen its position locally before venturing into the region."
December 18, 2003 -- Soooo. What exactly is the "2003 Yearbook of the European CEP Market?" Well, check here and find out.
December 18, 2003 -- The News-Review has reported that "last-minute mailers won't hear the ring of Salvation Army bells as they flock to Salem-area post offices this holiday season. The city's new postmaster, John Lee, banned the fund-raising practice in front of four post offices, citing an ordinance forbidding solicitation on federal property. The new rule has put a dent in the Salvation Army's efforts to raise money for local homeless and low-income families, said Capt. Darren Norton, who had already set out the familiar red kettles when he learned of Lee's decision."
December 18, 2003 -- According to the East Oregonian, "the health of local newborns could be compromised if mail is trucked to Pasco for processing, some health officials in the county contend. The Postal Service is considering moving the processing of mail with area codes starting in 978 from Pendleton to Pasco because the Pendleton facility is too small for the volume of mail the area generates and because it uses outdated equipment. Pasco has new, automated equipment and the capacity to handle mail more efficiently, according to postal officials. But many local officials, including legislators, city councils, chambers and the Eastern Oregon Rural Alliance, are opposing this change because they believe it will mean slower mail delivery, despite assurances by the Postal Service that most customers wouldn't notice the change. Postmaster General John Potter told Sen. Smith this week that he has directed a reevaluation all options concerning the current mail processing operations in Pendleton. The results of the initial study were to be released next month."
December 18, 2003 -- The Tampa Tribune has reported that "as post office lines lengthen, patience wears thin."
December 18, 2003 -- The Independent (U.K.) has reported that:
December 18, 2003 -- The Telegraph (U.K.) has reported that "Royal Mail and Business Post shocked the postal regulator yesterday by agreeing to an eleventh hour deal on access pricing. Business Post, led by chief executive Paul Carvell, has been arguing with Royal Mail for almost two years The companies, which have been wrangling for nearly two years over how much Business Post must pay to access the so-called 'final mile' of Royal Mail's delivery network, announced they had signed heads of terms on the issue. The news came as a surprise to Graham Corbett, the outgoing chairman of postal regulator Postcomm. He had been due to publish a decision on access pricing tomorrow, after the two companies had asked the regulator to mediate on the issue."
December 18, 2003 -- Yahoo! Finance has posted a copy of the latest quarterly financials for UPS.
December 17, 2003 -- As Business Week has noted, "wiring money overseas has been a hugely profitable business. But now, rivals are elbowing in, driving the fees down."
December 17, 2003 -- And from the U.K. Parliament comes the following Early Day Motion from two of its MPs:
That this House is aware of the recent sterling work carried out by the employees and management staff of the Royal Mail which has resulted in the turn around of both of its business interests and financial position; is therefore alarmed that followng these efforts, which have moved the company into surplus profits influenced not least by record Christmas deliveries of mail, an announcement should be made of a review of managerial positions, which could lead to the loss of up to 3,000 jobs and extra pressure on remaining managers; and calls upon the Royal Mail and its Chairman Allan Leighton to consult fully and meaningfully with the recognised trade unions with a view to reaching agreement without resorting to compulsory redundancies whic h ensures there is a sustainable and viable management structure capable of meeting the future needs of Britain's postal service and changing the culture and performance of the organisation.
December 17, 2003 -- The Associated Press has reported that "the FedEx Corp.'s second-quarter profits fell 63 percent from last year because of the costs of a previously announced early retirement and voluntary severance program. Its results missed Wall Street expectations and its shares fell more than 4 percent."
December 17, 2003 -- CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal) has reported that:
Don't be satisfied with a less than complete report on the courier, express, and postal market in Europe. Get your subscription to CEP News, today..
December 17, 2003 -- Handelsblatt (Germany) has reported that "Deutsche Post AG, the German postal service, has lost a legal dispute concerning the brand name used by another logistics company in Germany. The company had objected to the plans of EP Europost, a subsidiary of Dutch postal company TPG Post, which wished to change its name to 'TPG Post Deutschland'. The German office for patents and brand names in Munich has dismissed Deutsche Post's objections. Deutsche Post now plans to appeal against the decision."
December 17, 2003 -- NewsChannel7Online.com has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service is trumpeting this message: If you want your parcels to arrive in time for Christmas, use Priority Mail. What they're not trumpeting is important information about parcels twelve ounces and under."
December 17, 2003 -- The Washington Times has reported that "the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants major package carriers and credit card companies to help it stop importation of prescription drugs."
December 17, 2003 -- According to The Hindu (India), "the existing Post Office Act in this country was promulgated way back in 1898 with the objective of providing the framework for a Central Government monopoly postal services extending across the land. However, the communications scenario has changed vastly since then, what with the advent of radio, telecommunications, satellite and the internet, though a large number of settlements are still accessed by 'dak runners'. Recognising this, the Department of Posts of the Government of India moved the Indian Post Office (Amendment) Bill in 2002. The primary objectives included bringing about qualitative improvement in the services with more consumer-friendly features and tapping the opportunities emerging from the new communications technologies."
December 17, 2003 -- As the Voice of America has noted, "Each year, hundreds of thousands of New York-area children write letters to Mr. Claus, Santa, or St. Nick, the legendary, red-suited gentleman whose mythical home is the North Pole and who is said to drive a reindeer-drawn-sleigh delivering Christmas presents. But the grown-up reality is that most letters end up at the city's central postal facility. The children's letters are sorted by geographic location and language, and are then placed in boxes at the post office in midtown Manhattan. Volunteers are invited to come into the post office, and choose one or more letters to answer."
December 17, 2003 -- Dow Jones has reported:
December 17, 2003 -- Lloyds List has reported that "UK freight train company EWS has launched High Court proceedings against Royal Mail, which is to axe all overnight mail train services."
December 17, 2003 -- Reuters has reported that "Business Post Group says it has signed an outline agreement with Royal Mail, giving it access to the state-owned postal operator's local sorting and final delivery network. The final contract, which the two firms will now work to draw up, will bring over two years of wrangling to a close. The deal effectively bypasses industry regulator Postcomm, which was due to publish fresh proposals on access this week, and is likely to act as a benchmark for other private firms hoping to enter the recently-liberalised UK mail market and use Royal Mail's unrivalled delivery network." See also The Telegraph (U.K.) and the BBC (U.K.)
December 17, 2003 -- According to TheStreet.com, "FedEx will release its second-quarter earnings report on Wednesday, but results will likely take a back seat to news on the company's cost-cutting efforts."
December 17, 2003 -- Send Word Now has announced that the United States Postal Service has contracted with the company to provide a critical communication channel should the need arise. Send Word Now, a service established in the aftermath of 9/11, enables key personnel to send a single message to multiple voice and text devices simultaneously in order to reach hundreds or thousands of people within minutes. The service is especially geared towards creating an immediate call to action according to crisis management and emergency preparedness plans.
December 17, 2003 -- Transport Intelligence has reported that "Schenker, the logistics subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, and German high tech manufacturer Siemens have created a new joint venture, focusing on the service parts logistics industry. The joint venture will be 51% owned by Schenker with the remaining equity held by Siemens."
December 17, 2003 -- With her election as the new Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Postal Forum, Susan E. Alvarado immediately announced her organization's commitment to making the September relaunch of the National Postal Forum "the best-ever mailing industry and postal customer event."
December 17, 2003 -- The New York Times has reported that "President Bush (news - web sites) signed a highly anticipated law this morning to restrict unsolicited commercial e-mail, which now accounts for more than half of all e-mail traffic."
December 17, 2003 -- According to a recent study commissioned by the American Bankers Association, "consumers still prefer to pay their bills by check, but electronic methods are gaining in popularity. In 2001, 72 percent of recurring bill payments were made with checks; today, this percentage has fallen to 60 percent. This decline in check volume is due in part to increasing consumer adoption of automatic payment and online bill payment. Today, 60 percent of consumers use automatic payment, with only 30 percent of consumers having never tried automatic payment. While adoption of online bill payment is lower than automatic payment 41 percent of consumers currently use online bill payment it represents one of the fastest growing payment methods."
December 16, 2003 -- Conservatives.com (U.K.) has reported that some European MPs are saying "no to VAT on postage stamps. The price of postage stamps could increase following a vote in the European Parliament tomorrow. The European Commission is proposing to add VAT to all supplies of postal services, including stamps."
December 16, 2003 -- "Note to shippers," declared Traffic World, "read the fine print. While FedEx mirrored UPS in announcing the lowest rate increases in years for 2004, both express companies will ratchet up the add-on fees they charge for many shipments to make up the difference. The winners of the paltry rate increases are business-to-business shippers that send parcels to and from urban areas. The biggest losers are shippers that send packages to homes in sparsely populated areas."
December 16, 2003 -- The New York Times has reported that "Congress is expected to consider a proposal early next year that would shift responsibility for billions of dollars in future pension promises to the federal government from United Parcel Service. UPS is chafing at its legal requirement to cover retirees of other companies through its participation in multiemployer plans, in which many employers pool the cost of providing pensions for union members. While the prospects for the proposal are unclear, UPS has gained support from several lawmakers, including some in Georgia, Kentucky and Ohio. These plans allow workers to take their benefits with them when they switch jobs and are common in such fields as grocery stores, bakeries, machine shops and construction. About 35 million Americans are covered by traditional pension plans paid for by a single company, and about 9.5 million people participate in these multiemployer plans."
December 16, 2003 -- The Indianapolis Star has reported that "Monday was the busiest day of the year for the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx Corp., while UPS expects its busiest day on Thursday. The postal service put its numbers in global perspective, saying that the 870 million cards, letters and packages it delivered Monday would encircle the earth four times, if laid end to end. Normally, the nation's letter carriers deliver a thrice globe-encircling 670 million pieces of mail."
December 16, 2003 -- According to DMNews, "as direct marketers head into another busy holiday season, a new study finds that returns will matter even more as the quantity of merchandise shipped out rises. In a survey by Harris Interactive for Newgistics Inc., 90 percent of respondents said that a convenient returns policy and process are important to consumer purchase decisions. That fact is often lost on retailers."
December 16, 2003 -- FreeMarkets, Inc. a provider of global supply management (GSM) solutions, today announced that it is working with Royal Mail Group plc, the United Kingdom's public mail service company. Under the terms of a recently signed agreement, Royal Mail is using FreeMarkets' GSM solutions, including FreeMarkets(R) FullSource(TM), FreeMarkets(R) QS(TM) and supporting services, to lower its costs and reduce supply risk. The agreement follows the completion of a successful pilot project.
December 16, 2003 -- AFX Europe has reported that "Swiss Post is planning to cut working hours from January to avoid lay offs. The measure is triggered by a larger-than-expected decline in the post's revenues."
December 16, 2003 -- CNNMoney has reported that "the latest data from Forrester research, conducted in a poll of 12,000 online buyers earlier this year, showed UPS still has a commanding lead with online buyers, with 57 percent of online buyers overall followed by USPS with 23 percent of online shoppers and FedEx a distant third with only 7 percent."
December 16, 2003 -- The Scotsman (U.K.) has reported that "Euro-MPs were urged tonight to reject plans which could put 5p on the price of a stamp. The European Commission is proposing to add VAT to all supplies of postal services. At the moment state postal services are VAT-free, unlike their private sector rivals. Brussels wants to create a "level playing field" for post under the EU single market."
December 16, 2003 -- The Nation has reported that "Thailand Post Co yesterday launched its home delivery service for One Tambon One Product (Otop) items ordered through its Otop Express catalogue. Under the service people can pick up a free catalogue at any of 123 post offices in Bangkok and 75 offices in the major tourist destinations around the country and fill in the forms to place an order. Customers have the option of paying by cash or credit card."
December 16, 2003 -- Mailing industry response to the decision to cancel the Spring 2004 National Postal Forum and move to a once-a-year schedule for the event has been overwhelmingly positive, according to United States Postal Service and National Postal Forum officials. The decision to make the change, officials agreed, was both timely and responsive to the needs of business mailers and mail center administrators."
December 16, 2003 -- You may have looked for the Postal Services proposed rule on Standard Mail Flats with a 15 piece minimum for 5-D packages of pieces weighing five ounces or less on the RIBBS web site. For those that couldn't find it there, it's been posted here.
December 16, 2003 -- Siemens Dematic Postal Automation L.P. has consummated a sales and marketing agreement with MidSouth Technologies, LLC. The agreement is a collaborative effort between the two companies to develop, market and sell OCR/operating systems and maintenance services for multiline and barcode sorting equipment designed by Postal Technologies, Inc. (PTI).
December 15, 2003 -- The Asahi Shimbun has reported that "looking for ways to motivate workers, Japan Post says it will put its 120,000 part-timers on a performance-based pay system from April. All the part-timers at offices nationwide will likely be regrouped into three categories with their salaries based on individual performance. Their hourly wages will be set by the postmaster of each post office. Japan Post submitted the proposal to its labor union on Oct. 27."
December 15, 2003 -- FreeMarkets, Inc., a provider of global supply management (GSM) solutions, today announced that it is working with Royal Mail Group plc, the United Kingdom's public mail service company. Under the terms of a recently signed agreement, Royal Mail is using FreeMarkets' GSM solutions, including FreeMarkets(R) FullSource(TM), FreeMarkets(R) QS(TM) and supporting services, to lower its costs and reduce supply risk. The agreement follows the completion of a successful pilot project."
December 15, 2003 -- Le Figaro "Jean-Paul Bailly, chairman of the French post office, La Poste, said on Saturday that his organisation expects to show a consolidated net profit of around 100m euros for 2003. La Poste returned to profit last year with a positive net result of 34m euros. Mr Bailly also confirmed that La Poste's modernisation programme will involve natural wastage but not redundancies."
December 15, 2003 -- According to Sky News, "Online shopping is expected to break all records this year, with consumers spending around £3.5bn on gifts ordered over the internet. This is also a boost for Royal Mail - which will deliver some 40m of the 70m items ordered on the web. That is double the number it handled last year, it says."
December 15, 2003 -- The Guardian (Nigeria) has reported that "the greater part of next year will be devoted towards a better working relationship between the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST) and the private sector of the economy with the intention of having mutual benefits among them to the growth of the nation's economy. This was the view of the Post-Master General (PMG) of the federation, Alhaji Abubakar Arugungu last week, during a dinner at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja organised by the Bulkpost Venture for corporate organisations in the country. Arugungu said that the major responsibility of the Bulkpost Venture is tailored towards ensuring that the past experience of the corporate bodies whose mails were either dumped or delivered late is rectified."
December 15, 2003 -- One writer for WorldNetDaily has asked that if you "Live dangerously? Mail a letter. Be more daring ... expect it to arrive at its destination! I took that risk today. I mailed some bill payments and Christmas presents and tried to cover my bases. I certified, insured, got proof of mailing and had machine postage rather than stamps put on each envelope. Not cheap. Then I crossed my fingers. I would have had a drink to steady my nerves but I had to drive home, so that was out of the question! To say I've no confidence in the United States Postal Service to do its job is the understatement of the year perhaps the century."
December 15, 2003 -- The National Association of Major Mail Users (Canada) has reported that "the Honourable Stan Keyes (Hamilton West) was appointed Minister responsible for Canada Post Corporation on December 12th. Mr. Keyes will also serve as Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Sport). In Crown Corporation policy impact changes, the Honourable Lucienne Robillard moves from the Treasury Board to the Industry portfolio; the Honourable Helene Chalifour-Scherrer has been given the Canadian Heritage portfolio. Small Business will be handled by several Parliamentary Secretaries within the PMO, all reporting directly to the new Prime Minister."
December 14, 2003 -- AllAfrica.com has reported that "the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has reviewed the time-table for the privatisation of various public corporations, just as it added the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) and the River Basins to its scheduled of companies slated for commercialisation. Director-general of the BPE, Dr Julius Jirbil Bala who unfolded the revised timetable for the privatisation programme at his maiden interactive forum with business Editors, Wednesday in Abuja, disclosed that NIPOST and the River Basin Development Authorities are expected to be commercialised after 2005."
December 14, 2003 -- The Summit Daily News has reported that "some post office boxholders will receive a letter next month saying they will no longer have to pay annual box rental fees. Those who qualify can get their post office box rental fees waived beginning Jan. 31. The issue comes to light periodically when people complain about the few neighborhoods that receive home delivery in Summit County or when post office boxholders learn that some of their friends don't have to pay box rental fees."
December 13, 2003 -- The Postal Service has filed a brief with the International Trade Commission in a matter pertaining to an inquiry regarding international express services. In that brief it urged "the ITC to be wary of endorsing overly ambitious proposals for postal reform through trade agreements, and of reaching hasty conclusions that certain measures abroad are 'barriers to trade'."
December 13, 2003 -- The Polish News Bulletin has reported that "facing competition from commercial banks, Poczta Polska (PP), the Polish post, is broadening its offer of financial services to individual clients."
December 13, 2003 -- CNET News has reported that "Google has introduced a new search feature that turns up shipping information from Federal Express and United Parcel Service, the company's latest move to expand beyond keyword searches."
December 13, 2003 -- As the Federal Times has noted, "the chances for sweeping changes in how the U.S. Postal Service does business increase greatly with President Bush's Dec. 8 call for postal reform legislation."
December 13, 2003 -- The Syracuse Post-Standard has reported that "momentum is building in Washington for the first major overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service since the Nixon administration. A Central New York congressman will take a leading role in writing the legislation and pushing it through Congress next year. Rep. John McHugh, R-Pierrepont Manor, heads the special panel on postal reform and oversight for the House Government Reform Committee. He met with colleagues this week to make plans to introduce a bill after Congress returns."
December 13, 2003 -- According to Reuters, "Royal Mail Chairman Allan Leighton has not had an easy ride at the head of the struggling postal operator but his love for the job may now keep him in the seat beyond the three years he has to turn it around."
December 13, 2003 -- The BBC has posted a question and answer piece on its web site dealing with the postal employee pay dispute in the U.K.
December 13, 2003 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "Royal Mail yesterday won complete backing for its crucial recovery plan from the main postal workers' union, the CWU - and angered another with plans for up to 3,000 redundancies among managers. The company and the CWU are understood to have reached an agreement that will trigger 10% pay increases for 160,000 postal staff and scrap the second daily delivery."
December 13, 2003 -- USPSLink has reported that "the Postal Service has pulled $200,000 in advertising from FOX-TV."
December 13, 2003 -- The Japan Times has reported that "thirty employees at nine post offices in Osaka and Kyoto prefectures have cheated the postal service of 5 million yen, the Japan Post's Kinki regional office said Friday. It said the workers fraudulently received bonuses paid out for the sale of 210 fraudulent postal life insurance policies between 1995 and August this year."
December 13, 2003 -- The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online.
December 12, 2003 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "The Royal Mail said today it would cut 3,000 managerial jobs in a voluntary redundancy programme as part of the company's three-year restructuring plan. The cuts will be part of the 30,000 jobs that Royal Mail plans to axe."
December 12, 2003 -- The Sofia Morning News has reported that "Director General of the Universal Postal Union UPU Thomas Leavey expressed his satisfaction with Bulgaria's development in the communications area at the meeting with Bulgaria's Deputy Transport Minister Nedelcho Nedelchev in Geneva."
December 12, 2003 -- The Telegraph (U.K.) has reported that "Postwatch, the consumer watchdog for mail services, yesterday hit out at Royal Mail for failing to increase its consultation time for post office closures to take into account the Christmas holidays."
December 12, 2003 -- According to The Messenger, "their uniforms are different, but the people who deliver the mail for the military and those who handle letters and packages for civilians use the same skills. So when members of a Fort Dodge-based Army Reserve unit specializing in postal work needed some training before heading overseas early next year, they went to the city's post office."
December 12, 2003 -- According to Coventry News (U.K.), "up to half a million undelivered letters including telephone bills and pension books for Coventry and Warwickshire are stacked up at a city sorting office, claim union officials. Royal Mail blames Christmas and denies the backlog is a result of unofficial action by postal workers six weeks ago."
December 12, 2003 -- The Lansing State Journal has reported that "In an effort to help alleviate the madness, Lansing's Collins Road post office on Sunday will have a "Ship and Save" day, offering free boxes, tape and other packing supplies. Postal officials couldn't say how much customers can expect to save. 'It's a convenience,' said Mike Lee, a Postal Service customer relations coordinator. 'We're hoping to get people in the post office.'"
December 12, 2003 -- The Periodical Publishers Association (U.K.) has reported that "the postal regulator, Postcomm, has reinstated restrictions on the licences of five competitors to Royal Mail. The move follows the resumption of normal services by Royal Mail after industrial action which began in October."
December 12, 2003 -- Expatica Belgium has reported that "freight and courier service DHL wants to expand its activities at Zaventem airport, with a doubling in the volume of night flights and the creation of 1,000 jobs."
December 12, 2003 -- According to Die Welt, "Germany's Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW), the state development bank, surprised analysts and market experts yesterday when it revealed that it was selling shares in Deutsche Post, Germany's postal service operator, for around 2bn euros or between 15.8 euros and 16.7 euros per share. The state-owned bank has until now controlled 48.3 per cent of Deutsche Post. The sale of shares means that more than 40 per cent of all shares in the group are now owned privately as opposed to 31 per cent before the sale."
December 12, 2003 -- According to The Guardian (U.K.), "it is a savings account the British have been dutifully putting their money into since 1861, the year Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, died and civil war broke out in America. But now National Savings & Investments has decided that the 'ordinary account', which many people will remember as the Post Office savings account, has had its day. It is being axed next year because it is 'old fashioned' and too expensive to operate for the taxpayer."
December 12, 2003 -- The Sentinel (U.K.) has reported that "an MP has hit out at the 'arrogance' of the Post Office after the shock announcement that 28 post offices are to close in North Staffordshire. Newcastle MP Paul Farrelly is angry that the company failed to inform him and other MPs in Stoke-on-Trent and the Staffordshire Moorlands about the widescale closure programme planned for March next year."
December 12, 2003 -- E!Online has speculated, "call it a hunch, but we're guessing the folks at Fox might not be getting their Christmas packages on time." Unfortunately, the Postal Service doesn't work that way.
December 12, 2003 -- The Associated Press has reported that "the letter carriers union on Thursday joined the Postal Service in denouncing an upcoming Fox television comedy sketch about mail employees 'going postal' and demanded that it not be run as scheduled over the weekend." A similar letter of protest also was sent by the President of the American Postal Workers Union.
December 12, 2003 -- The Postal Service is proposing to amend the "Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) standards by raising the minimum number of pieces at which required 5-digit and optional 5-digit scheme presort destination packages may be prepared in a Standard Mail job consisting of flat-size pieces that weigh no more than 5 ounces (0.3125 pound) and measure no more than \3/4\ inch thick. The maximum thickness permitted for nonautomation flats under DMM C050.3.0 and flats prepared in 5-digit scheme presort destination packages under DMM L007 is \3/4\ inch."
December 11, 2003 -- In a letter to the producers of MAD- TV, PostCom President Gene Del Polito said that "there is absolutely nothing funny about workplace violence, and your use of such a stereotype is appalling....It's been our experience that postal workers are honest and decent people who make a complex system work well. We believe the skit is in extremely bad taste. Clever writers can, no doubt, assemble quickly better material to make the use of air time more valuable."
December 11, 2003 -- DMNews has reported that "the Universal Postal Union is working with leading postal services to promote an electronic postmark that would facilitate electronic transactions and guarantee their security. Called the Electronic PostMark, the service applies a time-and-date seal to an electronic document, validates digital signatures and stores and archives all data needed to support a potential court challenge."
December 11, 2003 -- The Peninsula has reported that "the Qatar Postal Corporation (Q-Post) is speeding up its efforts to run all the postal services electronically. A senior official at the corporation said yesterday that a new training centre would soon be established as part of a plan to develop a new IT system. The Q-Post Chairman, Ali bin Mohammed Al Ali said the 22 postal services, currently presented to the public, would fully be run electronically after the completion of the networking with an advanced computer control system. The new system, he said, is scheduled to be implemented in early January next year."
December 11, 2003 -- The Associated Press has reported that "a U.S. Postal Service official on Wednesday called upon postal workers to contact the head of Fox television entertainment to protest a comedy sketch showing mail workers talking about a shooting spree. A promotion for an upcoming episode of ``Mad TV'' shows two postal employees brandishing guns and talking about shooting as customers cower, the Postal Service said in a statement. Azeezaly S. Jaffer, the Postal Service's vice president of public affairs, said the skit 'unfair. It's ugly. It's untrue. It's an insult to every man and woman in the Postal Service.'"
December 11, 2003 -- The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today commended Chairman of the House Transportation, Treasury and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Rep. Ernest J. Istook, Jr. (R-Okla.), for pushing the Postal Rate Commission (PRC) to bring more financial accountability to the United States Postal Service's (USPS) non-postal businesses and services. In a letter to PRC Chairman George Omas, Rep. Istook supported a petition by the PRC's Office of the Consumer Advocate (OCA) that addresses the lack of financial transparency surrounding dozens of non-jurisdictional services offered by the USPS.
December 10, 2003 -- In the first privately funded and operated airlift in the history of the United Nations World Food Programme, TPG/TNT Airways this weekend transported urgently needed WFP humanitarian supplies destined for Eastern Chad where thousands of Sudanese refugees are sheltering.
December 10, 2003 -- The Powerpoint presentation given by the Postal Service's chief financial officer to the Board of Governors has been posted on this site.
December 10, 2003 -- Expatica has reported that "the German state development bank KfW said Wednesday it was selling EUR two billion worth of shares in the German postal group Deutsche Post."
December 10, 2003 -- The Age (Australia) has reported that "the Australian Medical Association has accused Australia Post of tampering with doctors' honesty and ethics by seeking second opinions when workers produce medical certificates for sick leave. The postal workers' union has also banned Australia Post's new Attendance Improvement Management System, which the union described as "a management tool to bully sick and injured workers". Australia Post says the system is aimed at a 'small minority' of its 35,000 workforce who abuse leave entitlements and inflate the company's sickies bill of about $35 million a year."
December 10, 2003 -- The Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), an organization representing companies that value preserving a universal mail delivery system for business communication and commerce, has praised President George W. Bush for his support to enact comprehensive postal reform. The Bush Administration has called upon Congress to pass reform legislation "to ensure that the U.S. Postal Service can continue to provide affordable and reliable universal service, while limiting the exposure of taxpayers and operating appropriately in the competitive marketplace."
December 10, 2003 -- CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal) has reported that "the future strategy of Sweden's Posten AB is becoming increasingly obvious. Last week's board meeting confirmed that the post intends to focus on its traditional services, i.e. letters and parcels. CEO Erik Olsson received support for his plan to slim down the central administration and sell an unknown number of the post's 57 subsidiary companies."
December 10, 2003 -- Aftenposten (Norway) has reported that "from Jan. 1 2004 all post carried on passenger planes will be x-rayed to check for possible terrorist explosives. Norway's postal service (Posten) fears comprehensive delays and is considering alternative transport methods."
December 10, 2003 -- According to one writer quoted in the Daily Yomiuri (Japan), "roads and postal businesses are the services that are least suitable for privatization."
December 10, 2003 -- La Stampa (Italy) has reported that "the Italian communications ministry is said to have classified more than 5,000 small post offices in various parts of Italy as uneconomical. The branches in question are all unable to cover their operating costs, with almost 1,500 of them making a loss. Each of them serves fewer than 500 households."
December 10, 2003 -- People's Daily (China) has reported that "China will donate 250,000 US dollars to the Asian-Pacific Postal Union (APPU) to support its efforts to improve postal services in impoverished member states." See also the paper's report on the APPU conference.
December 10, 2003 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "AuthentiDate Holding Corp.'s flagship product, called Electronic Postmark, aims to solve a critical problem with e-mail. Though popular, cheap and efficient, e-mail is unreliable for binding business transactions because it is easy to fake the identities of the parties involved, alter time-stamp records and fool with content. The Schenectady, N.Y., company says that for a small fee it can make e-mails trustworthy using a cocktail of technologies that together prove who sent which document when, using electronic signatures that pass muster in court. The U.S. Postal Service and Microsoft Corp. have gotten behind the technology to power Electronic Postmark, and they are expected to put marketing heft behind it, too."
December 10, 2003 -- According to the Greenville News, "30 years of stiff competition from United Parcel Service and FedEx has eroded the Postal Service's preeminent status. The Postal Service is changing the way it does business to meet the competition from its challengers." Ah, yes....The benefits of competition. Let's see more of it!
December 10, 2003 -- The Polish News Bulletin has reported that "in mid-2004 Poczta Polska (PP), the Polish post office, plans to launch its own investment fund, costing ZL10m. The new fund will be the last element to complete the range of financial services offered by the PP capital group."
December 10, 2003 -- Newgistics, Inc., a leader in returns management solutions for direct retailers, today announced that Jon Wittnebel, vice president of postal affairs, has been appointed to the board of the Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), a national association of businesses and organizations that use or support the use of mail as a medium for business communication and commerce.
December 9, 2003 -- House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA), Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), Rep. John M. McHugh (R-NY), head of the committee's Special Panel on Postal Reform and Oversight, and the special panel's Ranking Member, Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), today signaled their commitment to making postal industry reform a top priority for the second session of the 108th Congress.
December 9, 2003 -- Wally Olihovik, President of the 42,000-member National Association of Postmasters of the United States, praised the Bush Administration for outlining its guiding principles for comprehensive postal reform. President Olihovik stated, "Postmasters are pleased that the White House reaffirmed its support of a universal and affordable Postal Service." Olihovik went on to observe, "The President articulated the need to better equip the Postal Service to remain viable."
December 9, 2003 -- According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, the Bush Administration has done its part in calling on Congress to enact postal legislative reform. Now it's time for the mailing industry to do its part.
December 9, 2003 -- The Scotsman (U.K.) has reported that "hundreds of formal complaints about bullying and harassment against postal workers are being investigated by the Royal Mail as part of a major crackdown."
December 9, 2003 -- The New York Times has reported that "the increasing indications that the advertising industry's long recession may be ending were bolstered yesterday by upbeat predictions for 2004 from two leading industry forecasters."
December 9, 2003 -- The Associated Press has reported that "the Postal Service finished 2003 with a $3.9 billion surplus, which will help keep postal rates where they are through 2006, postal officials said Tuesday. The bottom line was $300 million better than had been expected for the 2003 fiscal year, which ended in September. Nearly all of the surplus was used to reduce the agency's outstanding debt." See also the USPS' press release.
December 9, 2003 -- Private Healthcare Systems (PHCS), the nation's leading health care cost management company, announced its network is now available to the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Health Plan.
December 9, 2003 -- The Communications Workers Union (U.K.) has announced that "there would be no disruption to London's postal service over the Christmas period."
December 9, 2003 -- ComputerWeekly has reported that "The US House of Representatives has approved an amended version of a bill that will allow penalties of up to $6m and five years in jail for sending some e-mail spam, the last step before the bill can be signed into law by President George W. Bush. Senate sources have said they expect the bill to be signed into law by the president by the end of the year."
December 9, 2003 -- According to the Wausau Daily Herald, "Wausau native John McCutcheon isn't living in the area any longer, but you can catch him singing jingles on some broadcast and cable networks that air in this area, we've recently learned. McCutcheon, a five-time Grammy nominee, is singing the U.S. Postal Service advertising song, "Mail Myself to You," which is running at various times through Dec. 14 on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Oxygen and WE, among others."
December 9, 2003 -- The Leaf Chronicle has reported that "family and friends who wait to the last minute to send Christmas packages to troops overseas may get a break from DHL Express. Through Dec. 19, the Dutch-owned air express shipping company is reducing its fares by up to 80 percent on packages sent from the United States to military personnel with an APO or FPO address."
December 9, 2003 -- According to the Irish Times, "An Post is set to increase the price of most categories of overseas mail in a bid to stem losses in its international division. The price of posting a standard airmail letter from the Republic to another European country (excluding Britain) will increase from 57 cents to 65 cents, while the price for heavier airmail letters will drop from 83 cents to 65 cents."
December 9, 2003 -- The Age (Australia) has reported that "Australia Post's 850 parcel workers in Sydney will walk off the job for 24 hours from tomorrow night in a move which could disrupt Christmas gift deliveries. The industrial action follows a break down in talks between the Communications Electrical Plumbing Union (CEPU) and Australia Post over proposed network and technology changes to parcel processing."
December 9, 2003 -- The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that "Australia Post workers will fight to overturn new rules forcing them to see company doctors when they are sick, with their union claiming it is a form of harassment."
December 9, 2003 -- Yonhap News has reported that "Korea Post, South Korea's postal service operator, said Monday it has signed a strategic partnership with TNT Post Group NV, the Dutch logistics and postal company. The deal is part of Korea Post's plan to expand its foreign parcel delivery service, the state postal service operator said in a statement."
December 8, 2003 -- The Bush administration has called on Congress to enact comprehensive postal reform to ensure that the Untied States Postal Service can continue to provide affordable and reliable universal service, while limiting exposure of taxpayers and operating appropriately in the competitive marketplace. United States Postal Service reform should be guided by a set of clear principles outlined by the administration: Implement Best Practices: Ensure that the Postal Service's governing body is equipped to meet the responsibilities and objectives of an enterprise of its size and scope. Transparency: Ensure that important factual information on the Postal Service's product costs and performance is accurately measured and made available to the public in a timely manner. Flexibility: Ensure that the Postal Service's governing body and management have the authority to reduce costs, set rates, and adjust key aspects of its business in order to meet its obligations to customers in a dynamic marketplace. Accountability: Ensure that a Postal Service operating with greater flexibility has appropriate independent oversight to protect consumer welfare and universal mail service. Self Financing: Ensure that a Postal Service operating with greater flexibility is financially self-sufficient, covering all of its obligations. See also the story by the Associated Press.
December 8, 2003 -- Handelsblatt (Germany) has reported that "the dispute between DHL, the express delivery service owned by Deutsche Post, the German postal service, and its US competitors FedEx and UPS has intensified. UPS and FedEx have accused DHL of having exclusive agreements with two US airlines, Astar and ABX Air, and of controlling these two airlines. However, the two US delivery companies have now been accused of hypocrisy by those in the sector, who claim that their practices in Europe mirror those of DHL in the US: UPS has an exclusive agreement with Danish airline Star Air, while FedEx controls the German airline Express Airways."
December 8, 2003 -- According to YLE News, Finnish "postal workers may slow down the mail delivery in protest planned job cutbacks and the use of subcontractors by the delivery company Kelpo Kuljetus. The postal workers' protest will begin on Thursday at 6 PM and end the following morning."
December 8, 2003 -- The Saudi Press Agency has reported that "the Director General of Posts, Dr Khaled Bin Farres Al-Otaibi received here today Carlos Silva, the Director General of Postal Investment Council, an affiliate of the International Postal Union (IPU). During the meeting, they discussed issues of mutual concern with regard to investment in the postal field."
December 8, 2003 -- European sources have noted that the Hungarian "Parliament has passed the Postal Services Act, according to which the national postal company Magyar Posta will lose its monopoly by 2009, when the postal market will be fully liberalised. The privatisation of the 100% state-owned Magyar Posta is scheduled for 2005."
December 8, 2003 -- The Daily Telegraph (U.K.) has reported that "it looks like even Royal Mail cannot keep track of the three thousand urban post offices it is shutting. The organisation's automated parcel delivery line is adding insult to injury for customers affected by the closures by suggesting it delivers to offices that have already been shut. The glitch involves a voice-activated system that Parcelforce has put in place to help customers arrange to have their parcels redelivered. It allows customers who were out when the Parcelforce van called to have their parcel sent to a local post office for a 50p fee. A spokesman for Parcelforce said the list of available post offices for collection of mail was updated every day."
December 8, 2003 -- USA Today has reported that "cash-strapped state and local governments are discovering what millions of eBay aficionados already know: You can sell almost anything on the Internet. The U.S. Postal Service uses it to auction unclaimed shipments, from DVDs to books, eBay spokeswoman Jennifer Caukin says."
December 8, 2003 -- According to Dow Jones, "Deutsche Post AG declined to comment Monday on various weekend reports that it's bidding for companies in Australia and the U.K., though spokespeople said the German mail and logistics group is definitely interested in expanding in the two countries. Newspapers in the U.K. and Germany reported that Deutsche Post is competing with TPG NV of the Netherlands to buy DX Mail, a document exchange and specialist courier business owned by the U.K.'s Hays PLC , and that it's interested in buying Australian delivery service Star Track Express. Deutsche Post is already represented in Australia through DHL Worldwide Express and in the U.K. through Global Mail."
December 8, 2003 -- The Daily Telegraph (Australia) has reported that "the Postal Workers Union (CEPU) announced the stoppage, which will begin on Wednesday evening, after talks broke down with Australia Post over proposed technology changes. A statement released by the union said Sydney will be without Parcel Post services for part of the week. The news follows an unsuccessful legal challenge last week by Australia Post which attempted to block a planned walkout."
December 8, 2003 -- Acxiom Corporation has announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire the Claritas Europe group of companies from VNU N.V., a global information and media company based in Haarlem, The Netherlands. Claritas Europe's products provide the largest source of consumer lifestyle and behavioral information for effective marketing across Europe.
December 8, 2003 -- La Bourse (France) has reported that "Neopost - Europe's leading supplier of mailing solutions and logistics systems - and GeoPost - a holding company for the French and European parcels subsidiaries of La Poste (France's national postal service) - have signed an agreement under which Neopost will supply its Cyberstation(C) system to GeoPost's operational units (Chronopost International, DPD, Tat Express etc.). The system has been developed by Neopost Logistics Systems, and the first service to use it is Chronopost International's ChronoShip OnLine."
December 8, 2003 -- Transport Intelligence has reported that "the bidding process for Hays UK postal business, DX Mail, has got underway generating a large amount of interest from trade and financial buyers. It is believed that DPWN and Dutch postal operator TPG are amongst the front runners to buy the business unit which would give them a foot hold in the liberalising UK market."
December 8, 2003 -- The Telegraph (India) has reported that "the government will develop a credible road-map for the corporatisation of the postal department. Under the plan, the private sector will be roped in to provide selected postal services. It also involves splitting the tariff-fixing rights from the policy-making functions of the department of posts with the formation of an independent regulatory authority. This would function in much the same way as the regulators for power, telecom and insurance sectors. The parliamentary standing committee on post is discussing an amendment to the Indian Post Office Act of 1898 to bring about the necessary changes in the organisation."
December 7, 2003 -- PostInsight has posted on its web site a copy of "Postal Networks in EU Adhesion Candidate Countries" -- a study commissioned by the European Commission on the postal networks in candidate countries by WIK-Consulting.
December 7, 2003 -- The Federal Times has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service likely will pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to employees with disabilities who were unfairly denied promotions, awards, training and good job assignments in the settlement of a class-action suit. The settlement will go to 25,000 employees the Postal Service placed in disability rehabilitation positions which the plaintiffs in the lawsuit called "dead-end" jobs since 1992. They could receive up to $25,000 each in back pay and emotional distress damages. The amount of damages depends on what year a promotion was denied and could vary from about $5,500 to $25,000."
December 7, 2003 -- The Times (U.K.) has reported that:
December 6, 2003 -- According to the Kyodo News Service, "Japan Post has said its post offices across Japan will sell 100 billion yen in government bonds allocated to them between Wednesday and Dec. 25 in the fifth round of government debt offerings specifically designed for individuals."
December 6, 2003 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Italy has said it will transfer part of the stakes it owns in energy giants Eni SpA and Enel SpA , as well as shares in state-owned postal service Poste Italiane SpA, to a public financing agency in its latest move to cut debt."
December 6, 2003 -- Khaleej Times has reported that "Emirates Post (EP) has been approached by the Iraqi administration to help reinstate its postal system and re-establish postal links with the UAE and other countries, Abdullah Al Daboos, Director-General of Emirates Post, said. He said the UAE postal authority was recently approached to extend assistance in the fields of postal automation and smooth operation of the Iraqi postal authority, which suffered heavily following the Iraq war."
December 6, 2003 -- Reuters has reported that "Belgium's postal service is talking with Western Union, the money-transfer business of First Data, about a possible partnership as it looks for ways to turn a profit. The struggling De Post/La Poste saw such a partnership as a way to improve the profitability of its network of branch offices."
December 5, 2003 -- BizInk has reported that "Canada Post, Canada's national postal service, has selected Interwoven to underpin its Internet site, http://www.canadapost.ca, as well as its national employee portal, Intr@post. With Interwoven, Canada Post anticipates improving communications, via the intranet, among its 55,000 employees located across Canada, as well as providing timely information to the more than 31 million individuals and businesses that rely on its Internet site annually for up-to-date mailing and online business service needs."
December 5, 2003 -- The Hindu Business Line (India) has reported that "the Postal Department in Tamil Nadu is going to deliver a lot more than just mail. On offer will be monthly milk cards, prepaid cards for mobiles, magazines, job applications and a lot more. (Some of these are already on sale and the department is open to a more ideas, even routing small loans from banks.) The department in Tamil Nadu is getting into retailing and services. It has finalised marketing arrangements with companies such as Hatsun Agro Product Ltd, a private dairy, AirTel and publications such as Ananda Vikatan, Dinamalar and Dinamani, which are looking at marketing some of their supplements through post offices. The post offices will also sell application forms of the Central and State public service commissions, according to officials."
December 5, 2003 -- Virtual Jerusalem has reported that "post office employees will begin sanctions on Sunday because of what they call unfair competition from a company that distributes mail in the center of the country. The action is also being taken to protest the lack of negotiations over planned postal authority legislation over government control."
December 5, 2003 -- The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online.
December 5, 2003 -- Traffic World has reported that:
December 5, 2003 -- Business Mailers Review has reported that:
December 5, 2003 -- Financial Times Deutschland has reported that "Deutsche Post, the German postal service, is planning to merge the depots of Deutsche Post Express, its subsidiary which provides courier services, with those of DHL, the express service which it recently acquired. The plans form part of the programme introduced by Klaus Zumwinkel, the head of Deutsche Post, with the aim of increasing the company's annual profit by at least 1.4bn euros in comparison with 2002 by 2005."
December 5, 2003 -- WAVE3.com has reported that "a sharp cut in benefits handled by the Teamsters union has raised health care costs for full-time employees at the United Parcel Service air hub and affected their retirement plans. The union's 180,000-member Central States division will drop the long-cherished pension policy that allowed members to retire after 25 or 30 years with guaranteed benefits, regardless of age."
December 5, 2003 -- Dow Jones has reported that "TPG NV Chief Executive Peter Bakker Tuesday said the Dutch postal and logistics company's express operations in Europe showed no improvement in the fourth quarter. The company had previously expected profitability at the operations to grow from the current margin level of 1%-2%."
December 5, 2003 -- The agenda for the December meeting of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors has been posted on the USPS web site.
December 5, 2003 -- The kickoff to the holiday shopping season started with a bang, at least according to the marketers contacted by Catalog Age."
December 5, 2003 -- As DMNews has noted, "a General Accounting Office report backed U.S. Postal Service estimates that rates will rise steeply unless the postal service can use funds currently earmarked for an escrow account beginning with the 2006 fiscal year."
December 5, 2003 -- Khaleej Times has reported that "Emirates Post is gearing up to transform its traditional post offices into one-stop community service centres across the UAE. It is receiving encouraging response from customers availing themselves of a range of retail services at its pilot 'Nawafith' post office projects designed on the new concept. The two post offices selected to launch the first phase of 'Nawafith' retail project are Jumairah Post Office on Al Wasl Road, and a post office located at the Dubai International Convention Centre (DICC). 'Since 'Nawafith' means 'Windows', our aim is to offer a variety of postal and non-postal retail services including banking services and other community services from just one window of the postal counter,' an official of the Emirates Post said."
December 5, 2003 -- The Topeka Capital-Journal has reported that "Northrop Grumman employees at the U.S. Postal Service Repair Facility at Forbes Field recently ratified a new two-year labor agreement with their employer. Northrop Grumman had won a $130 million contract to continue operating the postal repair facility, but had been operating without a permanent labor agreement since a two-year agreement expired Sept. 30."
December 5, 2003 -- MSNBC has reported that "about 4,000 Romanian postmen marched through the capital on Thursday to protest against the government's International Monetary Fund-prescribed policies that have imposed limits on wages and blocked new hirings. The Posta Romana national post authority, facing growing competition and declining postal traffic, is one of Romania's 80 big state firms monitored by the IMF -- the Balkan country's main economic mentor. Posta Romana, with 35,000 staff, claims two thirds of the local market and is trying to increase its niche of 10 percent in deliveries abroad. Its main foreign competitors operating in Romania include Deutsche Post's DHL and Dutch TPG's TNT."
December 5, 2003 -- The Federal Times has reported that "more than 1,300 personnel specialists and clerks will retire or move to other jobs by 2006 when the U.S. Postal Service closes its 80 district personnel offices. The offices will be consolidated into one central office in Eagan, Minn., that will manage personnel and benefits programs for postal workers."
December 5, 2003 -- The Associated Press has reported that "more than three tons of Honolulu-bound mail stranded in American Samoa for more than a month is finally nearing delivery. U.S. Postal Service packages weighing a pound or more been grounded in Pago Pago since November Third. Most mail continued to move via Hawaiian Airlines flights. But federal regulations mandate packages of more than a pound stay off passenger carriers, and officials said the last two weekly cargo flights were canceled because of mechanical problems. The grounded packages are now slated to be picked up tomorrow on a military flight."
December 5, 2003 -- FedEx Corp. has announced rate changes for FedEx Express and FedEx Ground services effective Jan. 5, 2004. FedEx Express will increase list rates an average of 2.5 percent for shipments within the U.S. and for U.S. export shipments. FedEx Ground rates will increase an average of 1.9 percent. In addition, the fuel surcharge for both U.S. and international FedEx Ground shipments will be discontinued effective Jan. 5, 2004. The fuel surcharge will remain in effect for all FedEx Express shipments. The 2004 FedEx Express list rates will be available to customers on fedex.com beginning Dec. 5, 2003. FedEx Ground list rates will be available on fedex.com beginning Dec. 15, 2003.
December 4, 2003 -- The BBC has reported that "people living in mid Wales can expect their Christmas cards to arrive late this year according to the Royal Mail's own figures. Postal deliveries in mid Wales are among the worst in the UK according to new statistics published by the Royal Mail."
December 4, 2003 -- According to the Economist, "a 'palpable recovery' has taken hold across rich countries, according to the OECD's latest Economic Outlook. Overall, the OECD expects its member economies to grow by 3.0% in 2004 and 3.1% in 2005. That is up sharply from expected growth of 2.0% this year. Among the rich countries, America is likely to have the perkiest economy next year, with GDP growth of 4.2%. At the other extreme, the Netherlands is tipped to grow by only 1%."
December 4, 2003 -- Transform (U.K.) has reported that "at 72 Royal Mail centers in the United Kingdom, handwriting recognition technology is being used to read mail at least what's on the outside of the envelopes. Lockheed Martin has chosen the FieldReader handwriting recognition engine from A2iA (www.a2ia.com), New York and Paris, as a component of the Address Interpretation program it created for Royal Mail."
December 4, 2003 -- The U.S. Postal Service has posted a copy of its Transformation Plan Progress Report on its web site.
December 4, 2003 -- The Japan Times has reported that "Japan Post and the operator of Tokyo Disney Resort said Wednesday they will launch a postal service shop for children in May. The government-affiliated Japan Post hopes the tieup with Oriental Land Co. will attract children to a means of communication quickly becoming forgotten amid the popularity of electronic messaging. The shop will be the first of its kind in Japan, they said. Japan Post will stock Ikspiari mail-order catalogs and take orders at its post offices nationwide. Japan Post has been actively seeking alliances with other businesses."
December 4, 2003 -- Le Figaro (France) has reported that "the French post office (La Poste) has renewed its partnership agreement with the US international parcel courier Federal Express (FedEx) for the next 10 years. The first La Poste-Fedex agreement was concluded early in 2001."
December 4, 2003 -- Asahi Shimbun has reported that Japan Post, looking for ways to motivate workers, says it will put its 120,000 part-timers on a performance-based pay system from April. All the part-timers at offices nationwide will likely be regrouped into three categories with their salaries based on individual performance. Their hourly wages will be set by the postmaster of each post office. Japan Post submitted the proposal to its labor union on Oct. 27"
December 4, 2003 -- Firstlogic, Inc. has announced the general availability of a new release of the firm's International Presort solution, an optional solution in its industry-leading Postalsoft(r) suite of mail automation software. The release of International Presort version 7.00c focuses on providing mailers with the capabilities they need to meet new mail sortation requirements for delivery of mail through the Canadian postal system."
December 4, 2003 -- The Denver Post has reported that "A federal administrative judge in Denver on Wednesday approved the settlement of a large class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service that began with an employment discrimination suit an Aurora man filed in 1992. Chandler Glover, now 65, sued after he said he was denied advancement opportunities by postal officials in Denver. Injured on the job in 1991 and then put in a new job that accommodated his disability, Glover accused postal officials of denying him promotions based on the fact that he was a so-called 'rehabilitation' employee."
December 4, 2003 -- The Postal Service has revised its Quarter Three Fiscal Year 2003 balance sheet to remove the amount of its supplemental liability to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF) due to the possible annual variations in the amount and the timing of estimates of the liability.
December 3, 2003 -- According to The Province (Canada), "globalization has been given a ringing endorsement by the head of United Parcel Service, the world's largest courier organization."
December 3, 2003 -- Globes Online (Israel) has reported that "a dispute between Antitrust Authority director general Dror Strum and the Ministries of Communications and Finance was revealed today at the Knesset Economics Committee regarding the opening of postal services to competition. The committee was discussing structural changes in the Israel Postal Authority, under the Economic Arrangements Law. Strum said that two facts were indisputable: competition has existed in local postal market for a long time, and contrary to all the forecasts, the Postal Authority was not collapsing. He therefore recommended opening the market to competition immediately to any concern willing to commit to providing service to every community at a uniform and reasonable price."
December 3, 2003 -- The Sunday Mail (Australia) has reported that "up TO 50 Australia Post managers and staff have been caught sending pornographic e-mails from their work computers, some depicting children engaged in sex acts."
December 3, 2003 -- The Kansas City Business Journal has reported that "a local manufacturer and a sheltered workshop will benefit from a $15 million order of biohazard protection equipment for the U.S. Postal Service, Sceptor Industries Inc. of Kansas City said. Computech Manufacturing Inc. of North Kansas City will make Sceptor's SpinCon air samplers, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City will prepare for shipping special fluids used by the devices, Rich said. Northrup Grumman Corp. is the prime contractor on the project. Sceptor will provide the air samplers to Northrup, which will use them in biohazard detection systems installed at U.S. Postal Service facilities.""
December 3, 2003 -- Stuff.co.nz has reported that "a circular distributed by NZ First to households in Christchurch and Auckland via the mail may be offensive and misleading but it is not unlawful, the Human Rights Commission has decided. The Postal Workers Association (PWA) wrote to NZ Post asking for the deliveries to be stopped. The union claimed the anti-immigration circulars could incite racial disharmony." See also the New Zealand Herald.
December 3, 2003 -- Pitney Bowes Inc. has unveiled a new organizational structure featuring two customer-facing businesses: Global Mailstream Solutions, led by Murray Martin, Executive Vice President and Group President, and Enterprise Solutions, led by Matthew Kissner, Executive Vice President and Group President. According to Michael J. Critelli, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, "by segmenting our operations based on customer needs as opposed to our historical structure, which was driven by our product offerings, we are underscoring our understanding that our future growth will be driven as much by customer focus and relationships as it will by innovation." Customer-driven....What a concept! Maybe someone should tell the Postal Service.
December 3, 2003 -- 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. Under both contracts, the Company will provide environmental services to the Great Lakes and Atlanta Facilities Service Offices (FSO) serving the States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Each $5 million five-year contract has a base term of two years with three optional years. 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, 2003 -- The Sullivan County Democrat has reported that "through rain, sleet or snow the mail may be coming, but you might have to wait a few hours to pick it up these days. With ever-increasing costs for the federally-run U.S. Postal System and a decrease in revenue with more people sending their messages via the Internet, post offices in the area will begin to show some of the effects of cost-cutting in the near future."
December 3, 2003 -- The Courier-Mail (Australia) has reported that "Dell, the global computer manufacturer, yesterday announced a contract with Australia Post for a state of the art supply and delivery operation. Post Logistics, a division of Australia Post, will distribute Dell's latest products - printers and ink and toner cartridges - to Australian customers. Dell has chosen Australia to be the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to roll out the printer product line, first launched in the US market in March this year."
December 3, 2003 -- Dow Jones has reported that:
December 3, 2003 -- According to Ireland Online, "postal service providers must be authorised by the Commission for Communications Regulation (Comreg) from January 1, 2004. Under these terms a postal operator with a turnover of more than €500,000 must apply to Comreg for authorisation. The applicants will only be granted an authorisation if Comreg is satisfied it can provide a postal service and it submits a written declaration that it will not infringe within An Post's reserved area. Those who receive authorisation will also need to present procedures to deal with complaints and postal security. Non-compliance of the new regulations will result in a €3,000 penalty."
December 3, 2003 -- The Business Times has reported that "China may slap a new tax on express delivery companies to help fund a rural postal service, an industry group said yesterday in the latest hurdle to foreign players in the fast-growing industry. Firms such as FedEx Corp and United Parcel Service strongly opposed such a tax, proposed in draft legislation being reviewed by Chinese authorities."
December 3, 2003 -- JoongAng Daily has reported that "the arrival of the Internet gave Korea Post the blues; old-fashioned "snail mail" usage plummeted. Yesterday, Korea's postmaster said his service would jump next year into express package delivery for large corporations. Korea Post now provides mail and parcel delivery services for about 10,000 small and medium companies, a business that accounts for 45 percent of its total revenue. The postal service said it had concluded that its survival would be threatened within a few years if it were content with mail delivery services alone. The postmaster said his organization is ready to compete against private delivery companies."
December 3, 2003 -- The Herald (Zimbabwe) has reported that "the strike by Zimbabwe Postal workers continued yesterday despite calls by management for the workers to return to work. Zimposts management last week issued a statement calling upon the workers to return to work while their case was determined by the Labour Court. However, a survey of post offices in and around Harare yesterday showed that postal services had still not resumed."
December 3, 2003 -- The Sierra Star has reported that "according to Oakhurst Postmaster Verlaine Elinburg, Oakhurst has been hit by a long string of attacks to parcel and locked cluster boxes. The Madera County Sheriff's Department and Postal Inspectors have been tracking the problem."
December 3, 2003 -- RCR News has reported that "Psion Teklogix announced business-to-business express carrier TNT Express is using its wireless LAN communication solution with Netpad rugged handheld devices to allow ground workers at its European Air Express hub in Liege, Belgium, to communicate."
December 3, 2003 -- Senate Governmental Affairs committee chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) and committee member Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) told PMG Potter that they were "concerned that limited information is available about the goals, strategies, and status of the Postal Service's initiatives to transform its retail, mail processing, and transportation networks. GAO has testified that, since the Postal Service issued it Transformation Plan nearly two years ago, it has not provided adequate transparency on its overall plans to rationalize its infrastructure and workforce; the status of initiatives included in its Transformation Plan; and how it plans to integrate the strategies, timing, and funding necessary to move toward becoming a high-performing organization. GAO has also concluded that the Postal Service has had limited constructive engagement with stakeholders who may be affected by the Postal Service's initiatives related to rationalizing its infrastructure and workforce. Thus, we would like for you to provide the Committee with a plan that lays out how the Postal Service intends to optimize its infrastructure and workforce, including the Postal Service's vision in this area and how it plans to reach it."
December 2, 2003 -- Reuters has reported that "FleetBoston Financial Corp., which is being bought by Bank of America Corp., has said it dropped its $4.50 monthly fee for all customers who pay their bills online.
December 2, 2003 -- The NY Daily News has reported that "a classroom with wings - a FedEx 727 jet - has been donated to Aviation High School to help students train for technical jobs with the airline industry."
December 2, 2003 -- The Louisville Business Journal has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. is expecting record shipments during the holidays from its The UPS Store retail units, according to a news release from the shipping giant."
December 2, 2003 -- ThisDay News (Nigeria) has reported that the "Nigerian Postal Service, Courier Regulatory Department has sealed up two illegal courier companies operating in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Briefing journalists in Lagos on how the operation was carried out, Senior Assistant Post Master General, Mr Simon Emeje, said his deparment through a surveillance was able to fish out the two illegal courier companies because their name was missing out of the courier companies in PortHarcourt who were licenced by NIPOST."
December 2, 2003 -- According to the Associated Press, "the Postal Service has launched its Operation Santa program in New York City with several boxes of letters from children and their parents who need a boost this season. New Yorkers can pick a family to help after browsing the letters in the lobby at the city's main Post Office."
December 2, 2003 -- According to the New York Times, "web sites that accept e-mail to Santa promise something that the U.S. Postal Service cannot: a response." Yes, Virginia, the USPS DOES facilitate some sort of response. See the following.
December 2, 2003 -- The Postal Service is helping you create and preserve this memory for your child. Here's how it works. Work with your child as they write their letter to Santa. Secretly craft a response from Santa and mail it in a second envelope to North Pole, Alaska Post Office. The Postal elves will postmark and mail Santa's response back to your child.
December 2, 2003 -- DMNews has reported that "the U.S. Postal Service is testing a new service called Carrier Pickup that lets customers request next-day package pickups. Customers make the request through a special Web site. The local post office retrieves that information, and letter carriers are notified of any pickup requests before they begin their routes the next day. There is no pickup fee, because the packages are picked up from the customers as part of the carrier's normal delivery route."
December 2, 2003 -- ComputerWeekly has reported that "winning the hearts and minds of the workforce is the most important challenge in effecting business transformation, said David Burden, Royal Mail's chief information officer. The workforce should come before business process change, which should come before technology, he said, addressing the latest meeting of the Parliamentary Information Technology Committee in November."
December 2, 2003 -- According to Knight Ridder, "there are two new reasons to mail gifts early this holiday season: One is that the U.S. Postal Service expects to move 20 billion pieces of mail between now and Christmas, its most grueling season. The second is that under a new arrangement with UPS, the Postal Service will be making more deliveries for catalog companies, but those deliveries will take more time and won't come with the same date guarantees." See also the Postal Service press release.
December 2, 2003 -- The Associated Press has reported that "an improving economy means the Postal Service will handle 20 billion letters, packages and other items being sent to relatives, friends and Santa Claus this holiday season."
December 2, 2003 -- The Aberdeen News has reported that "a plan to increase efficiency at the U.S. Postal Service that was authorized last year is being carried out, but officials say little has been finalized yet. At least two post offices in the Aberdeen area - Amherst and Akaska - have been closed because of the plan. The Postal Service can't close post offices unless there are extenuating circumstances. Akaska's post office had been damaged in a fire, and a private company now is handling the mail for Amherst. An aide to Sen. Tom Daschle said Daschle is worried about some proposals that could hurt rural delivery - including possibly closing more post offices."
December 1, 2003 -- RR Donnelley's Distribution Optimizer service simplifies the distribution of periodicals for its magazine customers while driving postal efficiencies and leveraging the company's scope and scale to provide improved delivery times, predictable total mail costs and lower postage.
December 1, 2003 -- NZCity has reported that "New Zealand First's controversial immigration pamphlets will be delivered around Auckland by New Zealand Post in the coming days. Some postal workers have complained to their union that they find the pamphlets offensive and are considering not delivering them. Mike Treen from the Auckland Postal Workers Union says the material is particularly objectionable to the company's immigrant workers." See also the New Zealand Herald.
December 1, 2003 -- Dow Jones has reported that "regional chiefs of the world's four major air express carriers combined Monday in a display of solidarity to lobby China's government ahead of the release of a new draft postal law. DHL Worldwide Express Inc. (DHL.XX), FedEx Corp. (FDX) TNT Express Worldwide, United Parcel Service Inc. part of the Netherlands-listed TPG NV (TP) group and United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) have joined forces to take on China Post, the country's state-run monopoly postal service and industry regulator. Coming together as the Conference of Asia Pacific Express Carriers, or CAPEC, they hope to convince China's policy makers to adopt international standards for defining universal postal services and push for an independent industry regulator."
December 1, 2003 -- DMNews has reported that "an integrated campaign from the U.S. Postal Service has generated a 5 percent response rate and increased awareness of direct mail among small businesses, the USPS said. The postal service sent a direct mail solicitation to 100,000 small businesses the last week of September, asking whether they wished to receive a free CD-ROM titled Mailtown USA, which offered information about starting a direct mail campaign." This, by the way, is an EXCELLENT piece of work.
December 1, 2003 -- Stuff.co.nz has reported that "some posties are objecting to delivering a New Zealand First anti-immigration circular they say is offensive and objectionable. The Postal Workers Association (PWA) has written to NZ Post asking for delivery of the circular to be stopped. It has also written to the Human Rights Commission seeking advice on the circular's legality, and posties' rights and obligations under the Human Rights Act."
December 1, 2003 -- The Big Spring Herald has reported that "as the holiday shopping season signifies longer hours and bigger work loads for area retailers, the same is true for the United States Postal Service and its army of carriers and clerks."
At the same time, Scoop.co.nz has reported that "New Zealand First has suggested that Mike Treen of the Auckland Postal Workers Association concentrate on delivering the mail instead of becoming involved in politics on behalf of the Labour Party."
December 1, 2003 -- As noted in Newsday, "with Thanksgiving behind you, start thinking season's greetings and stamps - holiday stamps, year-rounders and "semipostals" that double as postage and fund-raisers."
December 1, 2003 -- The General Accounting Office (GAO) has released the following reports: (1) Postal Pension Funding Reform: Issues Related to the Postal Service's Proposed Use of Pension Savings. GAO-04-238, November 26. (2) Postal Pension Funding Reform: Review of Military Service Funding Proposals. GAO-04-281, November 26.
December 1, 2003 -- As the Charlotte Business Journal has noted, "the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, or Check 21, which was signed into law on Oct. 28 and promises to have a dramatic effect on banking operations. The legislation will allow banks to remove paper checks from the check collection or return process and replace them with an electronic image, and it will take effect in October. BofA will be able to cut down on the $94 million it currently spends on inbound and outbound check movement. Whitehurst says the bank has gotten a head start on Check 21. Employees no longer get their paper checks returned in the mail."
December 1, 2003 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that "TPG, Dutch postal group, on Sunday said its poorly performing logistics units were back on track and added that it was considering offering to run the supply chain operations of Ahold, the troubled grocery group. Peter Bakker, TPG chief executive, also said he would make several significant announcements early next year about expansion in China."
December 1, 2003 -- ThisDayNews (Nigeria) has reported that "President Olusegun Obasanjo has directed the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) to ensure that all mails within the country were delivered within 48 hours against the present delivery time of 72 hours by the organization."
December 1, 2003 -- According to the New York Times News Service, "e-mail is everything a direct marketer could want -- fast, flexible and, most of all, cheap. It is, in fact, far too cheap. That makes it possible for marketers of all sorts to send lots of it -- even for products like miracle pills that only one person in a million buys -- until recipients are swamped with spam. The inevitable has happened. E-mail marketers are finding their electronic fields so despoiled and barren of paying customers that they must move on. But marketers need the Internet. Postal mail is becoming more expensive. Telemarketing is increasingly difficult because of the new national do-not-call list. And young people are shifting their attention from television to the Internet."