Postal News from January 2005
January 31, 2005 -- ClickZ has reported that "DoubleClick just expanded the range of the IP-based targeting capabilities it offers through an existing partnership with Digital Envoy. Advertisers can now target based on bandwidth or on Nielsen's Designated Market Areas (DMA), geographic regions originally intended to define TV markets. Bandwidth targeting supports rich media campaigns by identifying the individuals who can best handle their large file sizes. Digital Envoy can identify multiple connection types, including dial-up, DSL, cable, 'broadband generic' and 'T-1 or higher.'"
January 31, 2005 -- AllAfrica.com has reported that "TROUBLE is brewing at NamPost's Courier Services with contract workers, mainly long-distance drivers, demanding the annulment of their new contracts which they say were forced on them."
January 31, 2005 -- As Wired has noted, "Thanks to cellular and internet phones, anyone can make a call from anywhere -- and use any area code in the country. But the added mobility doesn't always bode well for businesses trying to operate in a messy world of multiple personal phones, calling numbers and area codes that differ from a person's home address. Some companies may ask what's the point of even having an area code? If anything, the invention of the mobile has been a headache for Domino's Pizza (DPZ). The fast-food delivery chain has an internal group of people looking for a technical solution for accepting cell-phone orders. Right now, most Domino's restaurants accept orders only from land-line telephones tied to a local address, to ensure that drivers make deliveries to legitimate homes." Here's hopin' zip code boundaries are safe from "blurring."
January 31, 2005 -- Strategiy has reported that "ARAMEX has revealed significant development plans for the region, including the opening of new logistics centres in Dubai, Cairo, Jeddah and Beirut and a major expansion of the existing facility in Amman. The company has also confirmed that it will use The World Mail, Express & Air Cargo Expo taking place in Dubai in March to spotlight its regional development strategy."
January 31, 2005 -- Manchester Online (U.K.) has reported that "THOUSANDS of homes and businesses are facing postal chaos today as Royal Mail staff go on strike at a major delivery office."
January 31, 2005 -- Business Day has reported that "South Africa's Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, through the Postal Regulator, has approved a 4.3% tariff increase in postal services for 2005. The South African Post Office (Sapo) applied for a general increase of 5.88% to their standard tariffs. The Minister approved a 4.3% general increase for implementation on April 1."
January 31, 2005 -- According to DM News, "The latest rumor is that the next postal rate increase may not break as many mailing budgets as people first thought. Again, that’s the rumor. The fact is that we still expect a rate case to be filed this spring. The fact is that John Potter has done an outstanding job cutting costs, reducing head count and managing operations at the U.S. Postal Service. The fact is that Standard mail was up 14 percent through the end of December and the USPS was $700 million above plan in net income. Will mailers see a double-digit rate increase in 2006 or a more modest (and digestible) 6 percent? We’ll know soon enough."
January 31, 2005 -- From the Federal Register: "This document addresses the solicitation of comments in a proceeding to consider potential changes to the Commission rules for considering functionally equivalent Negotiated Service Agreements. These comments will be used to evaluate whether improvements should be made to the rules to facilitate the Commission's review of future requests predicated on functionally equivalent Negotiated Service Agreements. Initial comments are due February 28, 2005; reply comments are due March 28, 2005."
January 30, 2005 -- OSDir.com has reported that "Czech Post relies on APOST, a customized system used by 20,000 employees for all postal operations. APOST had been running on a range of operating systems including DOS and Microsoft Windows NT, but reached a point where running in a proprietary environment was proving too costly. With a disparate environment across 3,400 locations, Czech Post was experiencing increased administration costs, as well as downtime and security issues."
January 30, 2005 -- As the Wall Street Journal has noted, "The expansive U.S. trade deficit took a big bite out of economic growth in the fourth quarter, the government reported Friday, while consumer spending remained relatively strong and inflation pressures were mild. The Commerce Department said that U.S. gross domestic product, the broadest measure of all goods and services produced in the economy, increased at a 3.1% annual rate in October through December, lagging the third-quarter's 4% growth and the second-quarter's 3.3% climb. It was the lowest rate of growth since the economy rose 1.9% in the first quarter of 2003."
January 30, 2005 -- According to the Freelance Star, "In the House, Northern Virginia's Rep. Tom Davis will return as chairman of the powerful Government Reform Committee. Davis indicated that his committee would tackle areas such as postal reform, executive-branch reorganization authority, the presidential appointment proc-ess, streamlining federal law enforcement pay and classification reform. What is less certain is how Davis will organize his subcommittees to achieve these goals. The organizational uncertainty in Congress also extends to the appropriations committees, which are vital to the funding of every federal program, agency and activity. Comreg, the communications industry regulator, is recommending that postcodes be introduced in Ireland, the only country in the European Union not to have them. An Post says it will not pay for the system, but one model favoured by the private post companies is based on lines of longitude and latitude and would not require fresh mapping of the country. In a report last week Comreg pointed out that the postal sector has never developed to the same extent as in other countries. Mail volumes per household are about half the EU average. In 2002, 196 items of mail were posted per head of population in Ireland, compared with 354 in Britain and 372 in Finland."
January 30, 2005 -- The Sunday Times (U.K.) has reported that "THE introduction of postcodes in Ireland is likely to mean a huge increase in the amount of junk mail put through the republic’s letter boxes. Experts say the lack of a postcode system is the only thing that has been holding direct marketers back. They say the experience of other countries suggests the amount of such mail received by households could double. As a result, any decision to introduce postcodes would almost certainly face spirited opposition. The Green party says that while postcodes do have certain benefits, it would oppose anything that treated citizens as consumers."
January 30, 2005 -- Pravda is carrying a story about "'The New Russian Postman: armed and dangerous.' According to a special decree signed on Friday by Mikhail Fradkov, Russian mail delivery personnel will soon be handed out firearms. Head of postal services, his/her deputies and some of the postal service personnel will have the right to carry a revolver or a gas gun. Guns will also be distributed among the postal personnel that deals primarily with financial operations. In addition, all postmen will be equipped with gas guns and electroshock devices. Now all they have to do is to learn how to use all this new equipment. Afterwards, they wil be able to protect themselves against robbers."
January 30, 2005 -- From the Business Newswire: "This time of year, Cupid’s helpers are working behind the scenes to get millions of roses and other flowers from South America to romantics across the United States in time for Valentine’s Day. One of those experts is UPS, which imported more than 14.8 million stems of cut flowers into the United States last year from South American countries such as Colombia and Ecuador. In just a 24-hour period, each stem is cut, packed and loaded onto a temperature controlled UPS aircraft heading to Miami. There, they clear customs and are distributed to florists and consumers across the country. Eighty-seven percent of all cut flower imports arrive in Miami."
January 29, 2005 -- Azertag has reported that "Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies and World Bank have prepared a project worth $17,5 million in order to develop postal system in Azerbaijan. The Minister’s advisor for postal matters Novruz Mammadov told AzerTAj correspondent that it is the first project of this kind to be implemented in the CIS. World Bank’s Board of Directors has already decided to allocate a lax credit at amount $12,26-million. The Ministry will provide the remaining part of money. The credit will go in three directions - structural reforms in the Azerpocht State Enterprise and improvement of services in the post offices; completion of the payment infrastructure; salaries of the project staff and advisors."
January 29, 2005 -- The York Evening Press has reported that "A postal service watchdog has added its voice to the chorus of criticism that followed a decision to close a seventh York Post Office. Postwatch Northern England said it would be pressing the Government to establish a better way of resolving disputes over post office closures."
January 29, 2005 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "The story that Exel might find itself on the end of a takeover bid was doing the rounds again yesterday - fuelled by the chief financial officer of a rumoured predator, who has hinted that a deal could be on the agenda. Speaking to analysts after the release of fourth-quarter figures on Thursday, Scott Davis, of UPS, said the parcel carrier had the financial firepower and management to undertake a big acquisition. Asked where the company's focus for deals would be, Mr Davis suggested logistics and freight-forwarding. Exel is arguably the global leader in contract logistics, while its airfreight forwarding business is one of the top three operators in the world. As such, Exel would certainly appeal to UPS, which is seeking to diversify into a broader range of services."
January 29, 2005 -- Japan Today has reported that "The ruling Liberal Democratic Party aims to convince the government to expand the scope of its control of postal operations even after privatization progresses in a bid to ensure the provision of uniform services nationwide."
January 29, 2005 -- The Postal Service has issued two new Customer Support Rulings, PS-319 and PS-320; and a revised Customer Support Ruling, PS-026, which will provide clarification concerning “checks” and whether such instruments constitute “personal information” for the purpose of determining whether matter may be mailed as Standard Mail or is required to be mailed as First-Class Mail.
January 29, 2005 -- Traffic World has reported that "Still seething from losing lucrative U.S. Postal Service business in 2001, passenger airlines want FedEx Express to pony up information about its postal contract. The airlines want the Department of Transportation to demand FedEx segregate mail volume from freight data. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics requires airlines to submit volume and revenue data about what they carry, including mail. Airlines and airports use the data for planning purposes and as fodder when they bid to carry USPS cargo. But Memphis-based FedEx, which carries more than half of the U.S. domestic mail, lumps the mail it carries in with its "freight" category on its quarterly reports to the BTS. Given the large volume of freight FedEx carries, BTS and passenger airlines say the aggregate number is meaningless when it comes to parsing out Postal Service information. The passenger airlines say that hurts them and shippers too."
January 29, 2005 -- According to Bob Levi, government relations director for the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S., "This past week, a rumor circulated on Capitol Hill, in the White House, and within the postal world, that USPS is considering a modest 6% across-the-board rate increase for 2006. The chitchat comes on the heals of mailer panic that the next rate case would call for a double-digit hike. Some of these mailers would have been stricken by a crippling 22% increase. There is a real fear among reform advocates that the good news will dampen the enthusiasm for reform. If the USPS numbers hold through December, the specter of a double-digit postal rate case will not muddy the waters over postal reform. The key White House and Congressional postal policy-makers would be able to focus their attention on the guts of the postal reform bill. That is, how to empower the USPS with a more appropriate and flexible rate-setting process, while protecting the mailing community from erratic and often crippling postage increases. At the same time, the rate case for the 2006 postage adjustment would highlight the unfairness of forcing the USPS to fund an escrow account for which there is no rational reason. The policy-makers must consider this issue. It will not go away."
January 28, 2005 -- Federal Computer Week has reported that "Corporate executives worry about their information systems responsibilities under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and U.S. Postal Service executives are no exception, said Robert Otto, chief technology officer at USPS. Otto said the agency will release a solicitation related to Sarbanes-Oxley sometime in the next week or two. The act is a top priority for USPS executives, he said. 'We will comply with it.'"
January 28, 2005 -- The National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C., has added a new feature to its web site in late 2004 for researchers of United States postal history. The State Postal History Registry lists contacts, links and other postal history resources by state. It is located on the Internet at www.postalmuseum.si.edu/statepostalhistory/.
January 28, 2005 -- Business Mailers Review has reported that:
January 28, 2005 -- The Polish News Bulletin has reported that "Fourteen investment fund societies (TFIs), of the 19 operating in Poland, have expressed an interest in selling their participation units via the network of post offices. Two or three TFIs stand a chance of being selected. Poczta Polska is completing its evaluation of the funds' offers. It says the margin it plans to charge would be similar to the margin charged by brokerage houses. The names of the chosen funds will be revealed in about two weeks' time. The units would be initially sold by 60 post offices in small and medium-sized towns."
January 28, 2005 -- FedSmith.com has noted that "The financial viability of the U.S. Postal Service is at risk because its business model is outdated and not sustainable, according to the Government Accountability Office. The Postal Service has made some progress, GAO stated, such as cutting costs and improving productivity. However, it remains unclear how USPS will realign its outdated infrastructure and modernize its workforce policies to achieve additional long-term productivity gains. Furthermore, GAO said USPS’ contention that it is using an evolutionary approach to transform its infrastructure and workforce has not been explained or communicated. As a result, many questions remain as to whether such an incremental approach will be sufficiently comprehensive, integrated, and responsive to the increasing pace of change in technology and competition affecting the Service’s core business. Without bold action and better communication, the Service risks falling short of achieving the major productivity gains needed to offset rising costs and maintain quality service and affordable rates."
January 28, 2005 -- Government Computer News has reported that "The Postal Service replaced all of its technology two years ago, reducing the number of servers to less than 4,000 from about 20,000. But now USPS chief technology officer Robert Otto wants to consolidate even further. Otto said yesterday that the Postal Service will release a request for proposals in February to trim the number of Unix servers and improve the operational support of those machines. USPS currently has about 1,000 Unix servers to go with about 1,200 infrastructure and 1,500 application servers. Otto said he also will be looking for help from the private sector in other areas, such as data warehouse management, systems development, remote device management and IT security. He said he would like to move more contracts to service-level agreements at a fixed cost and away from time-and-materials contracts."
January 28, 2005 -- ComputerWeekly has reported that "Logistics firm Parcelforce Worldwide has improved driver productivity by 20% after rolling out route planning and scheduling software. Parcelforce replaced a route planning system based on Excel spreadsheets with software from Paragon and cut route planning time for its 2000-vehicle operation by 90%."
January 28, 2005 -- The DMA has told its members that all this talk about percentages of rate increases expected from the next postal rate case is just "speculation." With statements from postal officials that, absent legislative relief, the mailing community could expect a double-digit increases, estimates rumored to be as high as 15 percent to 18 percent, on average, spurred discussion and ensuing rumors of the likelihood that the Postal Service would propose phasing the next rate increases over several years in order to avoid stunting the business mailing industry’s nascent recovery. However, it is important to emphasize, for now, that as was the case with previous scenarios, this most recent speculation is just that: speculation. The ultimate outcome is intertwined with postal reform legislative proposals, including the disposition of the existing escrow provision and questions of how quickly the Postal Service and, in turn, postal rate payers will be required to cover long-term, unfunded liabilities." Be sure to read the latest White Paper on postal reform and projected postal rate increases.
January 28, 2005 -- TerraDaily has reported that "Postal workers in the southeastern French city of Saint Etienne refused to do their rounds Thursday after they were refused extra pay to cope with the biting winter cold, employees and management said." Sounds as if they need a dose of "postal warming."
January 28, 2005 -- The Squamish Chief has reported that "Canada Post is moving ahead with a consultation process to find out how you want to receive your mail. Moving to superboxes allows Canada Post to accommodate unlimited growth in the community."
January 28, 2005 -- According to Business World, "Ireland has been slammed by Brussels for its limited progress in promoting competition across the economy. Other than some action on postal services and the electricity market, the Commission saw "little progress" in addressing competition issues in the economy."
January 28, 2005 -- The BBC (U.K.) has reported that "Postal workers in Weston-super-Mare are preparing to strike after failing to reach a pay agreement with managers. Workers claim they have not received a pay rise, promised when the second post was phased out. But the Royal Mail says the increase is linked to productivity targets, which the Weston office has failed to reach. Postal workers nationally were offered an extra £26.28 per week to compensate for the increased workload."
January 28, 2005 -- The Mercury News has reported that "Responding to the growing economic clout of Hispanics, Bank of America announced Thursday that it would eliminate fees for transferring money from the United States to Mexico for all of its customers nationwide by the end of the year. Historically, remittances often have been made through risky, non-bank routes and often have been lost to theft, graft and corruption. A Mercury News investigation in 1998 found that millions of dollars of remittances to Mexico never arrived because of crooked postal workers, corrupt police and unscrupulous money changers, mostly in Mexico."
January 28, 2005 -- According to Novosti, "Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has signed a resolution allowing postal workers to carry and use weapons, reports the national Government's press center." See also MOSNEWS.
January 28, 2005 -- The Daily Post (U.K.) has reported that "A POSTAL union last night hit out over Royal Mail plans to collect letters just once a day from rural Welsh boxes. Up to 1,600 post boxes in the country lanes of North Wales could be affected by the proposals. Last night the scheme was described as "another nail in the coffin of rural communities" by the Communication Workers Union. It fears postal jobs will be cut and is calling for the Royal Mail review to be scrapped.
January 28, 2005 -- The U.S. Department of Labor has reported that "The United States Postal Service Syracuse Processing and Distribution Center has earned membership in the prestigious "Star" Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)."
January 28, 2005 -- The Associated Press has reported that "UPS Inc., the world's largest shipping carrier, said it is implementing a management hiring freeze and will work harder on reducing costs as it reported disappointing fourth-quarter results that included weaker than expected domestic ground volume. The Atlanta-based company also said Thursday that while it expects strong earnings and overall growth in 2005, its U.S. ground volume is only expected to rise 2 percent to 3 percent, which would be below the 3.5 percent the economy is projected to grow this year." See also Reuters and the Wall Street Journal.
January 27, 2005 -- Investment & Pensions Europe has reported that "A Swiss MP who last month questioned finance minister Hans-Rudolf Merz on the Pensionskasse Post postal scheme has said he is prepared continue the debate. Lustenberger, a member of the Christian-Democratic Popular Party CVP, pointed out last month that the scheme had not published the balance when it spun off the public employees’ pension fund in 2002. That scheme has been known as PUBLICA since 2003. Lustenberger argued during a session on PUBLICA that any private pension fund would have been required to give a clear statement of its assets when it started. The MP asked when the fund would publish its balance - and to what extent the federal council and parliament would exercise the role of supervisors. Lustenberger told IPE he was expecting an answer to his queries during the next parliament session, in March."
January 27, 2005 - Uni has reported that it "has attacked the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development for supporting a postal privatisation in Japan that threatens postal and financial services in many rural parts of the country. The Paris-based OECD - in its 2005 Economic Survey of Japan - recommends selling off the profitable postal savings (Yucho) and postal life insurance (Kampo) operations to the private sector. But no assessment has been made of the impact this will have on postal finances and the ability to deliver a universal postal service to all Japanese citizens (in rural as well as industrialised areas) at an affordable price."
January 27, 2005 -- From the PR Newswire: "Hop-on.com, Inc. has shipped an initial order of its Model 2145 wireless surveillance systems to the United States Post Office. The upgraded Model 2145, which debuted at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, utilizes a 2.4 GHz frequency for both its indoor/outdoor cameras and color LCD display."
January 27, 2005 -- UPS has reported a solid revenue gain of 10.2% in its fourth quarter and earnings of US$0.76 per diluted share, up 1.3% compared to the prior-year period. For the full year, revenue increased to a record US$36.6 billion while net income climbed 15%. Consolidated revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2004, rose to US$9.84 billion, with strong double-digit growth reported by the international and non-package segments and a 6.6% increase by the U.S. domestic segment.
January 27, 2005 -- According to the Irish Independent, "AN POST is embroilled in yet another industrial tussle which looks set to seriously damage the semi-state company's future prospects despite yesterday's interim settlement to refer the SDS closure details to the Labour Court next month. The management have been quick to direct by diktat and when that does not work to engage in general staff suspensions. It's a far cry from the sort of 'sophisticated' human resource management practices which evolved in the later decades of the last century."
January 27, 2005 -- AFX Europe has reported that "Massimo Sarmi, chief executive of the Italian post office, may be a possible substitute for AEM SpA's chairman Giuliano Zuccoli, whose mandate is up for renewal at the group's annual general meeting scheduled April 29 or May 5, the daily Il Sole 24 Ore said without giving a source. The daily said Sarmi is officially a candidate to become an AEM board member and noted that his mandate at the post office expires this year and that he is well appreciated by Milan's town hall."
January 27, 2005 -- The Bismarck Tribune has reported that "Color the Northern Plains Commerce Centre brown, as in the color of the trucks and uniforms of the nation's top package mover, United Parcel Service. The Bismarck City Commission at its Tuesday meeting chose UPS-SCS (SCS referring to a UPS division that designs shipping systems) as the NPCC's logistics consultant. Last week an NPCC committee heard proposals from UPS and TranSystems, the nation's second largest package shipper, on why they should be chosen logistics consultant for the project. The review committee unanimously recommended UPS for the job."
January 27, 2005 -- Japan Times has reported that "The government will ensure that a uniform level of rural postal services is maintained when it formulates its privatization program, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Wednesday. But in answer to a query from a Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker in an Uppoer House plenary session, Koizumi did not clarify whether the privatized entities should be legally obliged to undertake the universal services of postal savings and life insurance. "As for (uniform) postal delivery services, the (privatized) entity (in charge) will be legally obliged to continue to provide them," Koizumi said, indicating this entity would receive preferential treatment over actual private-sector firms seeking to enter the mail delivery fray."
January 27, 2005 -- BtoB Online has reported that "The Direct Marketing Association on Tuesday sent a memo to members of its Government and Postal Affairs Committee saying the expected 2006 U.S. Postal Service rate increase "may be as low as 6%." The memo, sent by Jerry Cerasale, the DMA’s senior VP-government affairs, said the USPS’ finances are in better shape than expected. Cerasale said the USPS in March might request a 6% across-the-board rate increase with implementation on Jan 1, 2006. This would be an expedited rate case, and USPS would be looking for a settlement from mailers, he said."
January 27, 2005 -- According to one writer for Wired, "It's been said that Americans will put up with anything - as long as it doesn't involve waiting in line. And as I wasted half a day mailing a gift this past holiday season, I asked myself why that sentiment doesn't apply to the US Postal Service. In the age of instant communication, with trillions of dollars crossing borders in nanoseconds and grandmas sending email, why do post offices even exist?"
January 27, 2005 -- The Financial Times has reported that:
January 27, 2005 -- DM News has noted that "Nonprofit direct mail readership has increased to 59 percent, up from 53 percent in 2003, according to a study released Tuesday by Vertis. The results were part of Vertis' Customer Focus 2005: Direct Marketing study, which tracks the effect of direct marketing in various industries. The study is broken into subsets focusing on the nonprofit, financial, insurance and automotive industries. A survey of 2,000 adults was conducted in August and September."
January 27, 2005 -- Business World (Ireland) has reported that "An Post has had to put off plans to close its loss making SDS parcels division next Monday. The postponment comes as a result of its acceptance last night of a National Implementation Body plan to head off industrial action in the postal services. The company has also lifted the suspension of 68 workers who had been refusing to co-operate with the run down of the operation." See also Online.ie.
January 27, 2005 -- RTE Business (Ireland) has reported that "There is broad support for the introduction of post codes in Ireland and they would improve our competitiveness and help Irish businesses become more efficient. So says regulator ComReg, which has overall responsibility for the smooth operation of the postal service. Chairperson Isolde Goggin says the consensus seems to be that post codes would bring more efficiency for businesses. She said they were important for business such as utilities, for incidents such as repairs."
January 27, 2005 -- According to the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) in its most recent reoprt on federal programs "at high risk":
The Postal Service (the Service) has made significant progress in improving its financial situation and implementing transformation initiatives to improve its financial viability since its transformation efforts and long-term outlook was designated as high risk in 2001. Several of its key achievements in the last 2 years include debt reduction of $9.3 billion, net income of $7 billion, productivity gains of 4.2 percent, the elimination of accumulated deficits, and reductions of about 45,000 in career employees. In addition, postal pension reform legislation was enacted to address a projected overfunding of the Service’s pension obligation. The Congress also made progress in considering postal reform legislation, which, although not yet enacted, was approved by House and Senate oversight committees. However, key challenges remain, including generating revenues to offset declines in First-Class Mail volume, which generates revenues covering most of the Service’s institutional costs; addressing large financial liabilities and obligations; achieving cost savings and productivity improvements, in part by restructuring its infrastructure and workforce; and addressing human capital challenges, such as succession planning and credible performance-based compensation systems. Further, postal reform remains a challenge that will require enactment of legislation by the Congress and leadership by the Service to effectively carry out its transformation.
January 27, 2005 -- Today's Trucking has reported that "The Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Council of Canadians have asked Ontario's Superior Court of Justice to declare Chapter 11 of NAFTA null and void in response to a $200-million claim against the government by giant U.S.-based courier company UPS. UPS claims federal subsidies for Canada's public mail system gives Canada Post an unfair advantage over private-sector courier companies. The Crown Corporation also owns 94 per cent Purolator Courier -- a 1,300-unit parcel delivery fleet that competes directly with UPS and Fed-Ex. The union claims the NAFTA provisions cited by UPS in their suit threaten Canadian sovereignty and would damage Canada Post's ability to deliver cost-effective services across the country."
January 27, 2005 -- Japan Today has reported that "The government told the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that it will "seriously consider" the party's proposals concerning the government's planned legislation for postal privatization but stopped short of going into details when the two sides had their first negotiations over the matter Wednesday. The talks thus failed to satisfy the LDP, most of whose members are opposed to the government's policy of privatizing Japan Post in April 2007 by splitting the public corporation into four business units, party lawmakers said."
January 26, 2005 -- PostCom President Gene Del Polito has been named one of three vice-chairs of the Universal Postal Union's Direct Mail Advisory Board. Also named as vice-chairs were: Mr. Khaled ben Ma'youf Al-Otaïbi, Director General, Postal Services, General Directorate of Posts, Saudi Post and Mrs. Oksana G. Kutcheriavaia, Director of Marketing and Advertising, Russian Post. Mr. Everton Luiz Cabral Machado, Deputy Commercial Vice President, Brazil Post serves as the DMAB chairman.
January 26, 2005 -- Heard it thru the grapevine....The phone lines have been buzzing with an alternative rate case scenario. This one says that the USPS will seek a 6% across-the-board rate increase request in March 2005, with an eye toward moving the case to settlement, and a "regular rate case" seeking an additional 5% increase in rates which would be filed in 2006. The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers is telling its members that instead of filing a phased rate case, the USPS has decided to file two separate proceedings.
January 26, 2005 -- Ireland Online has reported that "The Government mediator the National Implementation Body (NIB) today called on An Post to lift suspensions of 68 SDS workers and on workers to postpone their strike. The NIB also requested the Labour Court to treat national pay rises as a priority when it brings the two sides together on February 11."
January 26, 2005 -- 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..
January 26, 2005 -- The Japan Times has reported that "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Tuesday he intends to talk out his contentious postal privatization plan with the ruling bloc so related bills can be approved by the Diet within the current 150-day session." See also the report by the Kyodo news service.
January 26, 2005 -- Ireland Online has reported that "Disruption to postal services is likely from later today due to a stand-off between An Post and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) over the closure of the company’s SDS subsidiary." See also the Associated Press.
January 26, 2005 -- The Universal Postal Union has announced that it will now disseminate Finland's postcodes on behalf of that country's postal service, giving business customers simpler and faster access to the Finnish postcode database in order to ensure the accuracy of their mail. An agreement signed yesterday with Finland Post authorizes the UPU to serve as sole access point for customers requiring Finnish postcodes. Under this agreement, customers of the UPU's Universal POST*CODE Database no longer need to sign a separate licensing agreement with Finland, with the UPU now serving as main contact point for this information. Similar agreements already exist with the Swiss and French Posts.
January 26, 2005 -- The Postal Rate Commission has posted on its web site a notice (Docket No. RM2005-2) that "The Commission is soliciting comments on the first use of the new rules [governing negotiated service agreements]. The comments will be used to evaluate whether improvements should be made to the rules to facilitate the Commission's review of future requests predicated on functionally equivalent Negotiated Service Agreements. Comments are welcome of a general nature, or that address specific procedural or data requirement issues. By this Order, the Commission hereby gives notice that comments from interested persons concerning the first use of the rules applicable to Negotiated Service Agreements are due February 28, 2005. Reply comments may also be filed and are due March 28, 2005."
January 25, 2005 -- According to the Daily Yomiuri (Japan), "Friction is bubbling within the Liberal Democratic Party over Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's dogged determination to press ahead with a set of bills to privatize the postal service despite staunch opposition to his plan within the party. Mikio Aoki, chairman of the LDP's upper house caucus, is leading the charge to derail Koizumi's postal privatization drive.
January 25, 2005 -- Business World (Ireland) has reported that "An Post has been given a deadline of noon tomorrrow to head off the threat of industrial action by its main staff union the CWU. After an emergency meeting today, the executive committee of the union set the deadline for reinstatement of 68 workers who have been suspended. After that, it says it will give effect to what it calls its "overwhelming mandate for industrial action to defend the members' interests"."
January 25, 2005 -- At the 2004 Bucharest Congress, member countries of the Universal Postal Union adopted an amendment to the UPU Convention and its Regulations authorizing postal administrations to exchange letter-post items containing flies of the family Drosophilidae used for biomedical research. The new Convention and Regulations, however, only enter into force on 1 January 2006. Scientists worldwide, who rely on stocks of these flies for biomedical and genetic research, are eager to use the international mails to exchange the flies as early as possible. As such, the UPU has agreed to amend its current letter-post regulations, dating from 1999, to admit the flies in the mail system as early as 1 May 2005, eight months before the new regulations enter into force. The regulations are binding on the 190 UPU member countries.
January 25, 2005 -- Financial Times Deutschland has reported that "German publisher Suddeutscher Verlag, which publishes German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, is to compete with German national postal services provider Deutsche Post. Through its logistics subsidiary Suddeutsche Zeitung Logistik, the publisher has already started delivering letters in the Munich area. The company hopes to expand its service in the next few months and will aim to gain more customers, notably companies and authorities, delivering their post at the same time as their subscription."
January 25, 2005 -- The Polish News Bulletin has reported that "The next parliamentary session will likely see the second reading of a resolution calling on the Sejm to commercialise Poland's postal service monopolist Poczta Polska (PP). According to an analysis that the Puls Biznesu daily gained access to, such commercialisation should take place as soon as possible."
January 25, 2005 -- The BBC Monitoring Service has reported that "Russian conscripts have been stripped of their right to free postal services. Starting on 1 January, the Federal Postal Service has introduced special envelopes for servicemen's letters, thus breaking one of the traditions of the Russian armed forces according to which soldiers never had to pay for the delivery of their letters. Now everything has changed and military units do not have free envelopes available. Army and navy conscripts can no longer send letters home and to their fellow servicemen for free. They have to either get special envelopes from their commanding officers or buy ordinary envelopes with their own money."
January 25, 2005 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Dutch postal and logistics firm TPG NV (TP) said Tuesday it is considering making a bid for a stake in Belgian's De Post/La Poste. Bids for a stake in Belgian's De Post/La Poste should be submitted for the end of February, Belgian press reported earlier Tuesday, citing the head of the Belgian postal company Johnny Thijs. TPG is also in the running for a 25% stake in Post Danmark for which it has submitted an official bid. The Danish government is expected to announce the winner early February."
January 25, 2005 -- According to News Shopper (U.K.), "A UNION says it has intercepted plans by Royal Mail to sell off Crown post offices. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) says post offices in Lewisham High Street and Rushey Green, Catford, are under threat. Both are directly owned by Royal Mail and the CWU believes privatisation could lead to a downgrade in services and their eventual closure."
January 25, 2005 -- The DM Bulletin (U.K.) has reported that "Clients of global data giant Experian now have access to more than 350,000 verified opt-in B2B email addresses through a partnership with Thomson Directories. Powered by Thomson Directories, Experian's new email marketing service enables clients to deliver business-to-business direct marketing campaigns by email with all contacts directly linked to Experian's National Business Database. Clients can now mount fully integrated multichannel direct marketing campaigns across email, direct mail and telephone through a single data source."
January 25, 2005 -- From the Market Wire: "Firstlogic, Inc. has announced the formalization of a dedicated team to sell, market, and support the specific data quality needs of federal governmental agencies, departments, and supporting organizations. The firm's technology is listed on the GSA schedule for software technology and services to improve the value and usefulness of information assets."
January 25, 2005 -- UTV (Ireland) has reported that "Postal services throughout Ireland are facing further disruption, with the suspension of 68 workers at An Post's parcel delivery company, SDS. The row erupted during talks at the Labour Relations Commission to finalise plans for re-integrating the parcel service into An Post." See also Business World and the Irish Independent.
January 25, 2005 -- According to Channel News Asia, "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was warned to be more humble by a key backer in his ruling party amid a simmering row over his controversial plans to privatize postal services. Mikio Aoki, who represents upper house lawmakers from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), told parliament that Koizumi must consult more rather than ram through his proposals that have divided the party. Aoki said. "It is necessary for you to be sincere and courteous, and show your humble attitude in asking for cooperation of others. That's your duty." [Editor's note: I can relate, Junichiro....I can relate....]
January 25, 2005 -- Le Figaro has reported that "French deputies took a vote on Friday regarding a draft bill which would allow France's postal services market, currently dominated by La Poste, to be opened to rival service providers by 2009. The bill would also allow the creation of a post office bank. The text was supported by the UMP-UDF coalition. It has yet to be voted by the Senate. If passed, the bill would end the monopoly of postal service operator La Poste on letters weighing more than 50g with effect from 2006. However, it would enable La Poste to form a banking subsidiary as from January of next year, offering property loans without preliminary savings."
January 25, 2005 -- The Financial Times has reported that "Senior aides to Junichiro Koizumi, Japan's prime minister, have hinted that the timetable for postal privatisation could be allowed to slip, opening up the possibility of flexibility in talks with the ruling Liberal Democratic party (LDP), many of whose members vehemently oppose postal reform. The prime minister has made privatisation of the post office, the biggest financial institution in the world, the centrepiece of his final two years in office, and has threatened to call a snap election if the LDP refuses to back his drive. A foretaste of the rocky time that Mr Koizumi may face during the next 150 days of the regular parliamentary session came yesterday when opposition members walked out of the Diet chamber in protest at his answers on postal privatisation."
January 25, 2005 -- The National Association of Major Mail Users (Canada) Publications Mail Council will focus on industry education, networking and sharing of best practices from within and outside Canada, that result in the cost efficient production and delivery of Publications Mail. For more information, contact email@example.com.
January 25, 2005 -- The White House has sent to the Senate the nominations of Carolyn Gallagher and Louis Giuliano for appointment to the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service and Tony Hammond for reappointment to the Postal Rate Commission.
January 25, 2005 -- As the Associated Press has noted, "Rain, snow and sleet won't keep the mail from being delivered. But mold? The post office in this small northern Iowa town has been closed since Dec. 8 after a black mold fungus called Stachybotrys was found in the building. Postal officials are looking at solutions, but they say the Otho post office won't open anytime soon."
January 25, 2005 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "FedEx said on Monday it was in talks with the French government about using the country's prestigious high-speed rail network to transport packages and freight from its Paris airport hub. FedEx, which uses Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport as its main European hub, hopes the government will agree to link up the high-speed TGV network to its facility but a deal is likely to take years to negotiate, FedEx officials said. FedEx officials said talks were still at an early stage.
January 24, 2005 -- The hot rumor at a recent mailers meeting was that the Postmaster General now was of the mind that the USPS is looking at filing a six percent (6%) average postal rate increase request with the Postal Rate Commission some time in March. This includes whatever the USPS would need to cover the expenses associated with an FY 06 escrow imposition.
January 24, 2005 -- Tanjug has reported that "The Serbian parliament completed Monday its debate in principle on the bill on postal services, which introduces market competition and liberalization and envisages the creation of an agency for postal services and integration in the European PTT system. All parliamentary parties except the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) supported the bill, describing it as revolutionary as regards competition, as it should lead to lower prices and better quality of service."
January 24, 2005 -- M2 has reported that "Finland Post Corporation (Suomen Posti Oyj) said on Monday (24 January) that it had combined nine of its information logistics subsidiaries under a new marketing name, Itella. Itella would combine some 1,400 workers in eight different Northern European countries under the same brand. The combined companies included Atkos and Elma Oyj Electronic Trading in Finland, Capella companies in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, Eurocom-Depora in Germany, Eesti Maksekeskuse in Estonia, Nacionalais Maksajumu Centrs in Latvia and Nacionalinis Atsiskaitymu Centras in Lithuania."
January 24, 2005 -- Heard it thru the grapevine....
January 24, 2005 -- Talk about the benefits of outsourcing....GovExec.com has reported that "Agencies saved $1.4 billion in fiscal 2004 by holding job competitions between federal employees and the private sector, according to the Office of Management and Budget. That figure, up $300 million from 2003, represents the projected savings over the next three to five years."
January 24, 2005 -- You may know him from his work on postal reform, but did you know that, according to Federal Computer Week, House Governemental Reform Committee chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) "has become one of the most influential people in the information technology community?"
January 24, 2005 -- The Daily Yomiuri has reported that "The government has entered the final stage of negotiations on working out a system that will in principle not require universal service for parcel delivery after the privatization of the postal services in fiscal 2007, government officials said Saturday. The universal service will cover only ordinary mail items, including postcards, the officials said. In other countries, universal service is usually required for parcel delivery, but the government decided against this because the door-to-door parcel service in the private sector is highly developed. The current system requires Japan Post to submit to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry a report on its parcel delivery fees before it raises them."
January 24, 2005 -- The Montreal Gazette has reported that "A challenge to the North American Free Trade Agreement gets underway in an Ontario court Monday, with plaintiffs arguing they are trying to protect Canada's public services. The challenge, launched by the Council of Canadians and Canadian Union of Postal Workers, arises from a $200-million claim against Ottawa by giant U.S.-based courier company UPS. UPS claims that Canada's publicly funded mail system amounts to an unfair subsidy that gives Canada Post an unfair advantage over private-sector courier companies. The UPS claim could damage Canada Post's ability to deliver cost-effective services across the country. And the plaintiffs argue the stakes are even higher than that since the NAFTA provision in question could allow private companies to challenge most any public service - even health care."
January 24, 2005 -- Bloomberg has reported that "Deutsche Post AG agreed to buy parts of KarstadtQuelle AG's shipping and delivery business to bolster sales as demand for postal services falls. The distribution and logistics assets being purchased generate 500 million euros ($654 million) in annual sales, and Deutsche Post's DHL Solutions unit will take over the business as of April 1, the companies said today in a joint statement."
January 24, 2005 -- The Financial Times has reported that "Senior aides to Junichiro Koizumi, Japan’s prime minister, have hinted that the timetable for postal privatisation could be allowed to slip, opening up the possibility of flexibility in negotiations with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, many of whose members vehemently oppose postal reform."
January 24, 2005 -- The DM Bulletin (U.K.) has reported that "Royal Mail has promised to improve its adherence to and awareness of competition law in its promotions, after an investigation by Postcomm upheld a complaint from AMP that two Royal Mail discount promotions from 2003 were anti-competitive. Postcomm's investigation concluded that in offering the schemes, Royal Mail contravened two conditions in its licence designed to facilitate competition. Each scheme gave selected catalogue and advertising customers a discount on posting additional items."
January 23, 2005 -- According to one rant in the Oregonian, "Catalogs, postcards and bogus letters are getting out of hand. It's as if direct mail realized it can never be worse than spam and said, "Time to put more fill in landfill."
January 23, 2005 -- Strategiy has reported that "Dubai will re-confirm its position as a key global trader in March by hosting The World Mail, Express & Air Cargo Expo Middle East & Africa, the first conference led exhibition of its kind to be staged in the region. Leading global organisations such as Deutsche Post, DHL, FedEx, Emirates Post and Emirates SkyCargo will address major postal, express and air freight issues. A major topic to be covered includes the liberalisation of the postal sector, a mammoth task for an industry which last year delivered 204 billion pieces of mail globally and employs six million people in India alone."
January 23, 2005 -- The Economic Times of India has asked "IF India's telecom networks can be opened to private companies, why should our postal system remain a virtual monopoly? State postal monopolies have been and are being wound up in dozens of countries from Sweden, Japan and Australia to the UK, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. But a mindless hangover from a socialist past makes the Indian state run a postal system whose losses rise while its work diminishes."
January 22, 2005 -- As The Economist has noted, "Technology and competition are putting huge pressure on the world's postal systems."
January 22, 2005 -- The latest issue of the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. governmental affairs newsletter has been posted on the NAPUS web site.
January 22, 2005 -- Here's one you'll want to check out off the link from postalnews.com.
University of Phoenix partners with USPS Note: In September, the University of Phoenix, a for profit company, paid the US Department of Education a $9.8 million fine, "the largest of its kind", for "hard sell recruiting tactics" that the Department said "range from illegal to unethical." -- Arizona Republic.
January 22, 2005 -- The Journal of Commerce has reported that "FedEx Custom Critical, the ground freight subsidiary of FedEx Corp. that specializes in emergency deliveries, is expanding its service region to include Mexico, including so-called 'hotshot' freight deliveries to and from Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. For each surface expedite shipment that involves Mexico, customers receive proactive communications and tracking from FedEx. Customers are contacted when the shipment is picked up, clears customs and when it is delivered."
January 22, 2005 -- From the PR Newswire: "Campbell-Ewald has selected TMP Worldwide, the world's largest recruitment advertising and yellow page advertising agency and a division of Monster Worldwide, as a partner in the continuing evolution of its highly successful Internet recruiting initiatives for the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve. In addition to the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve, Campbell-Ewald partners with a score of national brands, including ACDelco, ALLTEL, BISSELL, Chevrolet, Farmers Insurance, Michelin, OnStar and the United States Postal Service.
January 22, 2005 -- The Washington Times has reported that "A U.S. postal inspector has been sentenced in Camden, N.J., for a mail fraud scheme involving credit cards, the Justice Department said Friday."
January 22, 2005 -- According to Les Echos, "The French national assembly was preparing yesterday to sit late into the night so that MPs could finish their debate on the French government's controversial bill to reform the nation's postal services. Three days had been allocated for examination of the bill, which aims to incorporate into French law the 1997 and 2002 European Union directives on opening up the postal services market to competition. The debate has been held up, in particular, by the tabling of numerous amendments. Those passed include a guarantee that no more than 10 per cent of the population in any one departement or administrative region should be further than 5km away from the nearest branch of the French post office, La Poste. Another ensures that La Poste takes part in the preparation of the decree concerning the provision of a universal postal service in France. One of the rejected amendments, which was tabled by the assembly's economic affairs commission, obliged new players in the French postal services market to serve a substantial geographic area."
January 22, 2005 -- WebIndia123 has reported that "The country's postal service will present glimpses of its 150 years of existence showcasing the vast outreach and the multi-faceted activities of the Deparment of Post both in terms of time and space at the Republic Day Parade. The tableau will show a village letter box hanging from a tree on which a symbolic pigeon will be perched. The tableau also will depict wooden counters equipped with state of the art computers. The dramatic depiction of this journey through time is shown by a rotating cuboid carrying the set of four stamps released to commemorate 150 years of Indian Post. The last part has a hand, holding a scanner, which reads the barcode on the letter."
January 22, 2005 -- The Daily Yomiuri has reported that "In a policy speech to the Diet on Friday, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi expressed his firm determination to pass postal services privatization legislation and said he believed the privatization would mark a new page for Japan." See also the Asahi Shimbun.
January 21, 2005 -- The Troy Record-News has taken out after a deal the Department of Motor Vehicles had struck with Imagitas. Their complaint? Why...Imagitas arranges for advertising to appear in DMV mailings! And what does DMV get out of the deal? A bucket of money. So, let's see. The Troy Record-News is criticizing the DMV for using private sector-provided revenue as a fiscal offset for not raising taxes. Oooohh, I get it! Just as the Record-News takes advertising to mitigate subscription costs. Gosh, it isn't objecting there.
January 21, 2005 -- The Toronto Star has reported that "The mystery of the missing $275,000 in sponsorship money deepened yesterday when Canada Post announced that a search of its records failed to uncover any indication the Crown corporation ever received the expected federal cash."
January 21, 2005 -- The Times-Union has reported that "The business of selling electronic postmarks is wide open, though executives at AuthentiDate Holding Corp., the company developing the technology, concede a lot is still out of their hands. The Schenectady company wants to get its software to lawyers across the country, to eliminate the physical shuttling of hard-copy legal documents, but first more states must agree to recognize the electronic forms. AuthentiDate lost $15.7 million in fiscal 2004, which ended June 30, after a loss of $9.8 million the year before. The per-share loss was 59 cents, compared with 50 cents the previous year. But the company raised about $72 million in a private placement of stock last year. That's helping it develop the second generation of its U.S. Postal Service Electronic Postmark, which it first rolled out in 2002."
January 21, 2005 -- The Financial Times (U.K.) has reported that:
January 21, 2005 -- Reuters has reported that "State-owned postal operator New Zealand Post said on Friday it expected its joint venture with German-based global courier firm DHL to be valued at up to NZ$180 million. The 50/50-owned business, incorporating NZ Post's road and air express and logistics business including the brands CourierPost, Pace!, Skyroad and Contract Logistics, is being managed as a stand-alone company under directors from both parents."
January 21, 2005 -- In a letter to the editor of the Financial Times, senior Lexington Institute fellow Sam Ryan wrote that ""Universal service" should not be trotted out as a reason to maintain bloated, government-owned monopolies at taxpayer expense. As the European Union itself has recognised, the best solution to making national postal services more efficient is privatisation."
January 21, 2005 -- FinExtra (Canada) has reported that "Canada's Scotiabank is providing its online customers with access to epost, an electronic mail and bill presentment and payment service provided by the national postal service. Epost delivers bills, statements and other documents online for Canada Post."
January 21, 2005 -- As Japan Times has noted, "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, speaking at the Liberal Democratic Party's annual convention Tuesday, again expressed his resolve to privatize postal services, saying that "without constant efforts for reform, possibilities for Japan's development will be closed." Mr. Koizumi defines postal privatization as the "centerpiece" of his reform agenda. The party's action plan for 2005, however, makes no mention of "privatization" -- a sign that Mr. Koizumi's postal reform initiative is opposed by many members of his own party. The plan, adopted by the convention, merely says that "postal reform must truly contribute to the interests of the people."
January 21, 2005 -- Nikkei (Japan) has reported that "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, in a policy speech delivered before the upper and lower houses Friday, reiterated his intention to forge ahead with the privatization of the postal system, saying, "The relevant bills will be submitted to the Diet this April." He expressed hopes that they will be passed during the current Diet session."
January 21, 2005 -- Bloomberg has reported that:
January 20, 2005 -- La Tribune has reported that "The leader of France's national assembly, Jean-Louis Debre, yesterday decided to postpone the examination of 14,586 amendments tabled by France's biggest opposition party, Parti Socialiste, to the French government's bill to reform the post office, La Poste. The first reading of the bill began yesterday."
January 20, 2005 -- The Bangor Daily News has reported that "A new island air service has taken off at Knox County Regional Airport in Owls Head, providing essential service to several Penobscot Bay islands. The air service has secured a six-month contract from the U.S. Postal Service to deliver mail to North Haven, Matinicus and Vinalhaven, a contract with FedEx for those islands, and has obtained exclusive landing rights on Vinalhaven by vote of selectmen and at privately owned airstrips on Matinicus, Criehaven and Swans Island."
January 20, 2005 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that:
January 20, 2005 -- The Washington Post has noted that "Consumer prices rose faster than most workers' wages last year, as energy prices pushed inflation to the highest level in four years, the Labor Department said yesterday. Overall, the department's consumer price index, one of the most widely followed measures of inflation, was 3.3 percent higher in December than a year before. That was much faster than the 1.9 percent rate of inflation in 2003 and the highest since the 3.4 percent rate in 2000. Workers' pay also rose last year -- but more slowly than prices. After adjusting for inflation, average hourly wages for production and non-supervisory workers fell 0.8 percent -- the first such decline since 1994, Labor figures show."
January 20, 2005 -- According to the Memphis Business Journal, "United Parcel Service may have turned a corner on Wall Street, as the company's stock reversed a downward trend that began last week with an earnings warning."
January 20, 2005 -- From the Federal
Register: "The U.S. Postal Service has published a final rule that
allows sample copies of authorized and pending Periodicals publications to be
enclosed with merchandise mailed at Parcel Post or Bound Printed Matter postage
rates. Effective October 3, 2004.
January 20, 2005 -- Federal Times has reported that "The first pay raises for postmasters and other U.S. Postal Service managers under a new performance-based pay system will likely be larger than raises and bonuses under past systems, said postmasters’ representatives. Information showing how many managers will receive raises and how big those raises will be under the National Performance Assessment program is not yet available from the Postal Service. But the National Association of Postmasters of the United States said discussions with postmasters who have been told what their raises will be indicate that most raises will be larger than the 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent bonuses managers typically received under the previous Economic Value Added program."
January 20, 2005 -- The Toronto Star has reported that "Former Canada Post chairman André Ouellet claims he was kept in the dark for years about the Crown corporation's controversial involvement in the now-disgraced federal sponsorship program. Ouellet testified yesterday that, despite enjoying a close friendship with an ad executive who personally drummed up hefty sponsorship grants for Canada Post, he knew little about the money coming from Ottawa."
January 20, 2005 -- Transport Intelligence has reported that "Royal Mail has announced its intention to enter the German postal market once it deregulates in 2007. It plans to use its General Logistics Systems (GLS) parcels subsidiary, the third largest network in Germany. According to its Chief Executive, Rico Back, it hopes to use Deutsche Post’s downstream delivery network in much the same way as DPWN’s UK mail subsidiary presently uses Royal Mail."
January 20, 2005 -- GoUpstate.com has a nice piece on stamp collecting in the email age.
January 20, 2005 -- If this is of interest, then also check out Gibbons Stamp Monthly's piece on "An Introduction to Railway Station Postal Markings of Great Britain."
January 19, 2005 -- The Daily Yomiuri pleads: "Don't water down postal reform bill." Gee, you could say the same thing in the U.S.
January 19, 2005 -- As Stuff.co.nz has noted, "American companies with deep pockets and an even deeper interest in what goes on in Washington are footing most of the expected $US40 million ($NZ55 million) bill for US President George W Bush's inaugural bash. Rival express deliverers, FedEx Corp and UPS Inc, each donated $US250,000 to the inaugural committee. UPS says it has given generously to inaugurals before and spokesman David Bolger said the company is showing a bipartisan spirit. But UPS and FedEx have strong interests in trade, security and regulatory policies, like new shipping routes, overseas competition and the overhaul of the US Postal Service."
January 19, 2005 -- Team India has reported that "The postal department is being modernised with intallation of an electronic money order system and upgradation of customer care centres. Efforts are being made to put in place an electronic money order system through arrangments with banks. The postal department is using all the 150 VSATs for transmission of money order and on an average about 62,000 money orders are being sent daily through this channel.
January 19, 2005 -- The Jerusalem Post has reported that "Tens of thousands of Russian immigrants who receive national insurance pensions from their native country can now pick up the money -- a total of tens of millions of shekels annually -- at postal branches around Israel. This was made possible by an agreement signed Wednesday in Switzerland between Postal Authority director-general Yossi Shelley and Russian post office director-general Igor Sartzhov. Until now, the commercial banks had charged "unreasonable" fees for this service, the Postal Authority said, and the process was full of red tape, including having to periodically appear at the Russian Embassy to prove the pensioner was still alive.
January 19, 2005 -- WRAL has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is delivering to 57,000 flyers with photos of Gail Haddock-Dail and Heather Roberts to residents in 10 counties in eastern North Carolina. The two have been missing for more than a month. The women had been living in a motel prior to their disappearance because of a fire that forced them out of their home."
January 19, 2005 -- The UPS Foundation, which for 15 years has pursued a major initiative to alleviate hunger in America, today announced it was broadening that effort to address nutrition and obesity issues. The UPS Foundation’s new initiative, “The National Collaboration to Reduce Hunger and Improve Nutrition,” has been launched with the award of US$2 million in grants to eight different organizations.
January 19, 2005 -- As postal commentator Kate Muth has put it: To phase or not to phase....Now's the time to determine.
January 19, 2005 -- 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..
January 19, 2005 -- The Postal Service has issued the third in a series of new and revised Customer Support Rulings (CSRs), PS-318, that will assist in understanding the revised Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) standards that go into effect June 1, 2005, concerning the use of “personal information” in Standard Mail matter. This CSR will provide a clear example as to whether the mailing meets the test for including personal information in Standard Mail Because this CSR is written on the basis of the revised DMM language with an effective date of June 1, 2005, it contains links to the Federal Register of October 27, 2004 (69 FR 62578-62583), which announced the revised regulations. When a reader clicks on the links to the DMM language in the CSR, he or she will access the Federal Register notice. After June 1, the CSR will be revised to link to then current postal standards.
January 19, 2005 -- Smart Money has asked the question: "Is Brown the new Black?" In other words, now's the time to buy your UPS stock.
January 19, 2005 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "The Dutch government said Wednesday that it cut its stake in telecommunications operator KPN NV by selling about €1 billion ($1.3 billion) of shares, reducing its holding to 14%."
January 19, 2005 -- The Financial Times has reported that:
Royal Mail's monopoly of the postal market is starting to be eroded, as rival mail companies poach the group's biggest business customers.
La Poste urgently needs reform. As well as losing its monopoly, it also faces a shrinking market, eroded by e-mail and electronic payment systems. Its financial and technological performance lags behind leading European competitors, Deutsche Post and the Netherlands' TPG.
January 19, 2005 -- The Times of Malta has reported that "The Malta Communications Authority, as the independent regulator of the postal sector in Malta, yesterday published a consultation paper on the quality of service standards to be met by Maltapost plc."
January 19, 2005 -- ChannelNewsAsia has reported that "Postal services provider Singapore Post is continuing its diversification into financial products and services. SingPost has just signed an agreement to establish an exclusive life insurance distribution partnership with UK insurance giant Prudential."
January 19, 2005 -- 7News (Australia) has reported that "Rupert Murdoch has linked up with another giant of Australian business, TNT, in its bid to compete with Britain's state-owned postal service Royal Mail. Transport and delivery company TNT has entered Britain's letter market with its TNT Premier service which guarantees delivery in 48 hours and handles one million items a week. As its service expands and the market opens up, however, TNT and other private mail providers have complained about Royal Mail's "dirty tricks" and uncompetitive behaviour. Murdoch's pay TV network BSkyB is the latest of five major customers to defect from Royal Mail to TNT, including food distributor Booker and mail order firm Express Gifts, the British newspaper The Guardian reported." See also the Sydney Morning Herald.
January 19, 2005 -- According to DM News, "Internet retailer Overstock.com marked its best holiday shopping season yet, thanks partly to DHL, the global express delivery and logistics company said yesterday. With a record number of online holiday purchases, Overstock.com was flooded with last-minute orders late in the season from holiday shoppers buying everything from jewelry to consumer electronics, computers, home appliances, books and apparel. Overstock.com recently reorganized its supply chain to serve late-season shoppers, and it chose DHL as its primary delivery company for shipping merchandise direct to consumers nationwide. Overstock.com primarily uses DHL@home, an expedited business-to-residential delivery service."
January 19, 2005 -- The Montreal Gazette has reported that "Canada Post secretly agreed to forgo any profits from a $1.2-billion post office modernization deal in Lebanon until its private-sector partner, SNC-Lavalin Inc., earned a 24-per-cent return on its investment, documents show. Even though Canada Post's expertise was crucial to the 12-year Lebanese contract signed in 1998, the crown corporation had no equity stake in the project. Only after the Montreal-based engineering giant had earned the 24-per-cent return on its investment in startup costs would Canada Post become eligible to get a one-third share of remaining profits - a fact never disclosed to taxpayers or members of Parliament when the deal was announced with fanfare."
January 19, 2005 -- The Ottawa Citizen has reported that "A competition for advertising business at Canada Post may have been rigged to produce results that senior post office management wanted, the federal sponsorship inquiry heard Tuesday. Bernard Roy, chief counsel to the inquiry, suggested the tendering process was changed in mid-stream to favour three firms that had already done work for Canada Post, based on sole-source contracts rather than competitive bids." See also the London Free Press.
January 19, 2005 -- The Warsaw Business Journal has reported that "The government is coming under pressure to begin the commercialization of Poczta Polska (PP) from both the Sejm's Treasury and Infrastructure commissions."
January 19, 2005 -- The National Business Review (New Zealand) has reported that "New Zealand's biggest union, the Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union (EMPU), said Monday thgat tax cuts don't put money in worker pockets -- and warned that all workers should be " prepared to take action" to get substantial pay rises this year. The EPMU claims to represent nearly 50,000 workers in the manufacturing sector, including aviation workers, forestry workers, postal workers, media workers, the automotive industry and miners.
January 19, 2005 -- Federal Computer Week has reported that "U.S. Postal Service officials have awarded a three-year contract to I.D. Systems to provide wireless location-tracking of USPS' vehicle fleet. Unisys will provide help-desk services and user support as a subcontractor."
January 19, 2005 -- The Viet Nam News Agency has reported that "The Viet Nam Postal Savings Company (VPSC) of the Viet Nam Posts and Telecommunication Corporation plans to offer postal savings cards and telephone payment services on a trial basis this March. Postal savings cards will replace the current postal savings books, and help customers make withdrawals and deposits at all post offices nationwide. Coupled with the issuance of postal saving cards, the VPSC will provide a telephone payment service, which will offer customers the flexibility of paying telephone and mobile phone bills over the telephone."
January 19, 2005 -- Transport Intelligence has reported that:
Speaking at a gathering of European policy makers and business leaders in Paris, France, the CEO of FedEx, Fred Smith, urged the EU and the US to break down the barriers which currently exist in the aviation industry. He recommended that should a full ‘open skies’ deal not be possible at this stage between the two trading blocs, an all-cargo agreement should be considered as a first step along the route to liberalization. In respect to customs reform, Smith urged all countries to streamline their customs clearance processes to more readily facilitate global commerce and productivity. Smith also called for airlines to be able to fully own operations on both sides of the Atlantic. This would seem to be a major change of policy for a company which lobbied strongly against DHL’s expansion plans for its air express operations in the US on the grounds that it broke foreign ownership rules.
It has been reported that Deutsche Post World Net is in talks with Japanese state-owned express and logistics company Yubin over possible collaboration. DPWN has also stated that it would be interested in acquiring a stake in the company should it be privatised, giving it a stronger foothold in the challenging Japanese market.
January 19, 2005 -- The Daily Yomiuri has reported that "The government and ruling parties will soon start discussing outlines for a postal privatization bill. They should also hold further discussions on how to promote competition in privatization, especially regarding mail delivery."
January 19, 2005 -- The Jamaica Gleaner has reported that "THE ISLAND'S postal service has again come under scrutiny from foreign drug enforcement agencies as a report out of the United Kingdom said packages of crack/cocaine worth millions of dollars were seized in that country on arrival from Jamaica. According to a report carried by the South London Press newspaper, the London police intercepted a package containing hundreds of drinking straws in ornamental containers placed in a corrugated cardboard parcel and shipped from Jamaica through the postal system to a London post office."
January 18, 2005 -- From the PR Newswire: "I.D. Systems, Inc., a leading provider of wireless asset management solutions, announced today that it has won a contract from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to implement the company's Wireless Asset Net(TM) industrial equipment tracking and management system at USPS facilities nationwide. The contract has a minimum guaranteed value of approximately $4 million for a near-term deployment at eight major USPS facilities. Over the duration of the three- year contract, the USPS could deploy the system at up to 460 facilities of varying sizes."
January 18, 2005 -- According to postal commentator Gene Del Polito, "There are a number of direct marketing executives who can tell you very little about the postal dynamics of their operations, let alone tell you what's going on in the world of postal legislation and regulation that can significantly affect the manner in, and the cost by which, they do business." For more information on how to get involved, check the information posted on this site.
January 18, 2005 -- Accurate mail delivery is dependent on a complete, correct and properly formatted address. However, achieving this can be a difficult, costly, and time-consuming effort. Many companies throughout the mailing industry struggle with address data in nonstandard formats or are lacking the crucial instructions on proper formatting. Fortunately, the IDEAlliance has proposed a new standard for communicating address elements and the standardized templates necessary to properly construct the complete address. This new standard is the Address Data Interchange Specification (ADIS). Join Firstlogic and the IDEAlliance on February 2 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern (2:00 p.m. Central) for an important Web seminar on this new uniform specification for the domestic and international interchange of address data. Joe Lubenow of Lubenow and Associates and Firstlogic's Chris Lien will discuss how ADIS works and how it can reduce costs throughout the mailing industry. Register today at www.firstlogic.com/ADIS for this valuable seminar and take advantage of this opportunity to comment on this proposed standard before its formal release.
January 18, 2005 -- Shippers Newswire has reported that "Frederick Smith, chairman and president of global express company FedEx, urged European leaders Monday to lift protections on domestic air cargo markets as an interim step towards a comprehensive open aviation market with the United States."
January 18, 2005 -- Other tidbits from the Washington Post:
Some in Washington ask: If the U.S. Postal Service is really facing a crisis and is in desperate need of legislative reform, how come headlines such as these about the Postal Service aren't ablaze across the nation's newspapers?
January 18, 2005 -- As Forbes has noted, "Beset by aggressive competition from archrival FedEx and from DHL Worldwide Network, a unit of Germany's Deutsche Post, UPS last week surprised the markets by warning of lower-than-expected results for the fourth quarter when it reports on Jan. 27."
January 18, 2005 -- From the PR Newswire: "Firstlogic Inc., the recognized global leader of data quality and postal automation software solutions, and Component Software Nordic today announced expansion of a distribution agreement between the two companies."
January 18, 2005 -- From the eMediaWire: "Varsity Logistics, Inc., the pioneer of integrated shipping solutions for the IBM iSeries, announced the successful completion of the annual UPS and FedEx shipping rate update. To ensure Varsity’s customers were ready to go live with the new rate change, rate and manifest updates were available for electronic delivery or via mail, well in advance of the effective date of January 3, 2005."
January 18, 2005 -- The Asbury Park Press has reported that "A group of Lacey residents dismayed by the high cost of sending care packages to people serving in the military are seeking a reduced postal rate for items sent to troops. It's a worthy idea, and one they've begun pitching to Rep. H. James Saxton, R-N.J. He and Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J. , should work to get such legislation passed quickly."
January 18, 2005 -- According to The Gazette, "Former Canada Post president Andre Ouellet was a hands-on manager who had a finger in many of the projects managed by his executives while at the helm of the crown corporation, a former official said. Ouellet resigned last July after an audit found he circumvented the corporation's hiring rules, meddled in contract tendering and flouted expense account rules. He ran up $2 million in travel and hospitality expenses without receipts in the eight years he spent at Canada Post. At the same time, it is alleged he directed contracts to Liberal-friendly firms. He quit after the firing of two other heads of crown corporations who were criticized in auditor-general Sheila Fraser's audit of the $250-million sponsorship program."
January 18, 2005 -- The Asahi Shimbun has reported that "The long-anticipated battle between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party over postal privatization appears to have fizzled out even before the first punch was delivered. The stage had been set for an all-out war in the Diet between the prime minister, who had stacked his Cabinet with reform-minded individuals, and the resistance forces in the LDP determined to maintain the status quo. Some had expected the fight to be so fierce that a snap election would be called. But now, Koizumi has made moves toward a compromise over his long-held pet project, apparently motivated by the need to stabilize control over the government."
January 18, 2005 -- CBC News has reported that "Canada Post on Monday increased the price of sending a domestic letter by one cent to 50 cents. It was one of a number of postage rate increases, including international mail and packages, announced last year."
January 17, 2005 -- According to Techweb, "Seven out of 10 teenagers and young adults are surfing the web with broadband connections, which have become a driving force behind the increasing amount of time they spend online. 55 percent of young people were watching less TV than the same period last year, because they were spending more time online." This could motivate a significant shift in where advertisers commit their marketing dollars.
January 17, 2005 -- The Business Times has reported that "SINGAPORE Post Limited on Monday announced the appointment of Lau Boon Tuan as its group chief executive officer effective Feb 1. Mr Lau, who will also join the SingPost board as a director, will oversee the postal services group, retail and financial services, finance and business development groups, as well as corporate support functions."
January 17, 2005 -- UPI has reported that "France Monday kicked off a week of labor unrest expected to bring thousands of disgruntled workers to the streets. On Tuesday, French postal workers take to the streets against proposed legislation to allow European plans to liberate EU postal services. "France is set to experience an unrest which, unfortunately, the country has made a specialty of in the heart of Europe," the country's conservative Le Figaro newspaper wrote in its Monday editorial."
January 17, 2005 -- Transport Intelligence has reported that "UK post office regulator Postcomm has received a complaint from three companies to which Royal Mail gives access to its downstream distribution operations. Express Limited, TPG Post UK Limited and UK Mail Ltd allege that the Royal Mail’s offer of zonal pricing to another company contravenes one or more of Royal Mail’s licence conditions." See also the DM Bulletin.
January 17, 2005 -- AFX Europe has reported that "Royal Mail Group PLC wants to enter the German letter market via its GLS Holding unit once Deutsche Post World Net AG's delivery monopoly ends in 2007, Rico Back, chief executive of the GLS unit told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview. Back told the newspaper that Deutsche Post mail carriers should be required to deliver mail from other postal firms from 2007, the newspaper reported. Though there is no guarantee this will occur, such a system already exists in the UK. There, the Royal Mail charges rivals a fee of 18 cents per pre-sorted letter delivered by its own mail carriers. Deutsche Post uses this service in the UK, but it does not reciprocate in its domestic market, Back told the newspaper."
January 17, 2005 -- According to Hoovers, "In an era of global commerce and worldwide shipping, UPS is one of the planet's biggest players, with operations in more than 200 countries and territories. Some of the 13.6 million packages and documents shipped each day are bound to go astray, especially when they cross international borders."
January 17, 2005 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Japanese Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said Monday he believes that privatizing the nation's postal system will aid the government's coffers by creating new tax-paying entities.
January 17, 2005 -- ArtDaily has reported that "The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum announced that it received a donation of $50,000 from Dr. Edward Dauer and his wife, Joanne Dauer, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The contribution will support the museum’s ongoing efforts to present “blockbuster” philatelic exhibits. These exhibits offer exciting and rare philatelic materials that otherwise would not be available for viewing by the general public."
January 17, 2005 -- Japan Today has reported that "The government organized a meeting of cabinet ministers and Japanese and foreign luminaries Monday at Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's office to promote its plan to privatize Japan's postal services. Some 40 people took part in the conference to discuss Japan's postal privatization strategy, including postal services privatization minister Heizo Takenaka, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Taro Aso, and Klaus Zumwinkel, chief executive officer of Deutsche Post AG. The German postal company was earlier privatized."
January 17, 2005 -- Strategiy has reported that "Siemens Logistics & Assembly Systems Group, through its subsidiary SD (Middle East) LLC, a leading regional player in material handling automation, postal automation and electronics assembly systems has announced that it had witnessed unprecedented growth in fiscal year 2004."
January 17, 2005 -- As the Associated Press has noted, "Every time researchers send vials of the living flies, their eggs or larvae to overseas scientists, they break an international postal agreement that forbids mailing most live insects among about 190 participating nations. The postal accord was written early in the 20th century before fruit flies earned a key role in genetic research. It says only "live bees, leeches and silkworms" and "parasites and predators of injurious insects" can be sent overseas."
January 17, 2005 -- USA Today has reported that "Many CEOs believe philosophically in offshoring — the practice of outsourcing jobs to foreign countries where labor costs are cheaper — but few have been brave enough to publicly say it. Being in favor of exporting jobs is radioactive. Enter Uwe Doerken, 45, who stepped down last year as DHL's executive chairman after leading its globalization efforts for 13 years. DHL is a package delivery company known for its yellow planes, trucks and envelopes. It acquired Airborne in 2003 to launch an invasion of the USA and challenge UPS and FedEx in one of the world's hottest industries. DHL, with headquarters in Belgium, is a subsidiary of Deutsche Post, the privatized German postal service. Its 170,000 employees serve 220 countries and territories."
January 16, 2005 -- The Troy Record has reported that "The state Department of Motor Vehicles signed a contract with Imagitas, a Boston-based marketing company, to print and mail vehicle registration renewals. In exchange, the company includes advertisements from private companies in the envelope. DMV Spokesman Joe Picchi said the state expects to save between $300,000 and $500,000 a year in printing and mailing costs and is expecting the state's cut of advertising revenue to be more than $100,000 this year."
January 16, 2005 -- The Holbrook Sun has reported that "Old Colony Hospice received a wonderful gift to start off the New Year - a $25,000 grant from The UPS Foundation, the charitable arm of United Parcel Service. The donation will serve to underwrite the streamlining of the patient admission process via technology. Admission nurses will be trained to use their new computer notepads in documenting medical details when admitting a patient to the hospice program."
January 16, 2005 -- The Sunday Mirror (U.K.) has reported that "A MASSIVE 61 per cent of first class letters failed to arrive on time in the run-up to Christmas, according to new figures. However, almost 90 per cent of second class items hit Royal Mail's targets and were delivered within three working days. The findings by consumer group Postwatch come as post bosses rake in more than £1million a day profit."
January 16, 2005 -- As Herald.net has noted, "There was a time when FedEx ruled the night sky. Its aircraft flew the uncluttered airways over the United States with only the occasional red-eye passenger jet for company. That was in the beginning, and things change. FedEx became a verb, and sending packages overnight across an entire continent eventually became commonplace. FedEx attracted competitors - UPS, DHL and the U.S. Postal Service, most visibly - and expanded its ground delivery capabilities to meet the demands of its customers."
January 16, 2005 -- According to Globes Online, "The “Yediot Ahronot” Hebrew daily reports that the Israel Postal Authority is planning to enter the securities field, and has already published a tender to buy a computer system for securities. The Postal Authority is also planning a tender to choose a broker to manage the bond business of its customers."
January 16, 2005 -- The Nation has reported that "Bangladesh Postal Department has started experiencing shrunk income. The Director General of postal service released this fact recently. He also made the wide spread use of emil responsible for it....Make the postal service easily available and very quick. Stop time consuming service. Give training to the employees and staff to make them more efficient, service oriented, public and welfare oriented. Give them incentives and motivation to be realistic and real service oriented in the greater interest of the nation."
January 16, 2005 -- The latest issue of PostCom's Post Ops Update is available on this site. Topics covered in this issue include: information on USPS APPS rules, verification and acceptance issues, visibility issues, penalties for failure to comply, bundle integrity concerns, how to monitor bundle quality, the use of clear strapping, and other operational concerns.
January 16, 2005 -- Nikkei.net has reported that "The government will likely limit or totally eliminate the need to pay consumption tax by three of the four private companies established as part of postal privatization in 2007. Under postal privatization, four companies -- one in charge of mail delivery and another responsible for postal insurance, in addition to the two mentioned above -- will be established under the postal holding company. Up to some 100 billion yen in consumption tax is expected to be levied annually on fees paid by the mail, savings and insurance firms to the one administering post office operations. The government is considering giving preferential treatment to the three firms because it will be difficult for them to pass on the cost of the consumption tax to their customers."
January 15, 2005 -- The Daily Breeze has reported that "In a move it says few costumers will notice, the U.S. Postal Service has finalized plans to close its large Marina del Rey processing center and move operations to a facility in South Los Angeles. New technology allows the post office to process more mail in less space, making the Jefferson Boulevard plant redundant, spokesman Larry Dozier said.
January 15, 2005 -- Les Echos (France) has reported that "Daniel Bouton, the head of French bank Societe Generale and chairman of the French banking federation (FBF), said yesterday that the only option for the future French postal bank would be privatisation. Mr Bouton predicted that the debate regarding the privatisation of the postal bank would begin in two to three years. This reflected the fears of trade unions. The government bill regarding the regulation of the postal system is to be examined by the national assembly between January 18 and January 20."
January 15, 2005 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "The Post Office was accused yesterday of undermining its own network of sub-post offices with demands for huge levies and restrictions on the services branches can offer. Convenience store owners, many of which have recently taken over local post office services, said the demands by the state enterprise that they pay large commissions from their other commercial activities to the Post Office were a restrictive practice that could drive many to close the sub-post offices in their shops."
January 15, 2005 -- Mail, express and logistics company TPG will operate globally under the brand TNT for all its activities from 2006. If approved during the General Meeting of Shareholders, the statutory name of the group (and the name of the share listed on the stock exchange) will be changed on 8 April 2005 to TNT N.V. The group presently employs more than 160,000 people and serves over 200 countries. Operating under one brand will increase the recognition of the group worldwide and allow for more efficient communication on the various services.
January 15, 2005 -- Kyodo has reported that "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will stress postal privatization as a "most drastic and effective form of administrative and fiscal reform" in a policy speech to the Diet next week, government sources said."
January 15, 2005 -- The UN News Center has reported that "The Universal Postal Union (UPU), a United Nations specialized agency that is the world’s second-oldest international organization, got a new Director General today dedicated to keeping letters and parcels flowing smoothly around the globe even as the digital age is in full flight. Edouard Dayan, a veteran French postal official, took over from outgoing Director General Thomas E. Leavey of the United States at a ceremony at the 190-member UPU’s headquarters in Berne, Switzerland, declaring his vision of an efficient, innovative, united and open organization, ready to use the tools of the new age."
January 15, 2005 -- The Star (Malaysia) carried the following from BANDA ACEH: "The city’s central post office head Baharuddin Muin is at a loss as to what to do with his load of over 3,000 pieces of undelivered mail. The pile of mail had been delivered to the largest post office here in Jalan T. Hamzah Bendahara 33 at 2am on Dec 25, just hours before an earthquake and tsunami struck the region. An estimated 80,000 people were killed in the tragedy. Now, instead of delivering mail, Baharuddin’s 10 postal trucks are being used to distribute clothes to displaced survivors living in scattered makeshift refugee camps over the past week."
January 15, 2005 -- According to the Indo-Asian News Service, "The tsunami disaster has hit one post office very hard - but it is located far away from the scene of devastation. Tucked away in a government building is the post office that caters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's office, its employees besieged by thousands of letters, bank drafts, cheques and money orders pouring in for tsunami relief. But the staff is not complaining, even though they are working without a break for hours and passing up on holidays. "We are very, very busy and overworked but we are managing," says Radhey Shyam, the postmaster of the Nirmal Bhawan post office that receives the contributions to the prime minister's national relief fund coming by ordinary mail. The post office is the conduit between millions of citizens, even foreigners, and the nation's top man - indeed anyone who writes to "Prime Minister's Office, New Delhi 110011."
January 15, 2005 -- The DM Bulletin (U.K.) has reported that "Postcomm is investigating the fairness of Royal Mail's provision of access to its delivery network, after other mail operators made allegations of unfair terms. The postal regulator has judged that the allegations merit a full investigation, which it has already started, as to whether Royal Mail has contravened any of its licence conditions. The complaint from Express, TPG Post UK and UK Mail was sparked after Royal Mail agreed to different terms for access to its downstream network with another unlicensed operator."
January 14, 2005 -- The latest issue of the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. e-newsletter has been posted on the NAPUS web site.
January 14, 2005 -- The Memphis Commercial Appeal has reported that "U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., D-Tenn., said Thursday he plans to introduce legislation when Congress reconvenes Jan. 25 to make sure care packages sent by U.S. Postal Service get to combat troops for free."
January 14, 2005 -- According to Bloomberg, "Deutsche Post AG Chief Executive Officer Klaus Zumwinkel said he's ``very satisfied'' with the 2004 business results and could ``more than confirm'' the profit forecast for the year after strong sales last month."
January 14, 2005 -- In his latest communique to union members, American Postal Workers Union President William Burrus said "We look forward to working with the new leaders of the Board of Governors and to helping them serve the American people,” said APWU President William Burrus. “We are hopeful that under their stewardship the USPS will meet the challenges ahead.” “We are mindful, however, of Mr. Miller’s public statements advocating postal privatization and his assertions that postal workers are overpaid,” Burrus said.
January 14, 2005 -- From the BusinessWire: "WageWorks(R), the leading provider of consumer-driven tax-advantaged spending accounts for health care, dependent care and commuting announced today that the United States Postal Service (USPS) is working with WageWorks to provide a commuter program to its entire career workforce. The WageWorks Commuter Program saves employees up to 40 percent on commuting costs by giving them a convenient way to pay for public transportation, parking and vanpool expenses with pre-tax income. Over 700,000 USPS career employees across the country will be eligible to participate in the program when the phased implementation is completed."
January 14, 2005 -- The Financial Times has reported that:
January 14, 2005 -- According to the Indo-Asian News Service, "Oman wants Indian industry to participate in the Gulf nation's ambitious privatisation drive as it continues to open up a host of key industrial sectors including...waste management projects, postal services, setting up of industrial estates, and the legal system.
January 14, 2005 -- Business Mailers Review has reported that:
January 14, 2005 -- From the PR Newswire: "WageWorks(R), the leading provider of consumer-driven tax-advantaged spending accounts for health care, dependent care and commuting announced today that the United States Postal Service (USPS) is working with WageWorks to provide a commuter program to its entire career workforce. The WageWorks Commuter Program saves employees up to 40 percent on commuting costs by giving them a convenient way to pay for public transportation, parking and vanpool expenses with pre-tax income. Over 700,000 USPS career employees across the country will be eligible to participate in the program when the phased implementation is completed."
January 14, 2005 -- From the Businesswire: "OPEX Postal Technologies, a division of OPEX Corporation, a major manufacturer of incoming and outgoing mailing equipment, announced today the release of RAF's Argosy Post(TM) Platinum v3.0 for installation on PTI transports."
January 13, 2005 -- From the Business Wire: "edocs, Inc. (http://www.edocs.com/), today announced that its software platform has been selected by CTT Portugal (http://www.ctt.pt/) to launch an electronic mailbox service encompassing electronic statement, billing and payment capabilities to all corporate, consumer and government customers of the Portuguese Post-Office. The new platform is part of a nationwide rollout that will provide customers with solutions for accessing all documents via a secure Universal Electronic Post Office Box (UEPOB), and will specifically provide the ability to view mail and pay invoices anywhere, anytime."
January 13, 2005 -- A notice of the decision of the Board of Governors on the recommended decision of the Postal Rate Commission on Repositionable Notes Provisional Service Change, MC2004-5, has been posted on the PRC web site.
January 13, 2005 -- The Central News Agency (Taiwan) has reported that "China Airlines (CAL) , Taiwan's largest carrier, dispatched a plane Thursday to transport relief materials to Medan on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, one of the regions hardest-hit by the Dec. 26 earthquakes and tsunami, according to a CAL spokesman. In cooperation with CAL, Taiwan's postal authorities are also offering a 50 percent discount in rates for international parcel post for Indonesian, Thai, Malaysian, Sri Lankan and Indian passport-holders sending packages to their home countries."
January 13, 2005 -- The Financial Times has reported that "KfW, the German business development bank, is offering Japanese retail investors a second bite at the privatisation of Deutsche Post by means of a bond exchangeable into the postal company's shares. KfW, which holds a 48.8 per cent stake in Deutsche Post, regards this as an innovative way of getting more DP shares into the hands of a more diversified investor base. Japanese investors acquired a small number of DP shares when it was privatised in 2000."
January 13, 2005 -- The Polish News Bulletin has reported that "By the end of January Poczta Polska (PP) Polish Post will select three or four investment fund management firms (TFIs), which will receive exclusive rights to carry out their sales at post office branches."
January 13, 2005 -- Le Monde has reported that "Employees of the French post office, La Poste, the state-owned French electricity and gas groups, EDF and GDF, and the French railways, SNCF, are all planning to go on strike early next week. La Poste staff, for example, are scheduled to stop work on Tuesday as the debate on the French postal services reform bill begins in the national assembly. The unions organising the strike are opposed to the legislation's provisions for the creation of a postal bank as well as the liberalisation of France's postal services market."
January 13, 2005 -- According to FederalNewsRadio, "Many rank and file postal workers, the folks who sort and deliver the mail, in the Washington area will be making their rounds as per usual on Inauguration Day even though the headquarters office at L'Enfant Plaza, and nine downtown substations will be will be shut-down for the day. Most other federal agencies in the immediate Washington area, and especially those in the city, will be shutdown on January 20th."
January 13, 2005 -- Kyodo has reported that "Japan Post will auction off 60 properties across the nation in a lump as part of its efforts to liquidate unnecessary assets in line with the government plan to privatize the public postal service operator."
January 13, 2005 -- Reuters has reported that "Dutch postal and logistics company TPG confirmed on Thursday it was in exploratory talks on a possible cooperation deal with Japan Post and also said it would consider a stake in Austrian Post if it came up for grabs."
January 13, 2005 -- According to DM News, "Total Card Inc., an independent service organization for Visa and MasterCard, reduced its return mail an average of 70 percent thanks to a system it implemented to clean postal data in real time."
January 13, 2005 -- The News Letter (U.K.) has reported that "Postal workers in Belfast are threatening strike action over what they claim is "an abuse of procedures" by their employer, Royal Mail. And yesterday the Communication Workers Union (CWU) branch secretary Bobby Weatherall warned: "If members in the Belfast branch stop, the whole of Northern Ireland stops." Disgruntled staff are claiming that management are harassing workers on sick leave and threatening to stop their pay."
January 13, 2005 -- Bloomberg has reported that "Japan Post will boost collaboration with TPG NV to find ways to hasten international deliveries and tracking mail and parcel deliveries on the Internet. The two companies may also establish a joint venture, build a network for delivering cargo by air in Asia and share capital."
January 12, 2005 -- According to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, CUPW and the Council of Canadians get their first day in court on January 24, 2005 in a challenge to the rules in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that allow foreign corporations like United Parcel Service to sue governments.
January 12, 2005 -- The Smithsonian's National Postal Museum has announced that an auction to sell a portion of the museum's deaccessioned surplus revenue stamps will be held Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Four Seasons hotel in New York City. Approximately 35,000 copies of the most valuable revenue stamp varieties from the museum's collection will be sold. Matthew Bennett International, an auction house based in Baltimore has been contracted by the Smithsonian Institution to conduct the auction.wwwy
January 12, 2005 -- From the PR Newswire: "Symbol Technologies, Inc. has introduced a new enterprise mobility tool targeted at the retail and transportation and logistics industries. The new Symbol MC3000 handheld is a small, lightweight, highly ergonomic, rugged mobile computer, designed for businesses seeking to increase productivity and flexibility from in-store and backroom data capture applications. The new MC3000 handheld is based on the latest Intel(R) XScale(TM) processor with intuitive Microsoft(R) Windows(R) CE .NET computing platform."
January 12, 2005 -- According to Shippers Newswire, "UPS lowered its fourth quarter 2004 guidance in response to slow growth of domestic package volume and higher than anticipated operating costs. UPS said it experienced an unexpected, "significant" drop in U.S. domestic volume between Christmas and New Year's Day."
January 12, 2005 -- As Mail & Jobs Coalition exec Peter Miller told the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, "In the Daily Tribune's alleged history of advertising mail, the Tribune quotes itself from 50 years ago and says that advertising through the mailstream was then described as a "problem" which was soon termed "junk mail." ("Holiday spam nothing new here," River City Memoirs column, Dec. 27) A problem to whom? Not to the public. Not then, not now. Advertisers will spend more than $50 billion marketing through the mails in 2004 - more than they spend on newspapers. Would that happen if mail were unwanted or ineffective? It's worth noting that the Gannett Co.- publisher of the Tribune - also owns the Clipper Magazine, a direct-mail advertising publication sent to more than 100 million homes annually."
January 12, 2005 -- 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..
January 12, 2005 -- The Washington Post has reported that "The Bush administration is preparing a budget request that would freeze most spending on agriculture, veterans and science, slash or eliminate dozens of federal programs, and force more costs, from Medicaid to housing, onto state and local governments, according to congressional aides and lawmakers. The tough budget for the fiscal year that begins in October is intended to signal President Bush's commitment to reining in the record federal deficit, and to satisfying conservative critics who note spending has soared since Bush took office. Bush will impose "very, very strong discipline" in his 2006 budget, White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce yesterday. 'That discipline will be there big-time.'" That may make getting a release of the CSRS escrow a bit tougher than it already has been.
January 12, 2005 -- According to the Kyodo news service, "Japan's postal services privatization minister Heizo Takenaka indicated Wednesday he would cite successful examples of postal privatization overseas to overcome opposition in the ruling coalition to the government's postal privatization plans. After examining the results of postal services privatization in Britain and the Netherlands, Takenaka told reporters the two nations "have furnished me with very useful information prior to a full-fledged debate in Japan."
January 12, 2005 -- Khaleej Times has reported that "In an unprecedented move, Emirates Post plans to float 40 per cent of its total equity towards the end of the next year, disclosed Abdullah Al Daboos, Director General, Emirates Post. The corporation announced that it achieved a record net profit of Dh123 million — 20 per cent more than it earned last year." See also AMEInfo.
January 12, 2005 -- The Times of India has reported that "A campaign to get the US postal service to issue a Diwali stamp has revved up ahead of the Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) meeting later this month. Just a few weeks after the CSAC rejected a stamp for late Rep. Dalip Singh Saund of California, Indian Americans hope it will approve a Diwali stamp they have been working on for the last four years. They have launched an Internet petition drive."
January 12, 2005 -- The State (SC) has reported that "For the first time in four years, the U.S. Postal Service is accepting applications for testing for a variety of jobs across the state. The service will accept applications from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4. The site numbers are 116298 for Columbia, 119302 for Charleston, 116311 for Florence and 116307 for Greenville."
January 12, 2005 -- Advertising U.K. has reported that "Breeze, the Manchester based mailing house, warns that a conflict is brewing between Royal Mail and creative agencies responsible for unusual shaped mailings. Design agencies - often accused of considering creativity over practicality - may be forced to compromise on irregular shapes and wacky designs as Royal Mail plans to introduce a discount system based on standardised sizing. The reason for Royal Mail's size-based costing proposals is this: while the majority of mail is machine sorted, items that are large or unusually shaped have to be hand sorted, which is more costly and time consuming. The overall effect of the new structure will be to increase prices for light but large, bulky or unusually shaped items and reduce rates for small or thin but heavy items. If approved, the new size-based structure could be in place by April 2006."
January 12, 2005 -- Expansion has reported that Spanish postal service operator Correos has signed an agreement with Telefonica, the Spanish telecommunications group. Under the terms of the agreement, Correos will accept payments from Telefonica customers at all 1,857 of its computerised branches throughout Spain."
January 12, 2005 -- Hoovers Online has reported that "UPS has announced the European launch of its Trade Direct Air and Ocean services which combine the freight and customs brokerage capabilities of UPS Supply Chain Solutions with final shipment delivery in the United States by UPS."
January 12, 2005 -- From the PR Newswire: "Postmaster General John E. Potter today applauded the efforts of Postal Service employees who last month dealt with severe weather just three days before Christmas to deliver holiday mail. Potter noted the weather challenge as well as other December achievements at this year's first meeting of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors. Despite a "perfect storm" which shut down the nation's transfer air cargo hubs and the rippling effect of heavy snow and ice storms that crippled commercial airlines and surface transportation networks, he said postal employees worked diligently to move the mail through the transportation network for delivery from the nation's Post Offices."
January 12, 2005 -- MaineToday has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service has approved $82 million for the construction of a new mail processing and distribution center on the Scarborough-South Portland line, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday. Construction will begin this summer and is expected to be completed by April 2007 on the 429,000-square-foot facility. The project also includes the renovation of an existing plant at the same site, officials said."
January 12, 2005 -- A latest copy of the National Association of Postal Supervisors legislative update is available on this site.
January 11, 2005 -- The Hartlepool Mail (U.K.) has reported that "Royal Mail staff are so unhappy they have not received the national pay increase of £26.28 that they are considering strike action."
January 11, 2005 -- The Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service:
Elected former OMB director James Miller III as its chairman and Philadelphia lawyer Alan Kessler as its vice chairman.
In his opening comments to the board, PMG Jack Potter said the USPS saw a small gain in all holiday-related mail. Potter apologized for service blips around the holidays, which were caused by ice and snowstorms that crippled the Midwest just before Christmas.
The board approved a resolution that raises the level of investment on capital funding to $25 million from $10 million before a capital investment needs to be brought before the board for approval.
The Governors also approved a Postal Rate Commission recommendation for a one-year test of "repositionable notes." The notes are self-adhesive 3-inch by 3-inch paper with messages attached to the mail that can leave a lasting impression and generate sales and repeat businesses for companies. The Board approved the implementation of the test effective April 3.
The Board also approved the Fiscal Year 2004 Comprehensive State on Postal Operations, including the Preliminary FY 2006 Annual Performance Plan.
January 11, 2005 -- From the BusinessWire: "In a surprise move, USPS Mailing Standards approved ON-CARD, a breakthrough direct mail solution, opening the door to a new marketing channel -- reverse telemarketing. Reverse telemarketing results when prospects are motivated to call a company, in contrast to traditional telemarketing where the company makes the calls. In the past, approvals for innovative mail solutions have typically taken two to five years. But the USPS approved ON-CARD in just two months based on its potential to drive sales of postage by creating a new class of direct marketing opportunities."
January 11, 2005 -- ShippersNewswire has reported that "FedEx Custom Critical Inc., a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. providing expedite shipment services throughout the United States, Canada and within Europe, is expanding its portfolio to include surface services to and from Mexico. FedEx Custom Critical provides to-the-minute pickups and deliveries with exclusive-use vehicles, with only one customer's shipment being transported on each vehicle. Customers are contacted when the shipment is collected, clears customs and finally delivered."
January 11, 2005 -- Dow Jones has reported that "Greece's privatization committee has approved a listing of the Greek Postal Savings Bank on the Athens Stock Exchange."
January 11, 2005 -- According to The Independent (U.K.), "A LOT has changed since the GPO was last in the telephone business. The Post Office, which is still 100 per cent government-owned, reckons it can grab a slice of this business. The posties reckon they can use the power of the brand and their 15,000- strong branch network to sign up one million households within three years, which would give them about 5 per cent of the market. A move into phones is a logical progression for the Post Office from home loans, car insurance and credit cards. It is also something which has been forced upon the organisation after the Government chose to remove a big chunk of its traditional market by paying state benefits direct into bank accounts rather than over the counter. BT is complaining as usual."
January 11, 2005 -- The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has reported that "Minnesota Diversified Industries (MDI) is counting its good fortune in the millions these days -- a $22 million contract from the U.S. Postal Service, meaning a $5 million increase in sales this year and production of 6 million plastic bulk mail totes. The nonprofit, which is based in St. Paul, has a mission of employing disabled and disadvantaged workers."
January 11, 2005 -- GovExec.com has reported that "The American Postal Workers Union and the Bush administration are facing off anew over labor rules in the long-awaited postal overhaul legislation. In a memo outlining priorities for new legislation, administration officials are advocating greater flexibility in negotiating worksharing agreements, which allow the agency to offer discounts to large mailers for presorting mail and other tasks normally done by postal workers. Union lobbyists oppose the proposed changes, which a spokeswoman for the APWU said would amount to the postal service subsidizing large mailers."
January 11, 2005 -- The South London Press (U.K.) has reported that "Telecoms giant BT has hit back at plans by the Post Office to launch its own residential phone service by accusing its newest rival of being "stuck in the dark ages". The postal organisation claimed call charges on its HomePhone service would be up to 20% cheaper than BT, with a single bill for both calls and line rental. The new service aims to sign up one million customers by 2008." See the Bloomberg update on this story, and the report by The Independent.
January 11, 2005 -- Les Echos (France) has reported that "Demonstrating French tobacconists in the southwestern region of Gironde seized a mail sorting centre on Friday to protest about unfair competition from French postal operator La Poste. The tobacconists said that local post offices are encroaching on their business by selling additional products such as mobile phone cards and greeting cards, while tobacconists obtain a profit margin of just 3 per cent from selling postage stamps, along with an allegedly meagre compensation for offering basic postal services when a nearby post office closes."
January 11, 2005 -- The Associated Press has reported that "The National Postal Museum has dropped plans to destroy an excess of revenue stamps and will sell them at auction -- though some of the stamps will be marked before being sold. Auctions of the stamps will begin next month, the museum said Monday."
January 11, 2005 -- UPS has announced a firm order for 10 A380 super-jumbo freighter aircraft made by Airbus.
January 10, 2005 -- In an effort to modernize our nation’s postal laws for the first time in 35 years, Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) and Rep. John M. McHugh (R-NY) are putting postal reform legislation back on the table in the 109th Congress. Davis and McHugh, along with Ranking Minority Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), have reintroduced H.R. 22, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. The legislation was originally crafted by the bipartisan team last year, providing well-refined tools to ensure that the U.S. Postal Service can adapt and survive in the competitive communications marketplace of the 21st Century.
January 10, 2005 -- According to the BBC, "The Royal Mail accidentally sent Christmas post bound for a South Atlantic British territory to Paraguay and the Caribbean, it has emerged. Thousands of pounds worth of presents meant for Ascension Island were sent to Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. To make matters worse, mail due for Ascension's major settlement, Georgetown, arrived thousands of miles away in Georgetown, Guyana. Royal Mail has apologised and says islanders will still receive the mail."
January 10, 2005 -- Transport Intelligence has reported that "GeoPost, the parcels subsidiary of the French post office, has officially launched its DPD network in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bulgaria, continuing its expansion across the Balkans. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, GeoPost has formed a joint venture with the Austrian company Lagermax who have close ties with the Balkan states and have an existing infrastructure in South-East Europe. Based in Sofia, GeoPost Bulgaria was founded as a joint venture between GeoPost Yurtiçi Kargo Servisi and City Express."
January 10, 2005 -- The Juneau Empire has reported that "When United Parcel Service announced it was going to make ground service available to places like Hawaii and Southeast Alaska, some people laughed, said company spokeswoman Christine McManus in Atlanta. But since the beginning of the year, UPS ground service has been a lower-cost option for people sending and receiving parcels, she said. Until Jan. 1, if a delivery couldn't get there by a ground route, customers had to pay for an air shipment, she said. Now, the ground shipment option for non-contiguous points in the United States will cover ground routes as far as they can before getting parcels to places by other means. The non-ground leg of the shipment will be reflected in the cost, McManus said. But there will be a savings. She said a one-pound package that would have cost $31 to send from Atlanta to Juneau could be sent by ground service for $25."
January 10, 2005 -- From the PR Newswire: "WALZ Postal Solutions, Inc., the nation's leading private provider of USPS Certified Mail forms and software technologies since 1985, today announced the launch of its automated WCM-Plus v6.0 CPA Edition software application, designed exclusively for CPAs and tax firms who use Certified Mail. With a preset Tax Agency Address Book containing most of the known Federal and State tax agency addresses, the WCM-Plus v6.0 CPA Edition offers a free, easy-to-use software application designed to automate and significantly reduce the time and labor costs normally associated with preparing and processing Certified Mail for accounting firms and CPAs."
January 10, 2005 -- According to Gibbons Stamp Monthly (U.K.), "The special exemption from VAT for Royal Mail stamps may be scrapped next year when the postal market is opened to private companies, possibly resulting in a 5p increase for fist class stamps. Documents recently released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that regulatory body Postcomm are currently in negotiations with the Treasury and the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI). A reduced rate of 5% on Royal Mail stamps has been proposed by Postcomm, but it is thought that the EU will insist that the full 17.5% will have to be added by the Royal Mail and all private companies entering the market in order to keep competition fair."
January 10, 2005 -- According to AFX Asia, Japan Post has requested that its successor firms be given full control over their management from the April 2007 start of the privatization process, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported.
January 10, 2005 -- Stuff (New Zealand) has reported that "Britain's Post Office this week will unveil plans to take on its offspring BT Group Plc with a new low-cost residential service, returning to the home phone market after more than two decades. The return by the Post Office, which ran the telecoms market until 1981, is part of its attempt to explore new revenue streams. Its postal business is under threat from email and the falling use of its network for welfare and other payments. The move will pose a fresh challenge to BT, whose dominance in the UK's home phone market is being increasingly challenged by a raft of new players including Carphone Warehouse, Centrica Communications and Sweden's Tele2."
January 9, 2005 -- Nikkei Net (Japan) has reported that "Shizuka Kamei, an influential Liberal Democratic Party member, said Sunday he may seek Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's dismissal as LDP head if Koizumi proceeds with postal privatization. Kamei, who has competed with Koizumi for the presidency of Japan's governing party, is among the party members staunchly opposed to privatizing the country's postal services. The Koizumi administration has strongly promoted the privatization. ''Privatization does not necessarily produce good results. Nobody wants it,'' he said. ''If Prime Minister Koizumi continues to push (for postal reform), he will certainly put himself in a situation where he will have to resign.'' Koizumi has said he plans to stay in power until his term as LDP president expires in September 2006."
January 9, 2005 -- AzerTaj has reported that "The World Bank is expected to make a $15 million investment to promote development of postal system in Azerbaijan."
January 9, 2005 -- As the Times Union has noted, "Napoleon claimed that an army moved on its stomach, but I suspect any modern general would agree that once the army gets to where it's going, mail is as essential as food for its survival. That's why the armed forces have always devoted almost as much effort to getting letters from home to the front as it has bullets and rations. Without the mail, soldiers and sailors can forget why they're over there. V-mail was intended to reduce the volume of mail. It consisted of a single sheet of gummed paper on which the sender wrote a message in the limited space provided, added the address and then folded it in half. When those one-page letters were reduced on microfilm, a single mail bag could carry 150,000 of them, thus saving tons of valuable shipping space for other war materials. At the receiving end, the microfilmed letters were "blown up" and printed on flimsy paper for delivery. According to the National Postal Museum, 556,513,795 pieces of V-mail were sent from the United States to servicemen overseas and about the same number back home."
January 9, 2005 -- The Times (U.K.) has reported that "POSTAL regulators are calling on the government to levy Vat on stamps that could add 5p to the cost of sending a first-class letter."
January 9, 2005 -- The Independent (U.K.) has reported that "Britain's postal watchdog is pressing for the carve-up of Royal Mail to encourage fresh competition into the market. Under Postwatch's proposals, Royal Mail would be divided into two companies, with separate chief executives. Under its plans for Royal Mail, Postwatch would like to see the state-owned company's marketing operations split from the pipeline business, which includes sorting and delivery. It argues that splitting Royal Mail in two would ensure that the fee rivals pay Royal Mail to access its sorting and delivery services would exclude marketing costs."
January 8, 2005 -- Die Welt has reported that "The international letter services of Deutsche Post, the German postal service operator, will now also undergo a change of name in Europe, from Deutsche Post Global Mail to DHL Global Mail. Through the name change for its foreign activities, the group aims to increase the significance of DHL further as its international brand. Domestic and international letter services in Germany will continue to be operated under the name of Deutsche Post. Management comments that the combination of the logistics and express delivery expertise of DHL and the company's international letter deliveries creates a unique product range. The division has a 14 per cent market share in cross-border letter delivery and operates direct connections in over 200 countries world-wide. Further development on foreign mail markets is planned to counteract the effects of the future deregulation of the German letter delivery market."
January 8, 2005 -- The Kyodo news service has reported that "The government has decided to reject the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's demand to legally require privatized postal savings and insurance companies to provide services nationwide."
January 8, 2005 -- Online.ie has reported that "The Minister for Communications has said that he hopes both sides in the on-going dispute at An Post will renew efforts to resolve their differences through the Labour Court soon. The row centres on the closure of the company's SDS service and non-payment of wage rises due under Sustaining Progress. Minister Noel Dempsey has said that he plans to hold more meetings with management and staff in the coming weeks. He has called on both sides to be pragmatic about the future of the national postal system. He said that both sides need to sit down and realise that changes have to be made and that competition is facing the postal industry and waiting around for change is a luxury that the organisation does not have."
January 8, 2005 -- The Duluth News Tribune has reported that "The Duluth Remote Encoding Center will close July 8 as part of a nationwide consolidation plan. Career postal employees at the Duluth Remote Encoding Center will be reassigned to other postal positions in accordance with labor contracts. Part-time employees will be counseled on how to find new employment."
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January 7, 2005 -- Information on the most recent revisions to the Domestic Mail Manual, organized by topic, and the MERLIN webpage redesign can be found on this site.
January 7, 2005 -- In the latest issue of the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. e-newsletter, said that "It seems like old times....Déjà Vu With John McHugh."
January 7, 2005 -- Hoovers has reported that "In an effort to get more people and companies to support Meals on Wheels, UPS tried to raise awareness by delivering meals in its famous brown trucks. Its employees usually deliver meals in their own personal vehicles and on their own time."
January 7, 2005 -- The Street has reported that "Shares of transport titans FedEx and UPS gained on upgrades from Morgan Stanley analyst James Valentine."
January 7, 2005 -- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told her constituents in an article published by the Magic City Morning Star that "As people change their calendars to the new year, they often plan for the upcoming year. I, too, am planning for the legislative year ahead. In the 109th Congress, which officially convened earlier this month, we will have a great opportunity to make progress on issues that are important to Mainers....Other issues I look forward to addressing in the new Congress include ensuring that Maine’s first responders receive their fair share of homeland security funding; reforming the Postal Service, which is the linchpin of a $900 billion industry and vital to the U.S. economy."
January 7, 2005 -- From the PR Newswire: "The United States Postal Service yesterday joined other federal agencies in signing the National Response Plan, as developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The National Response Plan establishes a standardized approach for all levels of government to work together, to protect citizens and manage homeland security incidents. All Federal departments and agencies that assist during a national incident will use this plan, whether from threats or acts of terrorism, major natural disasters, or man-made emergencies."
January 7, 2005 -- A tentative agenda has been set for the Great Lakes Periodicals & Standard Mail/Package Services Focus Group Meetings, scheduled for Feb. 16-17, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Hotel in Chicago. With no national meeting, this is the key focus group meeting of the year. Subjects that benefit both meetings have been placed in the afternoon of the Wednesday meeting. To register by phone, call (866) 479-2667, ext. SE5656. For more information, visit https://www.uspstracker.com/focus.
January 7, 2005 -- As the Los Angeles Times has noted, "While government employment didn't change much in December, payrolls rose by 172,000 in 2004. Most of the growth occurred at the state and local levels, especially in education. At the federal level, the U.S. Postal Service continued to shed jobs while employment in the rest of the government didn't change much."
January 7, 2005 -- A Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) workgroup was chartered and given the responsibility to identify new ways for improving the process of notifying mailers of irregularities in the preparation of mail they present to the USPS. Leveraging the technological innovations within the PostalOne!® initiative, this workgroup embraced the idea of using this system to create an electronic alternative to the hardcopy PS Form 3749, Mail Irregularity Reporting Form process. The Postal Service, as a result, will introduce a new, easy to use, and more complete Web-based version of the hardcopy PS Form 3749 as an enhancement to PostalOne!. Although it shares objectives with the paper 3749 process, electronic Mail Improvement Reporting (eMIR) goes way beyond paper by creating a national database of customer irregularity issues that can be effectively used to identify trends through systemic analysis of past preparation problems.
January 7, 2005 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that there are "FedEx Ground drivers who operate their own trucks and pay for their gas and other expenses. The company says these drivers are "independent" and has advertised that becoming a contractor is a way to "be your own boss." But some contractors have set off a high-stakes battle with FedEx by contending the company calls all the shots in their operations. They say rules such as the little-finger requirement show they're essentially employees of FedEx, with all of the risks and none of the benefits, such as health insurance and a retirement plan."
January 7, 2005 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "The number of sub-post offices forced to shut after cuts in government funding is likely to soar, the Liberal Democrats said yesterday. Hundreds of branches could close in addition to the 2,500 already scheduled for closure because large parts of the post office network were no longer viable, said Lib Dem spokesman Malcolm Bruce. He said the scandal of elderly people walking miles to their nearest post office would only get worse unless ministers recognised that post offices provided a valuable social service."
January 7, 2005 -- The Kyodo news service has reported that Japanese "postal services privatization minister Heizo Takenaka said Friday he will visit Britain and the Netherlands from Sunday to hold talks with postal officials in the two European countries where postal services have been privatized."
January 7, 2005 -- Japan Today has reported that "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi urged his cabinet ministers Friday to strive to enact laws to privatize state-backed postal services during the six-month Diet session to start Jan 21."
January 7, 2005 -- From the Federal Register: The U.S. Postal Service has published a "rule that changes the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) to eliminate the signature waiver option for Signature Confirmation service under DMM S919.1.10. The Postal Service is making this change because the signature waiver option is no longer necessary."
January 7, 2005 -- From the BusinessWire: "The U.S. Postal Service's Carrier Pickup project, supported by Aquilent, Inc., an IT solutions provider, was recognized recently as one of only seven government projects in the 2004 InfoWorld 100. Carrier Pickup is a new feature on USPS.com that allows customers to schedule pickups by mail carriers up to 90 days in advance. Learn more about the benefits of Carrier Pickup at http://usps.com/shipping/carrierpickup."
January 6, 2005 -- From the BusinessWire: "Honeywell has announced that the U.S. Postal Service in Southern California has awarded the company $20.6 million in contracts for building and energy-retrofit improvements, as well as the development of a co-generation system. The projects began in late December and are expected to be complete in approximately 12 months."
January 6, 2005 -- Writing in The Missourian, the Lexington Institute's Sam Ryan noted that "one of the biggest legislative efforts of 2004 must officially be declared a failure. It was an attempt to overhaul the U.S. Postal Service for the first time in 34 years, and would have saved mail users from the 15-percent stamp-price hike that will likely go ahead in 2006. Effective reform could also have saved Americans billions of dollars."
January 6, 2005 -- The Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service will hold its first meeting of the year on January 11 at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC.
January 6, 2005 -- In a press release, the office of Rep. John McHugh noted that "In an effort to modernize our nation's postal laws for the first time in 35 years, Rep. John M. McHugh (R-NY) is putting postal reform legislation back on the table in the 109th Congress. McHugh and Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA), Ranking Minority Member Henry Waxman (D-CA), and Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) have reintroduced H.R. 22, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. The legislation was originally crafted by the bipartisan team last year, providing well-refined tools to ensure that the U.S. Postal Service can adapt and survive in the competitive communications marketplace of the 21st Century."
January 6, 2005 -- As the American Postal Workers Union has noted in a recent communication to its members: "Republican victories in November’s congressional elections were reflected in committee assignments when the 109th Congress was seated on Jan. 4. Republicans gained a two-seat edge on major committees as a result of the party’s increased majority in the Senate, which now stands at 55-45. Changes to the newly renamed Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee could be significant for postal workers. The panel, chaired by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), is responsible for postal reform legislation in the Senate. It is now composed of nine Republicans and seven Democrats. In the previous Congress, there were nine Republicans and eight Democrats."
January 6, 2005 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "MAJOR PUBLISHERS, facing dwindling newspaper circulation amid stepped up competition from television and the Internet, are trying a new tack. The strategy: entice readers with smaller papers and lighter content, often free or at very low prices, in hopes that the paper will draw some ad revenue and readers will later "graduate" to paid newspapers. Established companies also face low-end competition from upstarts like Metro USA, which are going after the same readers. The new papers, usually in tabloid format, offer shorter news items and a higher proportion of features. They rely heavily on news services or a parent newspaper's staff, enabling very low-cost production. Their rise comes as for-pay dailies have seen flat and declining circulation: Five of the 10 U.S. daily newspapers with the highest weekday circulation in the six months ended Sept. 30, 2004, saw circulation declines, all of more than 1%. Three had increases of less than 1%; only two saw gains of more than 1%."
In a related story, PC Magazine's John Dvorak wrote that "the main reason I object to the piling high of newspapers is that the saturation effect of advertising has made it intolerable—not the newspapers piling up, but being inundated by advertising within those papers and confronted with far too much shotgun advertising from all sources. And that's what today's newspapers have become: Junk. Clutter. Who needs it?" Another genius who fails to understand the role played by advertising in today's economy.
January 6, 2005 -- The Guardian (U.K.) has reported that "The Post Office yesterday caved in to demands that it release details of its sub-post office closure programme and the whereabouts of local offices scheduled to close. The state enterprise finally acceded to a request from the Guardian for the list of offices due for closure by the end of March, rather than face being forced to disclose its plans under new freedom of information rules. Almost 2,500 offices have been singled out as part of a widespread cost-cutting plan. More than 2,000 have already been closed, and the remainder are due to go over the next two months."
January 6, 2005 -- The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany) has reported that "Deutsche Post, the German postal service operator, has been given the go-ahead by the country's antitrust authority for its planned acquisition of parts of the logistics activities of retail and mail order group KarstadtQuelle."
January 6, 2005 -- Transport Intelligence has reported that "TPG N.V., the owner of the TNT Express and Logistics brands, has completed the repurchase of 20.7 million shares from the Dutch government as announced earlier last year. The payment and transfer of the second and last tranche of 13.1 million shares took place according to plan for a price of €19.74 per share. TPG intends to cancel the 20.7 million shares repurchased following its Annual General Meeting. As a result of the sale of shares as well as the private placement of 57 million ordinary shares by the Dutch government – in total representing approximately 16% of the outstanding share capital – the holding of the state in TPG is now reduced to approximately 19%."
January 6, 2005 -- The Warsaw Business Journal has reported that "Polish Post (PP) will construct four logistics and sorting centers in 2005, which will be added to the existing two centers operating in Warsaw and Poznan."
January 5, 2005 -- Shippers NewsWire has reported that "DHL, a provider of express delivery and logistics services, has appointed Alison M. Brink vice president, marketing strategy, for DHL Americas. Brink was head of global marketing communications for DHL, based in Brussels, Belgium. Before that, she developed and managed brand communications strategy for DHL in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and in the Asia-Pacific region."
January 5, 2005 -- The General Services Administration (GSA) has announced the winners of its 2005 Federal Mail Best Practice Award winners.
January 5, 2005 -- UPS has announced that it will provide US$3 million in aid to those areas devastated by the tsunamis across Southeast Asia. UPS is donating US$2.5 million in in-kind services, US$400,000 in cash grants to relief organizations and up to US$100,000 in employee-matching contributions. UPS is airlifting much-needed medical supplies and other emergency relief items to Asia over the next several weeks. The company will provide lift to a designated list of professional disaster relief organizations. UPS is prepared to ship up to one million pounds of emergency relief supplies weekly via air, ocean and ground from Europe, Asia and the Americas. The UPS Foundation, UPS’s charitable arm, will donate a total of US$400,000 - US$200,000 to the American Red Cross Tsunami Relief Fund and US$200,000 to other emergency relief organizations.
January 5, 2005 -- According to The Economist, "ONE year ago, the advertising industry was still struggling to find its feet following the slump it entered in 2001. Some advertisers abandoned traditional ads for other forms of marketing, such as in-store promotions, direct mail or outdoor posters. Now, however, adland is bouncing back unambiguously, even if it is still far from business as usual. Television remains the most-powerful advertising medium, with a 38% global share of spending on major media in 2004. The internet is the fastest-growing advertising medium. What advertisers like about the internet is that the effect of marketing messages can be more easily measured. At its most simple, a company will know how many people who have seen its ad have clicked through to a website, and what proportion of those has made a purchase. Far more elaborate tracking and targeting systems for online advertising are emerging all the time. This is leading some of the world's biggest advertisers to demand better ways of measuring the return on their investment in all forms of advertising."
January 5, 2005 -- Business Week has reported that:
January 5, 2005 -- The Financial Times has reported that "Japan Airlines alleged on Wednesday that Japan Post used its monopoly bargaining power to squeeze airline fees amid revelations the country’s leading carrier and rival All Nippon Airways submitted identical bids to several tenders for mail delivery last year. JAL said on Wednesday that, far from colluding on prices, both it and ANA were being subjected to enormous pressure from Japan Post to slash prices."
January 5, 2005 -- The Asahi news agency has noted that "The hottest topic at this year's regular Diet session, due to be convened later this month, will be postal privatization, the centerpiece of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's structural reform agenda. Post offices are often indispensable for residents in rural places like mountain villages. The government's privatization policy also stresses the importance of maintaining post offices in depopulated areas. That makes it all the more important to scrap post offices in cities where there are too many of them and sell their assets to raise money necessary to keep afloat money-losing offices in rural areas. Postal services will eventually become unviable unless they are constantly reviewed and reinvented through flexible thinking in the private sector."
January 5, 2005 -- CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal) has reported that:
January 5, 2005 -- Transport Intelligence has reported that "TNT and DHL, two of the largest express and logistics companies present in the Asia Pacific region, have been at the forefront of supporting the relief operation. TNT has donated €225,000 of the funds raised by its employees in the Asia Pacific region in 2004 to the World Food Programme's (WFP) response to the Asian tsunami. In addition, TNT has made €1.5 million available for in-kind support to WFP's efforts. These funds will be used to cover the costs of transport, warehousing and any TNT personnel deployed in direct support of WFP in the region."
January 5, 2005 -- According to Direct Newsline, "Mailing industry groups were generally pleased that Rep. John McHugh reintroduced last year's stalled postal reform bill on the opening session of the 109th Congress Tues. But others warned that mailers must press the White House to clarify why it did not support the bill in the last Congress."
January 5, 2005 -- Suddeutsche Zeitung (Germany) has reported that "DHL Express, the logistics subsidiary of German postal service operator Deutsche Post, is planning to break into the market for trans-European combined shipping and rail transport services. The company is planning to operate a rail connection between Lubeck-Travemunde and Verona in collaboration with Lubecker Hafen-Gesellschaft (LHG), the company that operates Lubeck harbour. The train will run twice weekly and will allow around 130,000 tonnes of goods to be transferred from the roads to the railways while in transit between Scandinavia and southern Europe."
January 5, 2005 -- According to the Computer Crime Research Center, "Nigeria and Ghana have earned notoriety for web crime, according to officials of the Merchant Risk Council, a not-for-profit group that’s helping authorities track scams there and throughout the world. By now, online merchants have become wary of shipping merchandise to addresses in West Africa because so many customers in the region use stolen credit card information to make their purchases. But criminals are always on the alert for ways to circumvent fraud-prevention measures. Many in Nigeria have come up with ingenious schemes to dupe Americans into unwittingly cooperating with their rip-offs. Those schemes are known as “reshipping”
January 5, 2005 -- The Daily Yomiuri has reported that:
January 5, 2005 -- From the Press Release Network: "The International Digital Enterprise Alliance (IDEAlliance) today announced that a new release of its Address Data Interchange Specification (ADIS) is available for public comment on its Web site (www.idealliance.org/adis/) until February 17, 2005. David Steinhardt, President of IDEAlliance, commented, “Our members need tools to improve the efficiency of their publishing and mailing operations, and ADIS fits into that picture. ADIS can help improve address quality both in the U.S. and abroad by providing greater precision and control in storing, updating and presenting addresses”.
January 5, 2005 -- From the PR Newswire: "U.S. Postmaster General John E. Potter today called upon the more than 700,000 Postal Service employees nationwide to support disaster relief efforts for earthquake and tsunami survivors in South Asia. In a letter to all employees, Potter said, "Postal employees across the nation are well acquainted with the terrible toll in human suffering often inflicted upon those caught by natural disasters. We are often among the first to respond to people in communities hardest hit by disasters." In his appeal, Potter urged those who see fit to work with local disaster relief groups to provide financial support to survivors of this recent tragedy. He noted that representatives of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recommend cash contributions as the most effective way of providing relief assistance."
January 4, 2005 -- Rep. John McHugh (R-NY) has Mr. McHugh reintroduced his postal bill. It reflects the bill as reported to the full House last year by both the Government Reform and Judiciary Committees.
January 4, 2005 -- Posted on this site is a notice from the U.S. Postal Service, which is an update on the recent agreement for packages to Europe. One key change is the weight and size limits for countries on the European Parcel Group (Posts) network. Another consideration is the indemnity change to $500 maximum for Germany. Also, the routing of some packages for smaller countries and islands passes through larger countries first, then on to their final destinations.
January 4, 2005 -- UPS has announced the upcoming retirement of its chief information officer and senior vice president, Ken Lacy, and the appointment of Dave Barnes to succeed him. Download photo Barnes, 48, currently is the vice president of customer and operations application portfolios in Information Services, directing the technology development activities of approximately 3,000 of UPS’s 4,700 technology professionals. In succeeding Lacy, Barnes will join the UPS Management Committee, which directs the day-to-day management of the company.
January 4, 2005 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "Consumers spent $23.2 billion online during the holiday season, up 25% from a year earlier, according to a survey. Several factors drove the increase, including consumers' comfort level with shopping on the Internet, which continues to rise."
January 4, 2005 -- According to Bloomberg, "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said his top economic policy goal for 2005 is winning approval to sell Japan Post, the world's largest saving bank, allowing private companies to manage some of its $3.4 trillion in assets."
January 4, 2005 -- DM News has reported that "Postal reform likely will be on the agenda this year for the 109th Congress, which convenes today. A reason the bills may be reintroduced swiftly is that the leaders of the postal oversight committees have returned. Rep. Tom Davis, R-VA, chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, was re-elected, as were other House postal leaders, including Reps. John McHugh, R-NY; Danny Davis, D-IL; and Henry Waxman, D-CA. Waxman is the ranking minority member of the House committee. Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, chair of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, and Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-CT, the ranking minority member, were not up for re-election."
January 4, 2005 -- The Borneo Bulletin has reported that "THE Department of Postal Services yesterday informed that the delivery operation to the tsunami-affected countries such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Malaysia and the Maldives has been disrupted and "will take a long time to become available as normal". Meanwhile to countries such as Myanmar, Bangladesh, Kenya, the delivery operation will take a longer than usual delivery time."
January 4, 2005 -- Transport Intelligence has reported that:
January 4, 2005 -- InformationWeek has noted that "Establishing processes that support real-time information is a top business priority for many IT organizations in 2005. United Parcel Service Inc. has invested about $600 million in establishing and using real-time data and processes, says Jack Levis, portfolio manager of UPS's industrial engineering group. UPS ships more than 13 million packages each day throughout the world via a fleet of about 88,000 motor vehicles and more than 575 jets, and up-to-the-minute data is critical for managing such an expansive operation. In 2005, UPS will expand its real-time package-flow technologies; the improvements will cut the distance UPS delivery vehicles travel by more than 100 million miles each year and are expected to save the company 14 million gallons of fuel annually, Levis says."
January 4, 2005 -- BCC Software, a developer of high-performance solutions for professional mailers, has added an array of Suppression Services to the assortment of BCC Data Services that are available to users of Mail Manager 2010 and Mail Manager 2010 LE software. By using these Suppression Services prior to sending mailing jobs, mailers can identify and omit from their mailings recipients who do not wish to receive a specific offer, or may be unlikely to respond. This minimizes wasted mailpieces, while increasing projected response rates and improving overall return on investment.
January 3, 2005 -- Posted on this site you will find: "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Postcom Precepts for Postal Reform but Didn't Have the Time to Ask." In this piece, PostCom President Gene Del Polito states clearly that what is set forth is NOT meant to be an actual legislative proposal. Rather, it's meant to be simply a straight-forward articulation of key concepts that should serve as the basis for any future postal measure. An appropriate use of this paper would be to take these ideas and determine whether any legislative proposal addresses these point. In addition, it would be helpful to use these precepts to make sure there are no provisions in any legislative proposal that would vitiate these key, core reform ideas.
January 3, 2005 -- The Wall Street Journal has reported that "the U. S. economy will see modest but healthy growth of about 3.6%, subdued inflation and only slight rises in interest rates this year, according to a survey of economists."
January 3, 2005 -- The Arizona Daily Star has reported that "William Radcliff and the volunteers at the Postal History Foundation are not only celebrating postal history and stamp collecting, they are working to bring the educational benefits of the hobby to tech-savvy young people through a unique youth education program."
January 3, 2005 -- According to Reuters, "German state bank KFW will buy 12 percent of Deutsche Post shares from the German government worth 1.7 billion euros ($2.31 billion) next week, the bank said on Monday. KFW will warehouse the shares and sell them to stock market investors later -- the bank already has 36 percent of shares in the German postal and logistics giant. "It is planned that we will take over 12 percent of Post shares worth 1.7 billion euros from the government next week," a spokeswoman for KFW told Reuters. The government is selling the stakes to cover a budget shortfall."
January 3, 2005 -- As DMNews has noted:
January 2, 2005 -- According to Bill McAllister writing for the Daily Oakland Press, "When I recently asked the U.S. Postal Service to hold our mail during a vacation, I thought I was giving the federal government a simple task. After all, our carrier wouldn't have to worry about rain, sleet or snow deterring him from his appointed rounds. He could just skip our house for six straight days. Nonetheless, the Postal Service managed to misplace our mail. It found it a day later. But maybe it shouldn't have bothered. When it finally arrived, I began to realize why the Postal Service, that semi-independent federal agency with a civilian work force almost as big as the Pentagon's and a mission that predates the Constitution, may be in more trouble than its leaders recognize. The problem of disappearing mail isn't just about misplaced stacks of letters and catalogues. The mail we used to crave is vanishing from our mailboxes - because it isn't being sent anymore. Trouble is, as the President's Commission on the U.S. Postal Service reported last year, Aunt Minnie isn't writing many letters these days. Indeed, letter writers are a dying breed. More troublesome for the Postal Service's bottom line, business-to-business mail is also falling."
January 2, 2005 -- The Courier-Post has reported that "Customers of the U.S. Postal Service are entitled to refunds on Express Mail and international guaranteed letters and packages that failed to arrive at their destinations by the promised date. Severe national weather conditions on and around Dec. 22 slowed many postal deliveries during Christmas week when mail volumes were at their peak. UPS and Federal Express deliveries were also affected. Postal customers should check the delivery of their guaranteed mail by calling the postal service's 800 number or by checking its Web site."
January 2, 2005 -- The Daily Inter Lake has reported that "Some Kalispell post office employees Friday learned that their paychecks were lost in the mail. The U.S. Postal Service, though, made sure employees were taken care of, issuing money orders for all or part of their checks. The checks were expected to arrive from Billings sometime between Wednesday and Friday. When they still weren't in on Friday, employees began thinking of rent payments and other obligations, the worker said. Some of the checks arrived and some didn't, the employee said, adding, 'I don't know how they got lost.'"
January 1, 2005 -- The BBC (U.K.) has reported that "The Palestinian Central Elections Commission has warned against the danger of the Israeli Postal Authority announcing a strike on 9 January, which coincides with the voting day for Palestinian presidential elections [a number of post offices are to be used as polling stations in Jerusalem]."
January 1, 2005 -- From the PR Newswire: "Goffice.com announced today that it will mail free-of-charge letters and other correspondence to any postal address in the world to help earthquake and tsunami survivors and relief workers send word of their situation to loved ones that may not have email or telephone access. Those affected type their message over the Internet at http://www.goffice.com and follow the special prompts to create their Adobe PDF document, and Goffice will print and send it for free by United States Postal Mail anywhere in the world."
January 1, 2005 -- From the Canada NewsWire: "The Council of Canadians and Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) go to court later this month to challenge rules in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that allow foreign corporations to sue governments. The groups will argue that NAFTA rules usurp the authority of Canadian courts by putting the fate of policies, programs and laws at the mercy of secretive international trade tribunals. They believe that this arrangement violates basic principles of justice and the rule of law. The challenge is significant because it is the first time that a court will consider the constitutionality of international trade rules on investment that give foreign corporations greater rights than the people of a country."