Postal News from February 2009:
February 28, 2009
The Digital Journal has reported that "David Christopherson, New Democrat Canada Post Corporation Critic, is calling on the government to stop hiding a Strategic Review report on the future of Canada Post. New Democrat Canada Post Corporation Critic David Christopherson is asking the Federal government to make public a Strategic Review report on the future of Canada Post. “The Minister has had this report since mid-December,” said Christopherson. “This government must stop hiding this information and allow the public to see this document.”
The Times has reported that "Gordon Brown has been warned that his Labour enemies are plotting to exploit the row over Royal Mail privatisation to mount a new attempt to destabilise his leadership. Senior aides to the prime minister are alarmed that left-wing rebels protesting against plans to sell part of the postal service have been joined by ultra-Blairites hostile to Brown. One senior No 10 adviser said an “unholy alliance” was being formed that could damage the prime minister’s standing." See also Channel 4 News and the Press Association.
Bloomberg has reported that "U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said his government will spend 1.9 billion pounds ($2.7 billion) on the country’s post office network, to maintain the “universal service” obligation."
The Telegraph has reported:
The Postal Service has posted its Intelligent Mail presentations on RIBBS.
Press Release: "SPExpress, an Arizona based shipping and logistics company, announced today that they have acquired certain assets of Horizon Distribution Logistics (www.horizondist.com). Horizon Distribution Logistics, based in Phoenix, Arizona, provides commercial warehousing and distribution services primarily for the furniture, hospitality and construction industries. At year-end 2008, Horizon made a strategic decision to narrow the scope of their business by focusing on their core competencies. In doing so, Horizon elected to sell certain assets associated with their order fulfillment business and transition a number of their current customers to SPExpress."
The Letter Carrier Connection has posted a letter from Postmaster General Jack Potter to all postal executives urging them to "honor" the Postal Service's collective bargaining agreements.
The Press Association has reported that "Gordon Brown has taken on critics of Government plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail - urging them to face facts about the massive problems facing the postal service."
The Financial Times has reported that "The main postal workers’ union has rebuffed an offer from Royal Mail to pay to “modernise” its structures, ahead of talks next week designed to improve industrial relations at the state-owned postal operator. Difficult relations between managers and unions have bedevilled attempts to increase Royal Mail’s efficiency, which is still 40 per cent lower than its European rivals. More than 627,000 working days were lost to strikes in 2007."
The Association of American Publishers has reported that former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, who has served as President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers since June 1997, announced today that she will be leaving AAP on May 1, 2009 “to sail uncharted waters.” The AAP Board of Directors has chosen Tom Allen, a former six-term Congressman from Maine, to succeed her.
The Houston Business Journal has reported that "The United States Postal Service is marketing three local post offices for sale — the Houston General Mail Facility at 401 Franklin Street downtown, River Oaks Station at 1900 West Gray and Julius Melcher Station at 2802 Timmons Lane. The 16-acre facility downtown houses the Houston Processing & Distribution Center; Houston Main Post Office Retail and Post Office Box services; Business Mail Entry Unit; and administrative offices. The prime real estate is being offered with strings attached. A buyer would have to provide a replacement facility for the post office, and a place where retail services and post office box services could continue. The Postal Service is selling the properties for economic reasons — revenue is down due to the recession and declining mail volume."
On the Postal Regulatory Commission web site: The Postal Service's Integrated Financial Plans (FY08) (FY09)
February 27, 2009
The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:
The Associated Press has reported that "An annual convention of newspaper editors has been canceled so their publications can save money and focus on surviving the recession."
According to the Mailers Council, "President Obama's budget includes a proposal to increase the percentage of the health care premium active postal employees pay so that it would be equal to that paid by federal employees--a 13% increase. Currently postal employees pay 83% of their health insurance premium. Federal employees and postal retirees pay 80% of the premium. The employee share has increased in recent years through the collective bargaining process."
MSNBC has reported that "Connecticut Light & Power Company is searching for a second round of "missing" customer payments. The company now can't find payments that were mailed between Feb. 2 and 3, reports the Waterbury Republican-American. The postal service has already launched an internal investigation into nearly 700 missing payments that were mailed between Jan. 12 and 16."
IPE has reported that "The Postal Services Bill published this week by the UK government includes provisions for the secretary of state for business and enterprise (BERR) to establish a "new public scheme" into which members of the Royal Mail Pension Plan (RMPP) could be transferred into."
"USPS Intelligent Mail Barcode and Direct Mailing Industry: Rhetoric vs. Reality---Part 1," a postal perspective by Mary Ann Bennett of the Bennett Group has been posted on this site. She notes: "When listening to or reading statements from USPS officials, members of the mailing industry get the impression that they are being provided with everything they need to incorporate this new technology into their business offerings. Direct mail experts state the IMB “will have a colossal, positive impact on the marketing and billing/accounting functions of the company, to say the least. This is because – contrary to the expectation of many – the single most important feature of the IMB is not the postage discount, but the ability to track individual transaction documents as they make their journey through the USPS delivery chain.” That is the rhetoric. The reality of this statement is two-fold. First, the USPS has been mandated under Postal Reform to measure their delivery of the mail and to establish and (ultimately) meet delivery standards. Second, the “industry” did not ask to know the whereabouts of each and every piece in a mailing as it moved through the mailstream."
H.R.22, a bill to amend chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code, to allow the United States Postal Service to pay its share of contributions for annuitants' health benefits out of the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund now has 64 co-sponsors.
The Azerbaijan Business Center has reported that "State-run company Azerpocht (a company of the Ministry of Communications & Information Technologies of Azerbaijan) has announced a tender procedure for purchase of computer equipment within Financial Services Development Project. The tender commission informs that the tender was announced for purchase of 20 equipment names and installation works. Cost of tender participation is AZN 300. The cost of all proposals should provide $8,000."
KTUL has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is closing the post office in Cardin in Ottawa County. Postal officials say the Cardin Post Office will be open from 9 until 10:30 tomorrow morning then will close for good. Postal Service spokesman David Lewin says the decision to shut down the office is because the lease on the building is expiring and there are environmental issues."
From the U.S. Postal Service: "The USPS-UPS pilot program extending USPS Parcel Return Service (PRS) to participating UPS business customers (Link, 2/4) is under way. UPS has named the service “UPS Returns Flexible Access.” The pilot lets customers return qualified parcels with UPS or the Postal Service. These parcels have a label that combines elements of the UPS ground and Postal Service’s Parcel Return Service labels. This means that even if — at first glance — the label looks like it came from UPS, the Postal Service should accept it."
The Financial Times has reported that:
DI-VE has reported that "MaltaPost’s directors have confirmed that the company is still meeting the operational targets set at the beginning of the financial year and that there is nothing on the horizon which should derail forecasts."
According to the Worcester News, "Quite why public money can shore up the banks but not the postal service is difficult to fathom. The Royal Mail plan is hugely controversial and threatens a full-scale revolt against the Government by its own MPs, despite some of the pledges made yesterday. The bail-out of the banks and the sell-off of the Royal Mail add more weight to the crises that are slowly dragging this Government under and making it increasingly unelectable."
According to The Journal, "government pledges about the Royal Mail’s future following any partial sell-off were yesterday dismissed as only being worthy of “toilet paper”."
The Evening Standard has reported that "Gordon Brown is facing an ambush from furious Labour and trade union chiefs over Business Secretary Lord Mandelson's "snake-oil salesman" plans to part-privatise Royal Mail. In a clear signal that new concessions on the deal have failed to quell the growing revolt, Britain's biggest unions are to throw their weight behind rebel MPs when the Prime Minister addresses a policy forum tomorrow." See also The Mirror and the Financial Times.
The Ashland Times-Gazette has reported that "Postal Service employees question the agency's proposal to move a portion of the work completed in the Mansfield mail processing center elsewhere. The United States Postal Service is completing a feasibility study at the Mansfield Post Office to determine if cancelation -- the process of voiding postage stamps -- could more effectively be completed in Akron or Cleveland. The move would allow the Richland County facility to focus more on processing mail, according to Victor Dubina, Postal Service communications program specialist. A similar study was completed at the Canton office. Moving cancelation to nearby Akron is estimated to save the agency $2 million annually, Dubina said."
Transport Intelligence has reported that "Source: Deutsche Post AG Deutsche Post World Net (DPWN) this week published its figures for the 2008 fourth quarter (Q4) and full year periods. It also revealed the resignation of a well-known senior executive and commented further about developments relating to its troubled US express business. DPWN also revealed that John Mullen, head of DHL Express, had announced his resignation for health reasons and had been replaced by the present CEO of DHL Express America, Ken Allen. In addition, John Allan, DPWN's Finance Director, commented during the group's results conference call yesterday (February 26) that the company was still in negotiations with UPS and "other parties" over arrangements for DHL's business in North America."
The Altoona Mirror told its readers that "If federal officials are going to clamp down on executive salaries, they need to start at home in Washington, D.C."
The Guardian has reported that "TNT, the Dutch company that wants to seize a key holding in Royal Mail, has been successfully opposing the opening-up of its own domestic market while campaigning for full competition in Britain. The group has won government backing in the Netherlands for its stance that 50% of local postal services should be retained as a TNT monopoly until the British and German governments make their markets more accessible."
In preparation for the launch of Intelligent Mail® services in May 2009, the Postal Service is conducting a series of Webinars to answer customers’ questions about technical specifications and business processes. The Intelligent Mail Technical Integration Webinars will occur every other Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. eastern time. The Webinar schedule and dial-in information will be posted on ribbs.usps.gov.
The first Webinar will occur on Friday, March 6. During the Webinars, USPS experts will answer questions that have been forwarded--at least four days in advance--to firstname.lastname@example.org. Only questions that are tailored to the industry at large will be addressed during the Webinars. (Questions related to specific mailers should be forwarded to the PostalOne! help desk, Business Mail Acceptance personnel, or to local Business Mailer Support analysts.) Once the pre-forwarded questions have been answered, questions that are forwarded during the Webinars will be addressed.
All industry-relevant questions will be compiled into a “Frequently Asked Questions” document posted on ribbs.usps.gov. The Intelligent Mail Technical Integration Webinars are intended to supplement the wealth of Intelligent Mail services information posted on ribbs.usps.gov. Prior to submitting questions, mailers are encouraged to review the various “Guides” that are listed on the left navigation bar under “Intelligent Mail Services,” in order to understand the requirements of the Basic and Full-Service options for Intelligent Mail services.
First Webinar: Friday, March 6, 2009 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EST Dial-in Information Audio: 800-932-9280 Meeting ID: 0288185
The following reports have been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General website (http://www.uspsoig.gov/). If you have additional questions concerning the report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2286.
Air Cargo World has reported that "The CEO of one of the largest U.S. transportation companies opposes replacing the gas tax with a vehicle mileage tax, claiming it would be unfair to many motorists. Replacing the federal fuels tax with a tax on vehicle miles traveled would be "ill-advised," said Fred Smith, chairman, president and CEO of FedEx, Memphis, Tenn."
The Columbus Business Journal has reported that "DHL Express continues talks with United Parcel Service about a possible deal for handling its international parcel shipments, but UPS isn’t the only route the shipping giant is exploring, company officials in Germany said Thursday. John Allan, chief financial officer for DHL parent Deutsche Post, said in conference call Thursday morning that the firm is considering alternatives to UPS’s offer from a number of other parties. A deal for those services would begin when DHL closes its air cargo hub in the southwest Ohio town of Wilmington."
The Wilmington News Journal has reported that "Although DHL now says companies other than UPS can be “a viable option” to be the air carrier for DHL’s international shipping operations in the United States, so far at least there have been no negotiations with ABX Air. In addition, the CEO for the parent corporation of DHL emphasized at a Thursday press conference there’s “no time pressure at all” to make the choice of an air carrier, a relaxed approach that may slow down a possible commitment by DHL to turn over control of the Wilmington Air Park to the community."
MSNBC has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is facing some serious budget problems. It's cutting some post offices and looking to consolidate mail processing. One of the ideas includes consolidating Wilkes-Barre's plant with Scranton's. Dozens of postal workers picketed Thursday."
February 26, 2009
The Postmaster General has written to Congress to urge swift passage of H.R. 22, a bill designed to permit a modification of the payments the Postal Service must make for the next two years for postal retiree health benefits. He told Congress:
The Postal Act of 2006 required the Postal Service to begin pre-funding its retiree health benefits; no other federal agency shoulders this requirement. The payment schedule statutorily mandated by the Postal Act of 2006 requires the Postal Service to make an annual pre-funding payment ranging from $5.4 billion to $5.8 billion per year between 2007 and 2016. In addition, the Postal Service must make a separate payment to the Office of Personnel Management for its annual retiree health benefit premiums until 2016.
Our proposal is that the Postal Service would continue to make the scheduled annual payment to the Trust Fund, which will be $5.4 billion in FY2009. However, the Postal Service's annual premiums for our current retirees would be paid from the Trust Fund, rather than a separate payment from the Postal Service. There is roughly $32 billion currently in the Trust Fund. The
Postal Service's contribution to the Trust Fund over the next eight years would always be greater than the premiums flowing out of the Trust Fund. That means that the Trust Fund balance would continue to grow. H.R. 22, introduced by Congressmen John McHugh and Danny Davis, embodies this proposal and the Postal Service fully supports H.R. 22. The Postal Service also supports Senator Tom Carper's efforts to assist the Postal Service in this matter.
PR Week has reported that "The US Postal Service (USPS) selected Weber Shandwick as AOR for strategic messaging, including crisis communications, on February 24 after a more-than-four-month RFP process. Joanne Veto, senior PR specialist at the postal service, confirmed the win to PRWeek. It has a value of approximately $1 million per year, according to a USPS work statement. The account, which mandates communications with the media, general public, and postal employees, runs for two years with three additional one-year options. The account requires work on various strategic planning and counsel duties, crisis response support, and assistance of the USPS internal communications staff."
Press Release: "The United States and its trading partners around the world would be making a huge mistake if they responded to the current dark economic times by adopting protectionist measures to restrict free trade, the chairman and CEO of UPS asserted today." [See below as well.]
The Associated Press has reported that "The head of global shipping giant UPS warned Thursday against buying into the argument that global trade siphons away U.S. jobs, the same day the government reported the number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits topped 5.1 million. Chief Executive Officer Scott Davis' speech before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce comes against the backdrop of a "Buy American" clause added by Congress to the $787 billion economic stimulus package signed by President Barack Obama last week. That provision is "not too protectionist but the perception went out there was very protectionist," Davis said during a question-and-answer session after his speech. "We have to lead by example. If we go out and send those kind of signals, it is concerning."
.We are offering a new series of webinars to answer customers’ questions about Intelligent Mail® services. The webinars will occur every other Friday, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. eastern time. The first webinar is March 6.
The MAILCOM 2009 deadline for Early Bird Registrations is February 27. Register by Friday and save $110. You can register at www.mailcom.org. Or, call 1-609-264-0120.
From Business Wire: "Pitney Bowes Business Insight, the leading global provider of location and communication intelligence offerings, today announced a new relationship with WindowBook, Inc., a leading provider of Mail.dat®-based e-documentation software. Now offered as a joint solution, DAT-MAIL™ MSP mailing software combines the power of WindowBook DAT-MAIL™ mailing software and Pitney Bowes Business Insight MailStream Plus® software to help organizations meet the e-documentation and e-payment requirements for adopting the United States Postal Service (USPS) full-service Intelligent Mail® barcode initiative."
The BBC has noted that "French President Nicolas Sarkozy has revealed that he likes to indulge in what has been called the hobby of kings - stamp collecting. It's not the first time that a head of state has revealed a passion for philately. American president Franklin D Roosevelt was a stamp buff, as were a host of royals - England's King George V, King Farouk of Egypt, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, and King Carol II of Romania. Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova, for one, regretted letting on that she enjoyed poring over albums. In reply to a question by a journalist: "You're a stamp collector then?" she laughed and said "Oh God, stop. Everyone's calling me a dork now."
The Independent has reported that "The Government today pressed ahead with its controversial plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail but tried to head off growing criticism by pledging to enshrine in law that the organisation would remain publicly owned. The Bill said the Royal Mail will be enshrined in legislation as a publicly-owned company. No Government will be able to change this status without further primary legislation in the future. Post Office Ltd will be entirely owned by the Government, and this status will not be changed without further primary legislation in the future. The universal service - letters collected and delivered anywhere in the UK, six days a week, for a single, affordable price - will be written into the legislation. The Bill confirmed that postal regulator Postcomm will be abolished and its responsibilities switched to Ofcom, which regulates the communications industry. Unlike the current regulatory system, it is written into the Bill that Ofcom must give precedence to maintaining the universal service if there is a tension with any of its other functions, such as promotion of competition. Ofcom will have powers to clarify Royal Mail's costs and ensure other companies' access to Royal Mail's network is regulated on a fair basis."
On Wednesday, February 25, the House passed H.R. 1105, making omnibus appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009. For the Postal Service, the bill includes $111,831,000 for payment to the Postal Service Fund, including $29,000,000 for repayment of revenue forgone and $82,831,000 for an advance appropriation (not available until October 1, 2009) for fiscal year 2010 to continue free mail for the blind and overseas voters. The measure awaits final Senate action.
to PostCom Radio
Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito, PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance, and Postal Consulting Services President Kathleen Siviter in a discussion on the February 18-19 Mailers Technical Advisory Committee meeting.
The Guardian has reported that "Lord Mandelson today promised to keep the post office network entirely in public hands as he unveiled a series of concessions intended to increase support for his plans for partial privatisation of the Royal Mail. The business secretary made the commitment as he published the postal services bill, which will allow a private company to take a 30% stake in the Royal Mail." See also The Scotsman, the BBC, The Daily Mail, ThisIsLondon, and the Financial Times.
The BBC has reported on "Paying for postal staff pensions."
The Journal has reported that "a leading left-wing think tank has urged the Government to consider giving Royal Mail “the BBC treatment”. Compass is hoping to convince ministers that Royal Mail could be modernised without resorting to privatisation. They point to the success of public institutions such as the BBC or Network Rail as examples of why the Government does not have to sell off Royal Mail."
Northern Echo has asked: "Will this be Labour’s Last Post?"
The BBC has reported that "A watchdog has accused regulators of "dithering" instead of stepping in swiftly to protect consumers. The 14-month review studied six regulators covering the food, water, energy, financial, communication and postal sectors. Consumer Focus said the groups relied too much on on self-regulation, rather than direct intervention."
China Briefing has reported that "China’s Postal Savings Bank, a relatively obscure yet powerful entity formed in 2007, will be the main infrastructure driver for getting income into rural areas under the country’s economic stimulus plan."
The Houston Chronicle has reported that the "downtown Houston post office is up for sale."
In the latest e-update from PARCEL:
February 25, 2009
UPS has expanded its early morning delivery territory in the United States by almost 3,000 new ZIP Codes, an increase that brings to more than 23,000 the number of ZIP Codes with guaranteed early morning delivery service.
Reuters has reported that "Deutsche Post said it expects underlying earnings to fall in 2009 as the global economic crisis further chipped away demand for mail and logistics services in the first quarter. "We expect that this level of volume decline will continue throughout the first half of the year, if not longer," Chief Executive Frank Appel said in a statement on Wednesday." See also Deutsche Welle.
PersonnelToday has reported that "Privatisation will not help the multi-billion pound Royal Mail pension deficit, according to pensions experts."
Mad.co.uk has reported that "Direct marketers have given their broad backing to the Government’s plan for the future of Royal Mail in advance of proposals being introduced in the House of Lords tomorrow (Thursday). ISBA marketing services manager, David Ellison says that the advertiser trade body’s direct marketer members “agree with the plan to allow private investment because of the untenable position of Royal Mail.”
Press Release: "Pitney Bowes Business Insight has selected Window Book, Inc's DAT-MAILTM MSP Mail.dat® mailing software to complete its Intelligent Mail® solutions set. By combining MailStream Plus® MAIL360 and DAT-MAILTM, mailers will have a complete, integrated, state of the art, presort, post-presort and fully compliant Intelligent Mail Full Service solution. MailStream Plus® provides presort functionality and DAT-MAIL facilitates post-presort mailing management solutions including transmitting electronic postage statements via PostalOne!, generating USPS certified Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) tray/sack tags and pallet placards, creating and managing USPS FAST appointments, and creating mailing production and postage accounting reports. Integrated with MAIL360, PBBI's Intelligent Mail barcode solution, mailers now have an Intelligent Mail Full Service solution that is comprehensive yet cost effective. For more information, contact: email@example.com.
CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:
planned sale of 30% of Royal Mail has attracted further bidders. While TNT
declared an interest immediately after the plan was announced (CEP News 51/08),
FedEx has now instructed investment bankers JP Morgan to establish whether a bid
for the parcel network GLS would be feasible. According to media reports,
Last week the Dutch government reached a decision on the complete opening of the postal market from 1 April 2009. The government said measures already taken to secure work conditions justified the decision. The post’s main competitors, Sandd and Selekt Mail will now come under the obligation to prove over the next three and a half years that they have concluded employment contracts with 80% of their delivery staff that correspond to the stipulations of the new employment decree (AMVB), particularly in terms of wages, sick pay and paid holidays.
January 2009 brought first signs that the global crisis is affecting the China Post Group, too.
Österreichische Post is closing 300 post offices this year.
Even ahead of his official appointment, the Russian Post’s designated new CEO has again confirmed that FSUE Russian Post could be turned into a plc by 2011. The change of corporate form could be effected by 2011 if the government were to reach the corresponding decision this year. Until then, it would be important to increase the degree of centralisation within the organisation and to increase the turnover for non-regulated services, including financial services.
Schweizerische Post is ending its financial year 2008 with a profit "well in excess of" 500m CHF but down on the year before.
The post companies of South Korea and Hong Kong are aiming for closer cooperation in order to be able to handle more goods ordered over the Internet.
Last week the Pakistani government’s committee concerned with the privatisation of state companies voted in favour of the government’s privatisation plans for 21 state-owned companies. In addition to utility companies and the national railway company, Pakistan Post is due to be partly privatised.
The economic crisis has hit the Hungarian transport and logistics market, too.
Dutch TNT intends to equip all 2,500 parcel delivery staff with handheld computers.
Danish customers appear to have taken well to their automatic parcel machines.
Schweizerische Post intends to replace all the country’s 20,000 post boxes by 2010. The post said there would be a uniform post box model, the new ones being bigger and preventing inspection and the fetching back of items.
The capital of the public limited company that will replace the current government- owned La Poste will remain in 100% public ownership, French secretary of state for consumer affairs and industry Luc Chatel assured news agency AFP
The post company of Sri Lanka is in financial trouble.
In Britain, the number of direct mail items fell by 8.5% on average last year.
Workers at La Poste in Belgium are going on strike on 2 March. Trade unions CSC, CGSP and SLFP have launched a joint call for industrial action in protest against various restructuring measures.
The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)
Mad.co.uk has reported that "A new free-of-charge industry body focusing on direct mail will provide news, research and case studies for an audience consisting of the UK’s top 3,000 advertisers and 500 key agencies. Royal Mail will fund the Mail Media Centre (MMC) on behalf of the entire mailing industry in a bid to offer better information, education and help to marketers when they are tasked with choosing their marketing mix."
According to the Postal News Blog, National Association of Letter Carriers President William Young has told his members: "Let Let me make the following clear to one and all, including Postal Service management at headquarters and in the field, and all letter carriers, at every level in the union and in every post office: No one, at any level, has any authority to amend or violate the national contract, period."
According to the Financial Times, "An administration at bay may well duck unpopular decisions. So credit should go to the UK government for pressing ahead this week with a bill to enable a private sector operator to buy a minority stake in the Royal Mail. The long-overdue plan should pave the way for the radical revamp without which UK postal services face a grim future."
From PR Web: "Pitney Bowes Business Insight has selected Window Book, Inc's DAT-MAIL™ MSP Mail.dat® mailing software to complete its Intelligent Mail® solutions set. By combining MailStream Plus® MAIL360 and DAT-MAIL™, mailers will have a complete, integrated, state of the art, presort, post-presort and fully compliant Intelligent Mail Full Service solution. MailStream Plus® provides presort functionality and DAT-MAIL facilitates post-presort mailing management solutions including transmitting electronic postage statements via PostalOne!, generating USPS certified Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) tray/sack tags and pallet placards, creating and managing USPS FAST appointments, and creating mailing production and postage accounting reports. Integrated with MAIL360, PBBI's Intelligent Mail barcode solution, mailers now have an Intelligent Mail Full Service solution that is comprehensive yet cost effective."
Director of Finance Online has asked: "As the Royal Mail is worthless, the best solution is to give the business away. But who to? The pension fund or the trade union? Why not give the whole of Royal Mail to the pension fund? The fund would own its own sponsor and be responsible for its own deficit. If the trustee wanted to increase contributions to make the fund solvent she would have to improve the efficiency of the trading operation. If she wants to bring in a partner like TNT, that would be her – and her worker-members’ - choice. If Royal Mail ever becomes sufficiently valuable to properly privatise, the fund would keep the proceeds. The alternative is to give the business to the workers directly – possibly by donating it to the communications union. The trade union would thus have to make the difficult decision on whether to bring in partners, reduce staffing, freeze pay, lower pension expectations or whatever, but who better to take action to improve productivity than the workers themselves? If we can nationalise former building societies surely we can mutalise nationalised industries?"
The Times has reported that "Small businesses are today adding to the pressure on the Government over the sale of a stake in Royal Mail, with nearly half saying that they want the postal group to remain in public ownership. In a survey of more than 5,000 of its members by the Federation of Small Businesses, some 48 per cent said they wanted Royal Mail to continue to be publicly owned. However, 27 per cent said they would support a part-privatisation if it meant that further post office closures could be prevented."
According to The Guardian, "Brown faces his biggest rebellion as Labour anger at postal sell-off grows."
Hellmail has reported that:
From today's Federal Register:
|Postal Regulatory Commission|
|International Priority Mail ,|
|8589–8590 [E9–4055]||[TEXT] [PDF]|
|International Mail Manual; Incorporation by Reference ,|
|8465 [E9–3961]||[TEXT] [PDF]|
|International Product and Price Changes ,|
|8465–8473 [E9–3960]||[TEXT] [PDF]|
|8473–8490 [E9–3962]||[TEXT] [PDF]|
RFID News has reported that "Saudi Post, the official postal operator of Saudi Arabia, has announced a contract with Intermec Technologies Inc. to provide an RFID-enabled tracking solution for its mail delivery. The system, which updates a previous solution that used RFID components, will use Intermec’s CN3 mobile computers and IP30 handheld RFID readers."
The Telegraph has told its readers that Royal Mail's chief executive Adam Crozier "warned MPs that unless Royal Mail modernises, "the company will have a real bloody big problem" and will not survive. He also said that "clearly modernisation will involve job losses" and admitted that "some of the things we need to do are not very popular"."
According to The Times, "Royal Mail's present structure is unsustainable."
From Business Wire: "UPS has announced new enhancements to the e-commerce solutions used by Yahoo! Small Business merchants to make international shipping and item returns easier for their customers."
The BBC has reported that US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke has warned Congress' Senate Banking Committee that without the right policies from the government, the US recession could last into 2010. But he said if the Obama administration and the central bank can restore some measure of financial stability, 2010 could be a year of recovery."
February 24, 2009
From the Postal Regulatory Commission:
The Telegraph has reported that "The Communication Workers Union is threatening to withdraw its £1 million annual donation to the Labour party over the Government's plans to sell-off part of the Royal Mail."
The Times has reported that "The Conservatives pledged yesterday to support the Government over the sale of a third of Royal Mail and warned Gordon Brown against caving in to his Labour opponents. In a move that appeared to guarantee that Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, would get his way, Kenneth Clarke promised to vote for the part-privatisation plan. Only a handful of Tory MPs would oppose it, he said."
PostCom Members!! The slides from today's webinar on the new postal prices has been posted on this site. The slides were presented by USPS Vice President, Pricing, Maura Robinson and USPS Vice President, Ground Shipping, James Cochrane.
According to The Times, "the room was decorated with marching banners; the atmosphere fiery. Speakers exhorted "comrades" to stand firm, whipping them into a righteous fury against the Government. Tony Benn was given a standing ovation as he got up to speak, and his words were interrupted by shouts of "bring back Clause Four". This was Westminster today, as postal workers gathered to protest against plans to part-privatise Royal Mail. Unions accused the Government of "betrayal" and "cowardice", threatening to strike and cut financial support to the Labour Party."
From the U.S. Postal Service: "The Postal Service is in the process of correcting an error which appeared last week in the Federal Register Final Rule announcing the International Product and Price Changes, effective May 11, 2009. Following publication, it was noticed that a number of countries were inadvertently omitted from Exhibit 293.452, International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) Network Countries and Price Groups. Please be advised that service will not be eliminated to any of the current ISAL countries on May 11. However, many of the countries are being reassigned to different price groups to accommodate the expansion of the number of groups from 9 to 15. The corrected list will be published in the Federal Register as quickly as possible." See the charts that have been posted on this site.
The latest blog entry has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s Internet site “Pushing the Envelope.” The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place. To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/. Preventing Workers’ Compensation Fraud. While recognizing that fraudulent workers’ compensation claims make up a small percentage of total claims, the Office of Inspector General commits significant resources toward identifying those claimants who defraud the system. You can watch a video of one such case and provide comments. You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at: www.uspsoig.gov. If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2322.
The Minot Daily News has reported that "For months, members of Congress and the administrations of both President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush expressed outrage at the gigantic pay and "perks" packages provided to executives of some private companies. There was even talk of ordering recipients of federal bailout money to limit executives' compensation to $500,000 a year. Why not start in government? A $500,000 limit would require Postmaster General John E. Potter to take a $300,000 cut in pay. That's right: It was revealed that Potter - who not long ago was again suggesting that the Postal Service cannot make ends meet without eliminating mail delivery one day a week - receives $800,000 a year in pay and benefits. He also raked in a $135,000 bonus last year - at a time when the Postal Service was positively swimming in red ink. The money was a "pay-for-performance" bonus. Potter isn't alone in making the big bucks, according to a published report. At least four other Postal Service officials received more than $250,000 each last year. Deputy Postmaster Patrick Donahoe received $600,000 in total compensation for the year. Some members of Congress already are vowing to "investigate." We hope that isn't bureaucratese for "file and forget." If federal officials are going to clamp down on executive salaries, they need to start at home in Washington, D.C."
UPS Press Release: UPS has announced new enhancements to the e-commerce solutions used by Yahoo! Small Business merchants to make international shipping and item returns easier for their customers.
U.S. Postal Service Press Release: "Nearly 1 billion people live in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean today, comprising one of the most diverse population groups in the world. With that customer base in mind, more than 200 top executives from mail and delivery companies serving the western hemisphere are gathered in Miami this week at the annual World Mail and Express Americas Conference, under the theme “Sharing Diversity.” “In a difficult economy, diverse groups have more need to stay in touch locally, nationally and internationally,” said Patrick R. Donahoe, U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deputy Postmaster General and chief operating officer. “Our global network of government and corporate mail and express companies provides a strong infrastructure to keep people and nations connected,” Donahoe said. “Sharing industry strategies is especially important in today’s challenging market.” USPS is host of the 2009 conference, and Donahoe and two other USPS executives are among speakers over the next two days. Donahoe will join representatives of three other national postal agencies in the keynote presentation, “Adapting to a Changing Environment.”
Reuters has reported that "The government, trying to defuse anger over its plans to part-privatise Royal Mail, said on Tuesday the postal services company could run out of money unless it tackled its huge pension fund deficit. Prime Minister Gordon Brown faces a growing rebellion from within the Labour Party over the plan, with one Labour MP saying it would be "political suicide" for the party to push ahead with it."
The Times has reported that:
The Tampa Tribune has noted that "since its inception in 1775, the postal service has faced competition. First the Pony Express, then the telephone, then private delivery services and fax machines. Today, it's the Internet - an information and service entity that is both instant and paperless. Even with this, we still depend on the mail for many transactions. It remains a necessity, but it's no longer a six-days-a-week one. The Postal Service must change to accommodate marketplace realities."
YLE News has reported that "The postal services company Itella is beginning layoff talks with about 460 employees at its Vantaa logistics centre near Helsinki. The company blames the unpaid leave on a lower volume of packages being sent, as well as weaker overall demand due to the economic slowdown. The layoffs, which are expected to last up to two months per employee, will be staggered over a year beginning this April."
As Politics.co.uk put it: "Westminster, we have a problem. The government can't fix the Royal Mail, which is careering off course. Reports suggest it's in danger of imploding into a pensions black hole at any moment. Who can save the day? Dutch postal firm TNT, apparently. That's not an answer which is hugely welcome to Labour backbenchers. Over 120 of them have signed an early day motion condemning the government's plans for part-privatisation. Yet on Thursday Peter Mandelson is expected to put a bill forward to parliament backing the sale of 30 per cent of Royal Mail. The scale of dissent within the Labour ranks has, if anything, been downplayed by the press so far. Over a third of the parliamentary Labour party has backed Geraldine Smith's EDM. The government's power is based on its ability to maintain a majority in the Commons. Yet that power base has viciously turned against the TNT proposals. This is a serious crisis for the government." See also The Sun.
The Scottish National Party has said that "As postal workers protest at Westminster over the UK Government’s controversial plans to part-privatise Royal Mail, SNP Postal Affairs spokesperson Mike Weir MP has reacted with anger to the publication of a letter warning that the Royal Mail pension fund is at risk. "This debate is about Royal Mail, not blackmail, and if anything the situation with Royal Mail’s pension fund actually reinforces the case against bringing in a private partner. "The pension situation will have to be dealt with regardless, and if that is left to a private firm it will mean job losses, service cuts and a deterioration in the working conditions of postal workers." See also The Telegraph, Sky News, and the BBC.
The Belfast Telegraph has reported that "Northern Ireland postal workers were today due to join a massive UK-wide protest against the Government’s plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail." See also Glasgow Evening Times.
The Financial Times has reported that "The 450,000 members of Royal Mail’s pension plan face “devastating consequences”, including the slashing of benefits, if the business is not part-privatised, the head of the fund’s trustees has warned."
From today's Federal Register:
|Change in Rates of General Applicability for Competitive Products,|
|8434–8464 [E9–3483]||[TEXT] [PDF]|
According to Advertising Age, "If magazines' recent, atrocious newsstand sales are any indication, this may not be the best time to ask people to pay for new kinds of content. They're already tapped out on established buys such as magazines."
From the U.S. Postal Service: "Know Where Your Mail Is. Improve Customer Service, Predict Cash Flow, Avoid Collection Calls, Make Better Fee-Waiver Decisions, Track Vendor Performance The ability to track the status of your mail with OneCode Confirm™ will help you provide better service to your customers. When they call, you’ll have the information you need to respond more quickly and more accurately. And, with tracking information available to your customers as well, you’ll receive fewer customer inquiries." Check it out!!
Dow Jones has reported that "Netflix Inc. is "looking at the possibility" of letting customers get their videos delivered to them only over the Internet. To that end, the Los Gatos, Calif.-based company recently surveyed subscribers about spending $9.99 a month for an Internet streaming-only service, the person said. The moves are the most brazen yet from Netflix to break its 10 million subscribers of their DVD viewing habits now that faster Internet connections make watching Internet videos much more palatable. Netflix benefits because a significant portion of its operating expenses go towards delivering DVDs, and its profit margin can swing wildly because of an increase in postal rates."
The Associated Press has reported that "FedEx Corp. Chief Executive Fred Smith said Monday that U.S. reliance on foreign oil is the biggest threat to the nation's economy after terrorism. "The consequences of our energy dependence are real," Smith warned in remarks at the National Press Club."
Metro has reported that "The Royal Mail pension fund deficit is much larger than the £5.9billion thought, it was claimed yesterday. In a letter seen by the BBC, the chair of trustees, Jane Newell, warned the only way to save the fund was by selling part of the business. The news came as hundreds of postal workers were set to protest in London today at ministers' plans to sell 30 per cent of Royal Mail, before lobbying MPs." See also The Telegraph, The Times, and Hellmail.
Press Release: "UPS has announced that Lisa Hamilton, president of The UPS Foundation, has been named to lead the UPS Corporate Public Relations Group. Current Corporate Public Relations Vice President Ken Sternad has been named president of The UPS Foundation."
February 23, 2009
Reuters has reported that "The British government is expected to introduce controversial legislation this week to part-privatise Royal Mail, the state-owned postal service, a labour union said.
U.S. Postal Service Shipping and Mailing Services President Robert Bernstock has announced "assignments to key leadership positions in Mailing and Shipping Services.
Reporting to David Schoenfeld:
Reporting to Robert Bernstock:
POSTCOM MEMBERS!! The latest issue of PostCom's PostOps Update has been posted on this site.
The DM Bulletin has reported that:
USA Today has reported that "the head football coach at the University of Southern California and a Columbia University dermatologist each earned more than $4 million in 2007, making them the highest paid employees at private colleges. The presidents, meanwhile, earned about $900,000 and $1.4 million, respectively. The salaries of employees other than presidents were released today by the Chronicle of Higher Education, which has published a report on presidents' compensation each fall for more than 15 years. It is expanding its scope to other employees, it says, because their compensation "contributes to the broader national discussion about appropriate levels of pay for leaders in all sectors," including higher education. "There are other people getting pretty big paychecks" besides presidents, says Chronicle editor Jeffrey Selingo." [EdNote: And Congress has the nerve to call for a hearing to look into the Postmaster General's compensation? Has Congress nothing better to do? The "problem" today is not with people who are making too much but with too many people who are making nothing!]
Cordis has reported that "A conference entitled 'Good jobs for good services? The impact of privatisation of public services on employment, productivity and service quality' will be held on 24 April in Vienna, Austria. The one-day conference will take a closer look at the outcomes of liberalisation and privatisation of public services and related processes. There will also be a specific focus on employment, working conditions, productivity, service quality and prices. The conference will examine evidence and conclusions from further research by European experts on the privatisation of network industries and health services. For further information, visit: http://www.pique.at/conference/index.html."
From PR Newswire: "DX Group (DX) is delighted to announce the appointment of David Higham as Marketing Director for the group. David joins the group with an MBA from Cranfield University and over 15 years experience of the Postal industry. With various senior marketing positions at both Royal Mail and TNT David brings extensive knowledge of marketing, planning and business development. DX is the UK & Ireland's leading independent mail and courier company delivering around 1 million items of business mail each night."
Transport Intelligence has reported that" in a positive sign that the global integrators are continuing to make investments despite the present challenging worldwide economic environment, both DHL and TNT are expanding their express activities in China. Specifically, the two express giants are further developing their operations and services for that country's domestic market, which at present offers the greatest opportunities for foreign players."
From the U.S. Postal Service: "Last November, the Move Update requirement — the USPS mailing standard that requires business mailers to match their address lists with official USPS change-of-address orders — was revised to help mailers improve the quality of their address lists. The new requirement increased the minimum frequency of Move Update processing from 185 days to 95 days prior to the date of the mailing. The revised standard also extended for the first time Move Update requirements to all Standard Mail — including letters, flats, parcels and Not-Flat Machinable mailpieces. Move Update also helps reduce the number of mailpieces that are undeliverable as addressed, reducing USPS costs. Though the new standard was implemented in November, customers were given six months to improve their Move Update processes. Beginning May 11, as long as a mailing’s error rate for Move Update compliance is under 30 percent, the mailing will qualify for postal discounts."
Media Daily News has reported that "The Magazine Publishers of America revealed Friday that it is canceling the American Magazine Conference, the industry's annual trade show and expo scheduled for October, citing the economic downturn. The news comes not long after three members withdrew from the MPA, with Hachette Filipacchi's departure two weeks ago followed by American Media and New York last week. It also came close on the heels of a similar announcement from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, which also canceled its annual trade show, citing the recession."
Advertising Age has reported that:
People's Daily Online has reported that "FedEx China is losing money to grab market shares by lowering its prices of domestic express service in China by more than 70 percent in a year to the level set by domestic private companies," Chen Ping, former president of the ZJS Express Co., a private express company in China, told Xinhua. Chen is among many executives of China's private express companies grumbling over the foreign rival's price cuts as they planned to raise service prices to offset rising cost pushed up by oil and labor prices hikes. They accused FedEx of conducting unfair competition, or dumping, as they said FedEx's cost was much higher than theirs."
According to the Arizona Daily Star, "The U.S. Postal Service has asked Congress for permission to reduce mail delivery by one day a week to help the agency cope with decreased mail volume, rising costs and a large deficit. That request, however, doesn't go far enough. We may be in the minority saying this, but who needs mail delivery even five days a week? Most households — not businesses — could easily get by with delivery as seldom as three times a week."
The Mirror has reported that "Up to 1,000 posties will join a rally tomorrow to protest at Government plans to sell off a stake in Royal Mail. The Communication Workers Union said the partprivatisation proposed by Business Secretary Peter Mandelson will be "dangerous, damaging" and threaten jobs and the quality of service."
Transport Intelligence has reported that "Netherlands-based express and mail service provider TNT issued a statement on Friday (February 20) announcing that it had "taken note of the (Dutch) Cabinet's intention to liberalise the Dutch postal market as of April 1, 2009". TNT said the Dutch government had consistently set two conditions for the liberalisation of the Dutch postal market − sound arrangements for the employment conditions in the postal sector and a level playing field in the European postal market."
The Washington Times has reported that "Congress will hold a hearing next month into why Postmaster General John E. Potter has gotten a nearly 40 percent pay raise since 2006 and was awarded a six-figure incentive bonus last year, even as the U.S. Postal Service faces a multibillion-dollar shortfall that threatens a day of mail delivery."
From today's Federal Register:
|Postal Regulatory Commission|
|Postal Service Price Changes ,|
|8124–8129 [E9–3781]||[TEXT] [PDF]|
|New Pricing Eligibility, Intelligent Mail, and Move Update Standards for Domestic Mailing and Shipping Services ,|
|8009–8033 [E9–3481]||[TEXT] [PDF]|
Coastweek has reported that "Kenya Data Networks is removing the hassle out of making calls, surfing the net or even roaming through making it easier to access top-up scratch cards for its butterfly internet users. The package also contains provision of Wi-Fi hotspots- access points to get faster, cheaper and reliable wireless internet connectivity. The leading infrastructure provider aims to achieve this through partnership with Postal Corporation of Kenya - the country's premier postal services provider."
According to The Guardian, "Peter Hain, the former work and pensions secretary, will join a growing Labour rebellion against plans by the business secretary, Lord Mandelson, to part-privatise the Royal Mail. As the government prepares to publish a detailed policy statement and proposed legislation, Hain will add his signature today to a backbench motion criticising the plan. So far 139 MPs have signed the early day motion, guaranteeing that Mandelson's plans will fail unless the business secretary introduces major changes."
eTaiwan News has reported that "Chunghwa Post Co. will launch a broad range of financial products and services this year, including Visa debit cards."
The Telegraph has reported that "Plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail will be unveiled this week - a move which will set Lord Mandelson on a collision course with more than 120 Labour MPs opposed to the move. The Business Secretary will publish the legislation which will pave the way for a stake in the Royal Mail to be sold to a private postal firm. The favourite to buy into the postal service is the Dutch company TNT."
The Times has reported that:
February 22, 2009
Veteran newspaper industry postal lobbyist Tonda Rush has published a piece in Editor & Publisher on how "Newspaper public notices are under attack as never before, as government bodies peddle the notion that the Internet is the cheaper medium. Here are five things to know about public notices -- and five things to do."
According to the Sarasota Herald Tribune, "a truth about newspapers that surprises some people: Your subscription checks and single-copy coins barely cover the cost of newsprint and paying carriers to bring the paper to your door. Advertising provides more than three-quarters of our revenue. So when the recession forces companies to cut marketing budgets, media that depend on advertising take a big hit." [EdNote: One might say something similar about advertising mail and universal mail delivery.]
The Guardian has reported that "Lord Mandelson will defy Labour rebels by unveiling a controversial bill to part-privatise the Royal Mail in the House of Lords as early as this week. The business secretary is determined to push through legislation as soon as possible in the teeth of mounting Labour opposition, which will reach a climax as MPs return to Westminster tomorrow after the half-term break. Unions and more than 110 Labour MPs opposed to the Mandelson plan will stage a series of protests and rallies this week. The issue will dominate Labour's National Policy Forum next weekend."
The Telegraph has reported that "Post Danmark and Posten AB of Sweden, which are in the process of merging, are understood to have registered an interest in forming a strategic partnership with Royal Mail that could result in the combined entity acquiring 30pc in the British company. UBS, the investment bank, has been hired by the Government to evaluate interest from prospective bidders. CVC Capital Partners, the private equity group, is also interested in the Royal Mail stake."
February 21, 2009
Here are some goodies you can find on the Deutsche Post web site:
PostInsight has noted that "The UPU's statistical database provides a dynamic overview of postal development in each country. It contains data from over 200 countries or territories and includes approximately 100 indicators of postal development, grouped in 12 chapters. The data is collected annually by the International Bureau from all UPU member postal administrations."
If you haven't yet seen the DMA Green Initiatives web page, you should check it out.
The Royal Gazette has noted that "The Ministry of Energy, Telecommunications and E-Commerce is provided with a budget of $32 million in 2009–2010. The Ministry's primary objectives for the year will be the development of a National Energy Policy, the continuing reform of the telecommunications regulatory environment, the development of a data privacy and protection policy framework, the launch of a five-year initiative to modernise the postal sector and the redevelopment of the Government's information technology infrastructure."
According to The Guardian, "Mandelson is spoiling for a fight over the post. The business secretary is using an emotive issue to get back his image of a parliamentary bruiser."
The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:
According to Dead Tree Edition, "If your publications don’t have well over 100 pages per issue, don’t assume that your postage rates will increase by only 4% in May. Even if they mail efficiently, publications weighing less than half a pound will typically experience increases of 6% to 7%, Dead Tree Edition's exclusive analysis has found, even though the Postal Service says Periodicals increases will average just under 4%. Characteristics other than weight – such as dropshipping, co-mailing, ad-edit ratio, and non-profit status – have little impact on the percentage increase for Periodicals mailers who do not change their mailing practices."
The Houston Chronicle has reported that "Federal prosecutors have asked fraud investigators from the Labor Department and Postal Service to examine allegations that a former postal union official in Houston embezzled union funds. Ed Gallagher, deputy criminal chief for major offenders of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Houston, said he asked the two inspectors general to investigate whether the details laid out in a lawsuit recently filed by the American Postal Workers Union could be criminal violations. The union accuses its former regional coordinator, Frankie Sanders, of submitting thousands of dollars worth of receipts for non- existent hotel stays, including one in New Orleans that at the time was closed because of Hurricane Katrina damage."
The Times Leader has reported that "Representatives of the American Postal Workers Union Local 175 will conduct informational picketing Thursday in opposition to the plan to close some mail-sorting operations at the Wilkes-Barre Post Office."
The Journal Inquirer has reported that "The postman won’t be ringing twice. A move by the U.S. Postal Service to save money by stopping routine individual delivery to homes in new subdivisions resulted because letter carriers are bringing “less and less mail to more and more mailboxes,” a spokeswoman said Friday. The official, Maureen P. Marion, said that under a policy first adopted in the mid-1990s, the independent government agency is telling developers of housing complexes in Connecticut and elsewhere across the country that they should install “cluster mailboxes” or otherwise allow for “centralized delivery.” She said the intent is to cut costs in “areas of growth because of development, but not necessarily with growth of mail volume.”
DM News has reported that "With a May 11 deadline to improve their bulk-mailing lists or face fines looming, mailers can now receive reports on how well their mail is performing through the US Postal Service. Beginning May 11, 2009, a mailing with a 30% or more error rate for Move Update requirements will no longer qualify for automation discounts."
The Telegraph has reported that "Government insiders have concluded that Royal Mail's business is now so precarious that without a major overhaul it will be unable to continue with its universal daily delivery service. Ministers are warning that Royal Mail risks following the example of the US postal service, which has recently sought permission from the US Congress to drop its Saturday service amid huge financial losses."
February 20, 2009
Here's some of what's new on the Postal Regulatory Commission website:
As Wired has noted, "With the stroke of a pen — or is it a quill? — George Washington signs the Postal Service Act, creating a national postal service. The U.S. Post Office Department born from the Act charged six cents (about $1.40 in today's coin) for letters delivered within a 30-mile radius, and 12.5 cents ($2.90) for letters traveling up to 150 miles. (That's pretty steep, considering that a first-class stamp today costs only 42 cents, and you can ship Priority Mail anywhere in the country for $4.95.)"
The BBC has reported that "Most people in Jersey are getting mail delivered within 24 hours of it being posted in the island, according to the island's postal service. Jersey Post said that more than 97% of local mail was delivered within a day. The latest statistics also show Jersey Post beat its delivery targets for mail to and from Guernsey and the UK."
Canada.com has reported that "In a dimly lit room inside a downtown Toronto hotel, Canadian Jewish groups played video footage from rallies that they said "should shock all Canadians" and asked the organizations involved in the demonstrations to denounce the "hateful rhetoric." The groups that participated in the demonstrations included the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. One picture featured four men standing with an Israeli flag and giving the Nazi salute in Calgary. In another, someone in Montreal held a sign that read, "Israelis are the Nazis of the 21st century." [EdNote: Makes you wonder how many of those protesting had relatives that died on the beaches of Normandy.]
According to Charles Mapa, President of the National League of Postmasters, "The management style embraced by many, many areas and districts throughout this country is sick. Part of this style is to systematically berate, belittle and humiliate subordinates, including POOMs, Postmasters, and supervisors. All the things that we were taught growing up about positive interpersonal relationships have been thrown out the window; instead, those things have been replaced by the bullying techniques that supposedly get results. They get results all right; the results include disheartened managers surrendering to the will-sapping, abusive, autocratic, micromanagement practiced by their superiors in the areas and districts."
Hellmail has reported that "PostFinance, the financial arm of Swiss Post, reports a high level of confidence among its customers. In 2008 it posted unprecedented growth. 120,000 customers decided to do business with PostFinance last year. It also increased the number of customer accounts by 311,000, and the inflow of new money totalled CHF 5.9 billion on average over the year. Profit amounts to around CHF 235 million. Given the financial crisis and the necessary writedowns, the result is solid. PostFinance is a secure financial institution that enjoys a high level of confidence among the Swiss public and in the corporate sector."
From the Federal Register:
|Postal Regulatory Commission|
|Competitive Products Price Changes ,|
|7938–7939 [E9–3595]||[TEXT] [PDF]|
Tribune has reported that "the Communication Workers Union believes it may be on the brink of an historic victory in its campaign to keep the Royal Mail in the public sector. Labour MPs are furious about Government plans for a package of job cuts, depot closures and part privatisation of the popular public service – almost 140 have signed an early day motion condemning the move – and now a couple of Tories have joined in, too."
February 19, 2009
The Memphis Daily News has reported that "Just a month after Memphis International Airport was named the world’s busiest cargo airport for the 17th consecutive year, it will roll out the red carpet for the Airports Council International–North America Air Cargo conference, further proving to the world that Memphis is the epicenter of air shipping."
Press Release: "Brown Printing Company today announced the expansion of their co-mail capacity and capabilities through a strategic vested partnership with ALG Worldwide Logistics and their sister company Print and Mailing Solutions (PAMS). With this partnership, Brown has more than doubled their co-mail volume and more than tripled overall co-mail capacity. With the increased volume, customers will realize greater postage savings."
BNET.com has reported that "Valassis executives told Wall Street analysts that "where newspaper circulation falls below 60 percent penetration they are going to start switching to direct mail coupons (”shared mail.”) Because shared mail is cheaper, they’re also pushing newspapers to lower the cost of taking the coupons they still handle. Newspaper subscribers who still want the coupons they used to get can go online to RedPlum.com and get them there."
Air Cargo World has reported that "DHL Express expanded its international services by extending its time definite guarantee for inbound shipments. The carrier launched DHL Import Express 12:00, a premium time definite product for inbound shipments. DHL Import Express 12:00 assures an inbound delivery by noon from major cities and business centers, with transportation charges met by the receiver. At first, the guaranteed service will be available from major centers in Europe and Asia to the Middle East. DHL plans to roll it out globally throughout the year."
PostCom Members! The following presentations from the PostCom Board of Directors meeting have been posted on this site:
We have tools at usps.com/prices/pricechanges.htm to help you prepare for the May 11 mailing services pricing change. You will find many helpful materials, including the updated Price List with new prices for First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services, and Special Services. We’ve also posted our Federal Register notices and downloadable price files.
The Daily Mail has reported that "Gordon Brown's plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail suffered another blow tonight after senior Labour MPs joined the mounting rebellion."
PostCom Members! Posted on this site are presentations from the Feb. 18-19 meeting of the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC).
Posted on this site is a presentation given at the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee on the upcoming National Postal Forum.
As part of its efforts to educate mailers about Move Update and Intelligent Mail® requirements and benefits, the USPS has developed the Intelligent Mail® and Move Update DVD and User Guide. The DVD includes four segments covering the following topics in order: Move Update Intelligent Mail®, Service Standards Customer/Supplier Agreements (CSAs) The Move Update segment covers the Move Update options that are available to help mailers improve the quality of their addresses. It also describes the changes in the requirements for First-Class Mail and Standard Mail. The Intelligent Mail segment describes how the use of the Intelligent Mail services will enhance the value of your mail stream and describes the Basic and Full-Service options available in May. The third segment of the DVD focuses on Service Standards requirements and describes the USPS standards for each class of mail.
In the "Important Links" section of the USPS web site is a link for the service performance targets for Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 for Market Dominant products. These targets are aggressive Important Links Service Performance Targets FY2009 Market Dominant Products (PDF/10KB) and were developed based on customer expectations, current levels of performance, system capabilities, degree of operational difficulty, product differentiation and economic realities.
The DM Bulletin has reported that "The REaD Group has estimated that overall DM volumes declined by an average of 8.5% in 2008, with the financial services sector hardest hit."
The Washington Post has reported that "It could take years for the nation to fully bounce back from the recession, according to new projections by leaders of the Federal Reserve, who indicated that even once the economy starts expanding again, it will be an "unusually gradual and prolonged" recovery." See also the Wall Street Journal.
Dove Radio has reported that "A local Congressman has put his concerns about closing the Tallevast Mail Processing facility on paper. In a letter to one of the head honcho's at the U.S. Postal Service, Vern Buchanan said with the record number of foreclosures and unemployment locally, the move could hit the Suncoast economy hard. The proposal would eliminate 59 jobs at the Tallevast plant. Buchanan is urging the postal service to just say no to the consolidation plan."
The LakeForester said: "Wait a darn minute! Another postal increase? We were just recovering from the 5 percent increase a few months ago, just got our postage meter used to 42 cents and now we get ANOTHER increase for May for ANOTHER two cents...up to 44 cents a stamp!"
The News International has reported that "the National Organization of Postal Employees (NOPE) plans to launch a nationwide strike against the government’s intent to privatize Pakistan Postal Services."
Steelguru has reported that "It is reported that Pakistan government on Tuesday approved its new privatization policy envisaging sale of 26% shares of 21 state owned enterprises with management control through public private partnership repealing the previous government policy of strategic sales. The new policy, approved by the Cabinet Committee on Privatization headed by Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin would also ensure transparency and take necessary safeguards to maximize documentation in line with the privatization commission ordinance. He said the post office would be converted into postal banks in future under the privatization policy."
WhatTheyThink has reported that "Printing Industries of America today announces that is has posted the full version of its recent Digital Printing Council research study, "Digital Printing and Survivability in the U.S. Postal System", at http://www.printing.org/postalsystemstudy. The study, conducted in July and August of 2008 and exclusively available to Printing Industries' Digital Printing Council members upon release, is now available as a viewable download for anyone to access."
The Sioux Falls Argus Leader has reported that "A national association of postal workers is demanding the removal of two high-level officials in Sioux Falls and Denver for what it considers "inappropriate and inflammatory remarks." The Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service confirmed Wednesday that it has launched a review. At issue is the conduct of Postal Service executives during a conference call this month, Ted Keating, president of the National Association of Postal Supervisors, wrote to Patrick Donahoe, deputy postmaster general and chief operating officer of the U.S. Postal Service. "Those remarks were: 'Some managers ought to be taken out and executed.' The word 'executed' was used more than once," Keating wrote in the Feb. 11 letter, which was obtained by the Argus Leader and later posted on the association's Web site."
The Washington Post has reported that "(D-Mass.), the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on the federal workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia, is well versed in the concerns of postal workers. His mother, Anne, worked as a postal clerk for a quarter-century in South Boston, where Lynch was born and raised and where he continues to live with his family. He still frequently hears his mother's views on the subject. In case Lynch forgets his mother's admonitions, two of his sisters work for the post office, his brother-in-law is a letter carrier, and another dozen members of his extended family are either current or retired postal workers."
From the Federal Register:
|Postal Regulatory Commission|
|New International Mail Contract ,|
|7648–7652 [E9–2960]||[TEXT] [PDF]|
Report of the Postal Regulatory Commission on the Fundraising Exception to the Cooperative Mail Rule
February 18, 2009
Multichannel Merchant has reported that "While catalogers got off relatively lightly with the 2009 postal rates increases announced last week, small parcel shippers got hit hard. Postal rates for catalogs, or standard mail flats, will go up 2.3% effective May 11. But standard rate parcels are increasing an average of 16%. The average 16% increase for standard rate parcels will mostly affect mailers that send items weighing less than 1 lb., such as apparel, toiletries or CDs/DVDs."
According to one businessman interviewed by the Nova Scotia Business Journal, "Mailing out a business package to an international location is almost enough to make Jim Small’s blood start to boil. “It’s outrageous,” he says of the rates charged by Canada Post for the service. “There’s no defending it. Why does Canada Post rip us off like that?” That statement is based on the difference in rates he has discovered between what Canada Post charges to deliver packages compared to that of the U.S. Postal Service."
The financial presentation given to the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) by the USPS' Anthony Morrow has been posted on this site. His presentation mirrored an earlier presentation to the USPS Board of Governors. • Volume declines of 5.2 billion pieces, or 9.3%, driven mostly by the economic recession • Eighth consecutive quarter of accelerating volume declines; Revenue decline of $1.3 billion compared to Q1, FY 2008; 27 million fewer workhours used, which equates to a 7.5% reduction; Some cost benefit was realized from low inflation, but significant cost pressure from labor wage increases. The USPS will be filing tomorrow a Form 8K with the Postal Regulatory Commission which highlights the depths of its financial straits.
.You can also access these notices using the Federal Register link on usps.com/prices/pricechanges.htm, where you can find additional tools such as the price list and downloadable price files.
As one writer on Crosscut put it: "I yield to no one in my love of newspapers. After more than four decades of pounding keyboards for various dailies, and, before that, tossing the now long-gone Yonkers, N.Y., Herald Statesman into the bushes and, occasionally, through front windows of subscribers on my newspaper route, a lot of ink has rubbed off on my psyche. But the time has come to say goodbye to the daily newspaper, a delivery system that should have found its place onto the museum shelf a decade ago, when the Internet shouldered its way into the news business."
The U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors have approved mail prices that are scheduled to go into effect on May 11, 2009.
The Postal Service has posted on its web site its report on mail service performance."
CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:
Dutch TNT cannot see an end to the recession yet. "2009 is likely to
be a very difficult year", said TNT CEO Peter Bakker at the
presentation of the 2008 annual result in Amsterdam on Monday.
The Swedish post achieved a 3% increase in turnover to 2.8bn euros, primarily due to acquisitions. Discounting the takeover of the remaining 50% of Tollpost Globe AS early in 2008 (CEP News 06/08) brings the growth rate down to 1%. The 171.6m euros operating result was 6% below the previous year, while net profit declined by 4% to 137m euros.
The power struggle within the Schweizerische Post management remains undecided. Weekly »Sonntags Zeitung« (08.02) reported that the federal minister in charge Leuenberger had received three members of the post’s administrative board after they had written to him. Rudolf W Hug, president of Panalpina’s administrative board, Peter Thomas Sany, designated chief technology officer with UBS, and Wolfgang Werlé, president of the Hiestand administrative board, declared in their letter to the minister that they considered themselves unable to work with the designated chairman of the administrative board Claude Béglé.
Deutsche Post CEO Frank Appel apparently plans to introduce fundamental changes to mail services in Germany as part of his "Strategy 2015" to be presented in March.
For the Finnish post Itella, 2008 was characterised by an increase in turnover and a drop in profit. Last Friday the company announced returns of 1.95bn euros, up 14.2% on 2007.
A new general director is at the helm of the Russian post (CEP News 02/09). Alexander Kisseljov was previously CEO of Svyasinvest, a big telecommunications holding company. Last Thursday the Russian Federal Post and Telecommunications Agency (Rossvyaz) appointed him deputy general director of the post. He is due to be finally confirmed in his position on 20 February, the official closing date for the job advertisement.
Only a few days after the parliamentary vote (CEP News 05/09), the German Federal Council followed suit and agreed to an extension of the so-called deployment act, which regulates wages for workers posted abroad.
In Switzerland the restructuring of the post office network is meeting with opposition. After the post’s announcement last week that 500 small post offices would be assessed, trade union Kommunikation is launching a campaign to make people in the areas concerned aware of the situation.
In France the national committee against the privatisation of La Poste, which was founded by the trade unions, has urged president Sarkozy to call a referendum on the future of public postal services.
A "bespoke newspaper" as currently tested by Schweizerische Post with 100 subscribers and 300 further internet customers (CEP News 06/09) is soon to be launched in Berlin, too.
The Indian government’s budget for 2009/2010 grants India Post a 55% budget increase. Almost 100m euros in extra money is intended to help computerise 5,000 post offices and open 100 new branches, among other things. The government also wants the post to offer financial services to a greater degree.
DHL-Sinotrans (2007 turnover: 501m euros) seems to be preparing for close cooperation with a domestic Chinese express operator.
TNT is moving further into the South American domestic market. Two years after the acquisition of Expresso Mercurio, Brazil’s biggest express operator, TNT announced the takeover of Chile’s LIT Cargo on Monday.
Russian CEP operator City Express (2007 turnover: 21m euros) intends to lend a helping hand to its customers during the economic crisis through drastic price reductions. At the end of January City Express announced a price drop of up to 40% for domestic consignments, while international express consignments will become up to 15% cheaper.
Last Wednesday Chinese politicians and representatives of several CEP service providers got together for the founding meeting of the China Express Association.
Deutsche Post is cutting back working hours at its Leipzig hub.
After GeoPost pulled out of its planned purchase of Spanish CEP operator Seur (CEP News 02/09), sellers have apparently now resumed talks with British private equity firm Doughty Hanson.
Deutsche Post appears to have taken over all the shares in Selekt Mail, one of the biggest private mail operators in the Dutch market.
French La Poste plans to use in the near future several hundred electric cars for delivery purposes.
A confidential report relating to the spying scandal at Deutsche Telekom incriminates Klaus Zumwinkel , the former chairman of the company’s supervisory board CEP News 22/08). German business magazine »Wirtschaftswoche« (13.02) reported that Deutsche Telekom had for weeks kept a report secret that substantiates suspicions that Mr Zumwinkel was more deeply involved in the matter than previously thought.
Media reports claim that Mr Zumwinkel is intending to leave Germany. He has filed his emigration papers and is planning to move to his castle on Lake Garda, a representative for the Regional Court in Bochum said in confirmation of a report in German tabloid »Bild«.
The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)
The Economic Times has reported that "The postal sector has got a 55 per cent jump in the outlay for 2009-10 at Rs 620 crore to carry out all-round development and repositioning of India Post through technology induction and entrepreneurial management."
UPI Asia has reported that "Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso has caused a stir with his recent remarks regarding the privatization of Japan’s postal services, which have bewildered people throughout Japan. His approval rating dropped further and calls for his departure within his own party are expected to swell in the next couple of months."
The Portsmouth Herald News has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is on the lookout for cost-cutting measures in the face of the national recession, and some local employees are worried about their jobs. A public meeting has been scheduled to discuss the results of an area mail processing feasibility study done at the Portsmouth processing and distribution facility on Heritage Avenue. The study was done to see if it makes sense to consolidate some operations to the Manchester processing and distribution center."
The Nation has reported that "Postal Corporation of Kenya is still confident that its money transfer service, Posta pay will survive the onslaught by competition."
Transport Intelligence has reported that "Netherlands-based worldwide express operator TNT this week announced it had acquired 100% of LIT Cargo, a leading express delivery company in Chile whose key vertical sectors include automotive, pharmaceuticals and high tech."
From the National Association of Major Mail Users: "VAM (Value Add Mailer) Partnering Initiatives with Canada Post: The VAM community plays a vital role for mailers and Canada Post." [EdNote: Sheesh! Even Canada Post gets it. Where's the appreciation of value-added services from the USPS? Value-add? Heck, they'd rather raise the prices for anyone who adds value on anything. Don't believe it? Look at the prices for Confirm."
CNN has reported that "Postmaster General John E. Potter has come under criticism for his total 2008 compensation of nearly $800,000, but the agency's board of governors says the pay is less than what leaders of several other independent government agencies receive. Postmaster General John Potter isn't paid as much as leaders of some other independent government agencies. And the amount is far below that given to CEOs in the private sector, even though compensation and benefit packages for postal service officers are required by law to be comparable to those given to private-sector employees doing similar work, the board of governors says."
ABC News has reported that "Potter's base salary rose from $186,000 in 2007 to more than $260,000 last year. On top of that, he received a "performance" bonus of $135,000. Between Potter's salary, bonuses, retirement benefits and other perks, total compensation was more than $850,000. "$800,000 doesn't pass the basic sniff test," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who is the ranking member for the House subcommittee on the Postal Service. "It can't be right."
According to the Public Representative over at the Postal Regulatory Commission, "There are two themes that run through the PAEA that bear directly on the sustainability of the Postal Service. One is that postal products, individually and collectively, must cover their attributable costs. See sections 3622(c)(2) and 3633(a)(2). Another theme is that the Postal Service must select rates that are economically efficient. [T]o the extent that rates meet these two objectives, they will maximize the sustainability of the Postal Service."
The Feb. 17, 2009 issue of the National Association of Postal Supervisors NAPS Legislative & Regulatory Update has been posted on this site.
Hellmail has reported that "On January 14th, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers endorsed the concept of a program of development for the Ukranian postal service starting in 2009 and running until 2013. Primarily it needed to ensure that the service complied with legislative requirements of postal communication services, and would involve structural, technical and technological reforms in the context of international agreements. Key to that would be the implementation of automation and information technology as well as the development of new services."
The Nonprofit Times has reported that "Charities that use premiums to fundraise have again taken it on the chin from the United States Postal Service. Nonprofit parcels and Nonflat Machinables (NFM) will again bear the brunt of postal rate increases, with percentage increases ranging from almost 10 percent to 50 percent, according to analysis from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA)."
From Business Wire: "PerSage, Inc., market innovator and leading provider of automated, wireless PO mailbox notification services, reported a surge in demand for its popular POPickup™ service that sends automated email and/or text message alerts directly to PO box renters when they have First Class Mail® or packages. The company attributes the increased interest in part to the recent market entry by United Parcel Service® that has raised general awareness of mail notification services among the nation’s 10,000 mail receiving stores."
Multichannel Merchant has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service was not able to implement a prospecting rate for catalogers this year, according to Stephen M. Kearney, vice president of pricing and classification for the USPS. But during a postal teleconference last week, Kearney said that the possibility for a prospecting rate remains on the table. When asked about a possible prospecting rate for catalogers, Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Dan G. Blair said: “Prospecting rates are part of the pricing flexibility that the service has under PAEA (Postal Reform), and the commission is open to consideration of any proposals in this area."
February 17, 2009
As Newspapers & Technology has noted, "Electronic newspaper vendors continue to augment their product lines with new features aimed at helping newspapers adapt to an ever-changing digital frontier. These features, offered by suppliers like NewspaperDirect, Olive Software and alfa Media Solutions, span a broad range — from Web 2.0 capabilities to foundations that allow papers to pump their information across a spectrum of multimedia channels." [EdNote: Magazines and other forms of print media are no doubt not far behind.]
You can find on the Postal Regulatory Commission web site:
Be sure to check out the Consumer Postal Council write-up on Poste Italiane.
Yahoo! Tech has reported that "Microsoft founder Bill Gates has agreed to help fund a massive rollout of projects enabling poor mobile phone users to transfer money using their handsets, an industry body announced Tuesday. The GSM Association, which represents 750 mobile phone networks in the world, said a grant of 12.5 million dollars (9.8 million euros) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would help fund 20 initiatives in Asia, Africa and South America."
The latest blog entry has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s Internet site “Pushing the Envelope.” The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place. To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/. Neighborhood Mail. The Postal Service requires full addresses on most mail, sometimes creating unnecessary complications for small businesses that simply want to distribute flyers in their neighborhood. The Postal Service previously explored a concept called Neighborhood Mail to make it easier for small businesses to use the mail. You are invited to comment on this blog and vote whether you think Neighborhood Mail is a good idea. You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at: www.uspsoig.gov. If you have additional questions, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2322.
As the editor of the Dubuque Telegraph Herald put it: "Don't confuse the system delivering information with the information itself. Assuming the Internet will replace your newspaper's content would be like believing that your postal carrier will start writing out your holiday cards."
From PR Newswire: "DST Output, provider of customer communication output solutions to many of the country's largest financial services companies, today announced eProspectusDirect, a summary prospectus delivery solution that enables mutual fund companies to establish compliance with the SEC's new Summary Prospectus rule (www.sec.gov/rules/final/2009/33-8998.pdf), which goes into effect March 31, 2009. While participation this year is voluntary, fund companies must comply with the new disclosure requirements beginning January 2010."
From PR-USA.net: "NAC Geographic Products Inc. announced that the Government of Mongolia has passed an important resolution to adopt the revolutionary technology of NAC Geographic Products Inc. - the Universal Address System for all location related services and products in Mongolia after a comprehensive research of all address systems in the world. This is another breakthrough for the Universal Address System to become the main stream address and locating system in the world. When Universal Addresses are used as global postcodes for automatic mail sorting, they can sort mail from the world level to the final mail boxes with better coverage and accuracy than any existing postcodes."
Traffic World has reported that "DHL built up the world's largest forwarding and logistics operation with the idea that it would handle the largest share of growing global trade over time. Now, that scale is giving the company full exposure to a downturn of historic proportions. After watching a steep slide in global trade late in 2008, the head of DHL Global Forwarding says the company expects shipping volume around the world to decline 20 percent in the first part of 2009 and 10 percent for the full year. The grim outlook for air and ocean shipments this year extends into 2009, when DHL foresees only slow improvement in global trade in 2010."
The Kansas City, KS, (KCKS) P&DF is expected to close by the end of May, 2009. The SCF ZIP codes currently handled by the KCKS Plant are 660-662. These ZIP codes will be absorbed and included in the Kansas City, MO, (KCKSMO) Plant SCF ZIP codes. For business permit customers, the Kansas City, KS, Business Mail Entry Unit will be relocated to another facility in Kansas City, KS, possibly the Civic Center Post Office, 550 Nebraska Avenue, Kansas City. KS 66101. Mailers who prepare destination entry rate or "discounted" mailings for Sectional Center Facility (SCF) area of 660-662 ZIP Codes can deliver those drop shipments to the Kansas City, MO, P&DC, located at 1700 Cleveland Ave., 64121.
The St. Joe News has reported that "U.S. Rep. Sam Graves has taken the congressional lead in pushing the U.S. Postal Service to continue its six-day mail delivery service. The Northwest Missouri lawmaker introduced legislation Friday that would express "the sense of the House" about maintaining a mail schedule that began in 1912. The proposed resolution has been referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Reps. Nick Rahall, D-W.V., Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., have joined the Missouri Republican as co-sponsors."
As Bill McAllister has noted in a recent issue of Linn's Stamp News, "Executives at the United States Postal Service were delighted when the Ponemon Institute recently named their organization as as "most trusted government agency" in America for the fifth year in a row.The rating was touted by Postmaster General John E. "Jack" Potter as another indication of how much the American public admire their postal service. At the Jan. 28 hearing on the Postal Service's precarious financial health, the senators were irate at why monthly reports on the agency's finances and postal volumes are no longer being made public. It makes a mockery of the Postal Service's pledges of greater transparency, they told Potter."
A Postal Service presentation on International Priority Airmail (IPA)/ International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) Price and Product Changes by Frank Cebello, Executive Director, Global Business Management, USPS has been posted on this site.
Press Release: BCC Software, a BÖWE BELL + HOWELL company and the leading developer of highperformance solutions for professional mailers, will kick off its 2009 Postal Education and Knowledge (PEAK) Webinar series Wednesday, February 25 with an informative session on the implementation of the Flats Sequencing System (FSS) and a new discounted price for BCC customers. Beginning with this session, admission to live online PEAK events is $49 for mailing professionals already working with BCC and $149 for noncustomers. A downloadable recording of each session, included in the livesession registration price, is also made available after the session. Nonattendees may purchase these recorded events for $99, or $49 for BCC customers. For more information, or to register for a session, visit www.PEAKwebinars.com.
AMEInfo has reported that "Twenty-two Arab postal organisations took part in a workshop to familiarize themselves with the International Financial System (IFS), a low-cost post-to-post money transfer system, which is backed by Universal Postal Union (UPU). The workshop was part of an exercise to implement the IFS system in Arab countries, offering people a cheaper but technologically advanced remittance service through the postal network. The participants got to understand the technical and operational aspects of the IFS."
Media Daily News has reported that "If anyone is still cherishing hopes of a radio turnaround in 2009, Wachovia analyst Marci Ryvicker's latest note to investors should doom that idea. The outlook is overwhelmingly negative, as Ryvicker sees a 9% decline in revenues in 2008 followed by a further 13% decline in 2009."
According to Business Week, "Newspaper boosters are quick to blame the Internet for the death of dailies. The frequent object of their ire is Craigslist, which lets users post local ads for nothing. Craigslist CEO Craig Newmark begs to differ. In my interview with him on Yahoo's TechTicker last year, he said his site has had a "significant, but still pretty small" impact on classified-ad placement. In his view, local newspapers are at least partly to blame for their own demise. "Newspapers have much bigger issues," he continued. "Conventional news media have forgotten they're a community service. They're supposed to speak truth to power and do things like fact-checking and editing, and when newspapers forget to do that they lose more trust. And that is more damaging than anything we could ever do." Whatever the root cause of the upheaval among local papers, local advertisers are not rushing to online local sites to fill the void left by this moribund industry. And that means Web sites hoping to profit from local Internet advertising may be in for as big a struggle as their counterparts in print."
Engadget Mobile has reported that "In an effort to bring the wonders of the world wide web to more remote locations, Nokia is teaming with Mobile-XL in order to pre-load handsets with the latter company's XLBrowser. Unlike traditional mobile browsers, this one relies on SMS technology in order to deliver "useful information, such as news, currency conversion, finance information and games." The software was designed to bring snippets of the web to handsets where internet, WAP and GPRS services are "slow, limited, and unreliable."
Director Of Finance Online has reported that "The Royal Mail has announced plans to slash a massive 16,000 jobs. This despite announcing its first profits in 20 years on January the 21st. The job cuts could unleash further industrial unrest in an economy already experiencing unrest over the issue of jobs."
The Federal Times has reported that "The House of Representatives may soon send a message to the United States Postal Service — you’d better deliver the mail six days a week. Facing falling revenues, the USPS has suggested a series of cutbacks, including eliminating Saturday mail service. That didn’t set well with four representatives, who introduced HRes 173 Friday: “A resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States Postal Service should take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of its 6-day mail delivery service.” The resolution, sent to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is sponsored by Reps. Samuel Graves, R-Mo.; Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.; Chris Smith, R-N.J.; and Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif."
According to Roll Call (the newspaper about Capitol Hill), "In the modern age of texts and Tweets, it’s not sexy to talk about direct mail. But amid all the talk about YouTube channels, social networking sites and online fundraising, direct mail (otherwise known as snail mail) was still a key component of Obama’s campaign and continues to be a critical tool for downballot races. Without the presidential excitement, direct mail remains an effective option for nonstatewide campaigns, particularly those in expensive or inefficient media markets. It’s also difficult to target a very small and precise universe of voters online, where connection is more interest-based rather than geographic, in order to win local races."
The Washington Times has reported that "Postmaster General John E. Potter recently warned that economic times are so dire that the U.S. Postal Service may end mail delivery one day a week and freeze executive salaries. But his personal fortunes are nonetheless rising thanks to 40 percent in pay raises since 2006, a $135,000 bonus last year and several perks usually reserved for corporate CEOs. The changes, approved by the Postal Board of Governors and contained in a little-noticed regulatory filing in December, brought Mr. Potter's total compensation and retirement benefits to more than $800,000 in 2008. That is more than double the salary for President Obama. The new compensation package, much of it deferred to later years, goes beyond a newly beefed-up salary, now $263,575, that Congress arranged for him as part of a 2006 law to make top postal salaries more competitive with those in the private sector. At least four other postal officials got more than a quarter-million dollars in total compensation in 2008." See also CBS News.
Reuters has reported that "Deutsche Post AG's courier service venture in China is nearing a partnership agreement with a domestic express delivery firm, APEX."
The Financial Times has reported that "Gordon Brown will press ahead with contentious legislation to part-privatise Royal Mail “within weeks”, despite facing potentially the biggest backbench rebellion of his premiership, according to government insiders. The prime minister is determined to face down a revolt by Labour MPs and the main postal union, which is threatening to withdraw about £1m a year in support to the hard-up party."
According to Mary Ann Bennett, President & CEO of the Bennett Group, "The USPS announced the new postage rates that are effective May 11, 2009. The 41-page document is the equivalent of the first of many nails that will close the lid on the coffin containing the much ballyhooed U.S. Postal Service’s IMB."
to PostCom Radio's Postal Podcast
Join PostCom President Gene Del Polito and PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance in a discussion of the Postal Service's announcement of postal price changes.
You can make listening to PostCom podcasts somewhat easier by right-clicking the above link and downloading the podcast to your computer. You then can listen on your computer or on any MP3 player including the iPod..
February 16, 2009
The Mailers Council has reported that "Both the majority and minority seats on the House Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia have been announced. Majority Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman Eleanor Holmes Norton Danny Davis Elijah Cummings Dennis Kucinich Lacy Clay Gerry Connolly Minority Mr. Chaffetz, Ranking Member John McHugh, Vice Ranking Member Mark Souder Brian Bilbray."
The Paypers has reported that "Finnish provider of postal, transport logistics, invoicing, payroll, and data management automation services Itella reports it has achieved a 14 percent increase in consolidated net sales in 2008, which reached EUR 1.952 billion from EUR 1.710 billion in 2007. The company's net sales increased by 7.1 percent in Finland and by a total of 34.1 percent in other countries, with international operations accounting for 31 percent of the net sales in question."
The Emirates News Agency has reported that "Emirates Post and India Post have agreed to expand cooperation in the postal fields, express mail, remittances and philately."
AllAfrica.com has reported that "The Nigeria Postal Services [NIPOST] will soon establish an ultra modern mail sorting centre in Ogun State."
The National Catholic Reporter has reported that "Catholic press officials are warning editors that the recently announced 4 percent increase in postal rates could be just the tip of the iceberg as the U.S. Postal Service deals with a $6 billion budget shortfall for 2009. “Keep your eyes wide open on this one: It’s only 4 percent, so you may say it’s ‘just the cost of doing business,’“ said a Feb. 10 e-mail to Catholic Press Association members from the CPA Postal Committee. “But it will hardly dent that $6 billion deficit. The Postal Service intends to look harder and dig deeper,” the committee added. “It proposes cutting Saturday delivery, clearly a problem for those of us who mail on Thursday or Friday. Also perhaps at risk: the 5 percent nonprofit discount, and perhaps even the entire periodicals classification itself.”
According to IPE.com, "The pension fund of Dutch postal firm TNT has become the latest scheme to blame falling interest rates for much of its new underfunded status."
The DM Bulletin has reported that "Royal Mail is targeting small businesses with an innovative online tool that will enable them to produce personalised direct mail campaigns in less than 30 minutes. The postal group has launched Mailshots Online as a cost-effective means for companies to market to existing and potential customers, with prices starting from 55p per item. The service comes as Royal Mail embarks on a strategy to attract more small business customers to use its services."
Punch has reported that "Despite admitting that the Nigeria Postal Service is facing operational challenges, the Post Master-General of the Federation, Mallam Ibrahim Moribaba, has said the agency will meet the revenue target of N50bn in 2009."
The Copenhagen Post has reported that "From next year postmen will no longer deliver mail directly to the door of apartments in multi-storey buildings, but to a common mailbox located on the ground floor. However the national postal service, Post Danmark, is concerned that property owners are not taking enough measures to facilitate the change."
Press Trust of India has reported that "The postal sector has got a 55 per cent jump in the outlay for 2009-10 at Rs 620 crore to carry out all-round development and repositioning of India Post through technology induction and entrepreneurial management. The Budget at a Glance of the UPA Government said 5,000 post offices are targeted for computerisation and networking. Also, 100 more branch offices, along with 50 sub-post offices, would be opened in 2009-10."
Dow Jones has reported that "Dutch postal services company TNT NV hasn't lost any customers at its troubled International Express unit, Chief Executive Peter Bakker said Monday. Speaking after the company reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter results, due mostly to lower volumes at its Express unit, Bakker said TNT hasn't lost any customers at Express, but rather the firm has seen less business there as customers refrain from using premium services to send documents and parcels."
According to Hellmail, "The Royal Mail, fed up with the apparently lucrative market in stamps that have already been used, is to introduce special tamper-proof stamps."
DutchNews.nl has reported that "Postal firm TNT on Monday announced its 2008 earnings had fallen by 18.6% to €720m. The company said it will make cuts of €400m, higher than earlier stated, but did not give details. Earnings in the fourth quarter were 60% down due to restructuring charges and the economic crisis which has hit the company's express delivery arm in particular."
According to Gallup, "When given a choice of three options for helping the U.S. Postal Service out of its financial difficulties, a majority of Americans prefer cutbacks in services -- such as ending Saturday mail delivery and closing post office branches -- to either government assistance or higher stamp prices."
Eliot Landau will discuss his award-winning philatelic exhibition “Lincoln, Slavery and the Civil War” at this year’s Maynard Sundman Lecture at Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum Saturday, March 7, at 1 p.m. In addition, the collection will be on display in the museum’s Franklin Foyer from Friday, March 6, to Sunday, March 8. The exhibit combines stamps, mail, ephemera and artifacts in an engaging exploration of Lincoln’s presidency, the Civil War and black history. The collection of visual materials tells the story from a unique perspective using everyday objects, such as a letter, an abolitionist newspaper, photographs and actual shackles worn by a slave. In addition, Landau has prepared a special exhibit, “Collect Lincoln for Yourself.”
According to Traffic World, "The view from America's loading docks, warehouse gates and rail yards is bleak, but some light is trying to pierce the economic gloom. Despite massive job cuts, falling stock values and a deep and persistent freight recession, there are signs in some corners of the industrial freight marketplace that economic decline could be slowing and perhaps bumping toward a bottom. Demand may even be returning in some of the foundation sectors of manufacturing, the raw materials and bulk commodities that are brought together in industrial production."
iPhonestalk has reported that "FedEx has launched a FedEx Mobile iPhone app with up-to-date shipment tracking information."
February 15, 2009
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, "Hard economic times are revealing more clearly than ever that the U.S. Postal Service needs a comprehensive overhaul. The warning signs should compel Congress, the Postal Service and the service's employee unions to cooperate on reform to suit the modern market of electronic mail."
The Scottish National Party has "told Labour it must drop plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail. SNP MP and spokesman on postal services Mike Weir today called for Lord Mandelson’s plan to part-privatise Royal Mail to be ditched as Labour’s backbench rebellion grew. Mr Weir, MP for Angus, said “The Labour party is split from top to bottom over Lord Mandelson’s privatisation plans."
The Sunday Times has reported that "There were more negatives and positives reflected on the workings of the Postal Department when Minister of Posts and Telecommunication Mahinda Wijesekera rose to speak at a recent function. Minister Wijesekera, at last week’s launch of the Western Union Money Transfer Service by Western Union Company in association with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, across its Post Offices, said he wasn’t happy with the operations of the Postal Department and said its income earning units – the Telecommunications section and the Savings Account section - have been removed from the department."
Hellmail has reported that "The Royal Mail risks running into massive problems unless it is part-privatised - thats the message from Downing Street as rebel MPs opposed to the plan, continue to dig their heels in. Those in favour of selling a minority stake in the UK's main postal operator say that delaying the move is merely 'treading water' and that the Royal Mail has already reached a point of no-return and will end up costing the tax-payer billions of pounds unless a partial sell-off is approved, and quickly. Whilst almost all MPs agree that Royal Mail is unsustainable without change, it is the form in which that change takes place that remains a sticking point."
February 14, 2009
The Daily Telegraph has reported that "Holland's TNT and other private sector rivals currently use Royal Mail postal staff for the "final mile" doorstep delivery - and pay for the service. However TNT said it had now started to run a trial doorstep delivery service in Liverpool for the first time. The service, which covers only a few thousands addresses, is for business consumers sending post to private addresses. If the scheme is successful, its UK business TNT Post could start delivering to thousands of homes in other towns and cities."
According to DM News, "With the US Postal Service announcing its rate increases for 2009, the agency and the mailing industry face an uncertain future."
Hellmail has reported that "Swiss Post is now offering its customers the opportunity to offset the CO2 emissions of postal consignments with a "pro clima" surcharge. The offset option applies to both domestic and international consignments and can be purchased at the post office counter or with WebStamp. To mail a letter, the surcharge varies between CHF 0.01 and CHF 0.10, depending on the destination country. Swiss Post will also offset emissions caused as a result of mailing its own correspondence. The revenues will be channelled into CO2 emission certificates from projects such as solar installations and wind parks."
The latest copy of the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. electronic governmental affairs newsletter is available on the NAPUS web site.
February 13, 2009
PostCom Members!! PostCom's charts of 2009 postal prices comparing new and current rates has been posted on this site.
The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:
The Postal Service published its new mailing prices that take effect May 11, 2009, capping the overall price increase at 3.8 percent. Some products will see lower-than-inflation increases, while others face increases above the 3.8 percent Consumer Price Index cap. Here is a full recap of the reasoning behind the price changes, the final rules and the price comparison charts.
American Postal Workers Union President William Burrus "has denounced the postage increase proposed by the USPS Feb. 10, declaring, “The planned rate structure would continue the failed strategies that have brought the Postal Service to the brink of disaster.” The “worksharing” discounts for first-class letters would actually increase in four of five categories, Burrus noted; in the fifth category the discount would remain the same. The USPS proposal calls for an increase of 4.76 percent for single-piece first-class letters (from 42 cents to 44 cents), but only a 3.26 percent increase for first-class automated letters. “Once again the Postal Service is asking individual customers and small businesses to subsidize major mailers and mail pre-sorters,” Burrus said."
WCTV has said: "Good news for utility users as you can now say goodbye to your paper bills and hello to an on-line account. It's all part of Tallahassee's effort to go green. In just three months, over 6,000 residential and business customers have signed up to receive their monthly utility bill electronically with a new program called "SmartBill."
The Irish Times has reported that "just before lunchtime today, about 80 delegates, including officials from the European Commission, will gather in Dublin’s Westin Hotel to debate the liberalisation of the Irish postal market, which must be completed by the end of December 2010. A series of slides will be presented from a report produced by Ecorys on market deregulation across Europe. Remarkably, 40 per cent of the replies received for the report came from users in Ireland. Perhaps not so surprising was the fact that 40 per cent of respondents in Ireland were not happy with the service provided by An Post. This compared with 35 per cent of respondents in the rest of Europe being dissatisfied with their national postal operator. In relation to the quality of An Post’s service in particular, 78 per cent of respondents were unhappy, compared with 57 per cent for the rest of Europe."
The Evening Standard has reported that "Private sector posties could be on the streets of London within two years. Dutch postal giant TNT says it is handling so much London mail it could make commercial sense to have its own doorstep delivery force in the capital by 2011. Such a move would be another blow to the Royal Mail. TNT says it handles 20 per cent of all mail in London after winning accounts for organisations including BT, Barclays and Sky, as well as working for a number of councils and hospitals - with fast growth since the postal system was opened up to competition. TNT and other private sector rivals such as UK Mail currently use Royal Mail postal staff for the "final mile" doorstep delivery - and pay for the service."
According to Hellmail, "The government says it has no intention of making a u-turn on the partial privatisation of the Royal Mail. Both main opposition parties also back plans, in principle, for a strategic partnership which will see 30% of Royal Mail sold to an outside investor such as Dutch-owned TNT. Despite a backbench rebellion by a growing number of Labour MPs, and a recent poll which suggests that the public are not in favour of the idea of a strategic partnership, the government is determined that the plan, gleaned from a comprehensive report by Richard Hooper, will go though. It is thought that the government may still gain enough votes from opposition MPs who have so far failed to be convinced by those firmly against the plan."
Docket No. R2009-2: "Notice And Order On Planned Rate Adjustments And Classification Changes For Market Dominant Postal Products"
Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane "Last week, the U.S. Postal Service Postmaster-General suggested service cuts, including cutting the six-day mail delivery schedule to five days. The economic downturn is a catalyst to the postal service's decrease in volume and revenue due to many factors including more people receiving their letters through email and bill paying over the internet. How can the USPS be reformed? We talk with Michael Crew, Director of the Center for Research in Regulated Industries at Rutgers University and Rick Geddes, associate professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University." Listen to the mp3
When I received a press release touting "the first all-digital Web-based alternative to the U.S. Postal Service," said a writer for U.S. News and World Report, my first thought was, "Like... e-mail?" E-mail has not, of course, replaced our postal mail, but it sure would be nice if it could - paper mail is wasteful when you consider the tons of resources used, and the carbon emitted in its delivery. The USPS has always been threatened by electronic mail ever since it was created, especially as more people who care about saving time, money and the environment go online to pay their bills and correspond each day. E-mail addresses lack geographic grounding, though, so your congressman or neighborhood association wouldn't be able to send you an online notice unless they already knew your e-mail address. E-mail addresses can come from any number of providers, and local businesses who want to advertise to a small audience would have no way of directly reaching potential customers online. Zumbox wants to change that.
From PR Newswire: "Workers, clergy and community leaders in Los Angeles told FedEx CEO Fred Smith that dwindling benefits, higher out-of-pocket medical costs, the loss of pensions and 401(k) compensation has put FedEx workers on the verge of slipping from the middle class."
Multichannel Merchant has reported that "Who do catalogers have to thanks for the relatively slight postal rate hike announced yesterday? The American Catalog Mailers Association—at least according to ACMA executive director Hamilton Davison."
February 12, 2009
The agenda for the February 18-19 meeting of the Postmaster General's Mailers Technical Advisory Committee has been posted on this site.
A Word from the Chairman: "Much attention has been paid recently to the Postal Service’s announcement that it was asking Congress for authority to decrease the frequency of mail service from six days a week to five days as a means of cutting costs in the face of declining mail revenues and volumes. The frequency of mail delivery and the current legislative requirement for six day a week delivery is just one area discussed in the Commission’s recent report on Universal Postal Service and the Postal Monopoly. In the Report, the Commission found that the universal service obligation (USO) in the United States has statutory underpinnings, but there is no specific USO. Rather, the Commission identified seven attributes of the USO – delivery frequency being one...." (Read more.)
Everything needs perspective. Think you've got something to fret about with Tuesday's announced price changes? Then check out a history of past postal rate increases on the Postal Regulatory Commission web site.
Press Release: "Does your organization want to know the extent of the May 2009 postal increase and how it will affect your mailing operations and costs? GrayHair Software, the leading provider of innovative solutions for business mailers, offers our USPS Rate Comparison Service called the GrayHair Postage Calculator. This will provide you with a detailed view of the impact the recent postage increase will have on your organization. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org"
The Coeur D'Alene Press has reported that "The Spokane Postal District is trying to make amends with Isaac Fish, the postal carrier whose contract with the Coeur d'Alene post office wasn't renewed this month due to a car accident that occurred the same day he saved a woman's life on his route. The Postal Service had been bombarded this week with complaints from locals over the situation. But the post office's gesture doesn't have the 21-year-old elated. "It will basically cut my pay in half, take away union, take away vacations, no other benefits," he said. But doubting he could find anything better with the state of the economy, he accepted.
Brand Republic has reported that "The Royal Mail Group has called a pitch for the £15 million direct marketing account for the Post Office. The postal services company is looking for an agency to develop and exploit its consumer database in order to optimise customer value, as the business attempts to reposition itself from a product-focused organisation to a customer-centric one. The brief will have a particular emphasis on direct mail, press and digital advertising. It will also focus on how to best maximise return on investment through direct response media."
PublicTechnology.net has reported that "The Spanish national postal service is to switch to new eco-friendly scooters powered by 100% electric energy. Correos has taken a major step forward, by choosing Oxygen CargoScooters with Lithium-Ion batteries, to deliver its mail and to offer Spanish citizens an innovative means of bringing about national environmental policies. The new eco-friendly Correos fleet will debut in Spain in February 2009."
The Republican has reported that "Faced with less and less mail to deliver, the U.S. Postal Service is considering shifting some operations from its processing and distribution center in the Indian Orchard section to a facility in Hartford."
IceNews has reported that "In one of the more unusual mergers of the year, the national postal services of Sweden and Denmark have signed an agreement to combine their two agencies into one. Unless European competition authorities deem the merger to be bad for business, both Denmark and Sweden will soon have their mail handled by a single company."
Business Week wants to know: "Is It Time for a Postal Service 2.0? Some say the U.S. Postal Service, awash in red ink, needs a tech revamp. Electronic delivery companies like Earth Class Mail and Zumbox are ready to help. In an effort to rein in costs, Postmaster General John E. Potter last month floated before a Senate subcommittee the idea of cutting back on mail delivery to five days a week from six. But what USPS may need most is a technological revamp."
The New Lenox Patriot has reported that "The Village of New Lenox has been chosen as the debut community for the country's first all-digital online alternative to the paper postal system. Zumbox, headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., announced the launch of its limited public beta test on Tuesday, Feb. 10, and a day earlier, representatives presented the product at the New Lenox Village Board meeting. The Village plans to use Zumbox, which has assigned an online mailbox — or Zumbox — to every physical street address in the United States, to communicate with residents, save tax dollars through reduced postage costs, and lessen its environmental impact by reducing paper usage. Zumbox has created a paperless postal system that enables paper mail senders to send the same content to traditional physical street addresses but online instead — without using any paper or scanning."
For reference, please note the documents from the three Advisory Committee meetings held to date have been posted on the State Department website at the following link: http://www.state.gov/p/io/ipp/c25478.htm
Press Release: The Postal Service has approved the first two-way postage indicia for mailers using reusable envelopes. Mailers now can elect to use approved reusable envelopes with one printed indicia for both outgoing and reply postage in the upper right corner of an envelope. The reusable envelopes eliminate the need for reply envelopes and reduce the weight of mailpieces, making mail more affordable for direct mailers. And the two-way indicia halves the number of envelopes needed for direct mail campaigns, benefiting the environment. USPS authorized EcoEnvelopes, a Minneapolis-based envelope manufacturer, to produce the envelopes. The two-way indicia went into effect Feb. 2. It includes the permit imprint representing the outgoing class of mail with the Business Reply Mail “No postage necessary if mailed in the United States” imprint and horizontal bars immediately beneath it.
Docket No. R2009-2: The Postal Regulatory Commission has established Docket R2009-2, to receive comments on postal rate changes for market dominant products filed by the U.S. Postal Service yesterday. The rate changes are scheduled to take effect on May 11, 2009. Market dominant products include First-Class letters and cards, advertising mail, Periodicals, and single piece parcels. Individuals or organizations wishing to submit comments may go to Docket R2009-2 on the Commission’s website, www.prc.gov. Commission rules require that action be taken within 45 days of receipt of the filing and permit a 20-day public comment period. The comment period allows the public to address the consistency of the new rates with statutory requirements, including a CPI-based cap. Within 14 days of the conclusion of the public comment period, the Commission will determine whether the planned rate adjustments are lawful and issue an order announcing its findings. Ken Richardson, an attorney in the PRC’s Office of General Counsel, will represent the interests of the public in this proceeding.
The Deadlines for the Intelligent Mail Universities are fast approaching! Due to space limitations, there will be no registrations accepted on site. You must pre-register to attend an Intelligent Mail University. Registrations must be submitted no later than the following dates: Registration Deadline February 18, 2009 February 23, 2009 February 26, 2009 March 2, 2009 City Addison, IL Los Angeles, CA Atlanta, GA New York, NY Event Date February 24, 2009 February 26, 2009 March 3, 2009 March 5, 2009. To register click here.
The Los Angeles Times has reported that "One day after FedEx Corp. announced it would trim 900 jobs from its hardest hit shipping arm, Chief Executive Fred W. Smith said Tuesday that he expected the U.S. economy to improve by late summer or early fall.DMM Advisory: May 11 Pricing Change
.We have tools at usps.com/prices/pricechanges.htm to help you prepare for the May 11 mailing services pricing change. You will find many helpful materials, including the updated Price List with new prices for First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services, and Special Services. We’ve also posted our Federal Register notices, and downloadable price files will be available soon.
The Feb. 11, 2009 issue of the National Association of Postal Supervisors (NAPS) Legislative/Regulatory Update has been posted on this site.
FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., has announced the inauguration of the company’s second Mexico-based domestic express service hub, located in San Luis Potosí, for FedEx Express Nacional shipments.
February 11, 2009
Fast Company asks: "All the news that's fit to Kindle? Silicon Alley Insider's Nicholas Carlson has done some inspired mathematical guesswork and come to the conclusion that The New York Times could save itself by ditching paper altogether. Giving every subscriber a free Kindle e-reader, and then delivering the newspaper electronically, would be cheaper by 50% in fact."
The New York Times has reported that "Plastic Logic, maker of an electronic book reader, plans to announce partnership deals on Monday that it says will bring a number of major publications to its planned device. Plastic Logic said it had struck deals with The Financial Times, the British business newspaper, and with LibreDigital, a content aggregator that offers electronic versions of The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post and other publications on the Internet. In addition, Plastic Logic said it would announce a “direct relationship” with USA Today. Plastic Logic also has content relationships with Ingram Digital and Zinio, distributors of periodicals from such publishers as Hearst, IDG, Hachette Filipacchi, Playboy Enterprises and Ziff Davis."
The Indian Press Information Bureau has reported that "the Union Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia said that the Government is planning to launch a new Rural Postal Life Insurance Scheme soon to give protection to the rural people for any eventuality."
Media Daily News has reported that "Citing the sharp economic downturn, Hachette Filipacchi is withdrawing from the Magazine Publishers of America, one of the main industry trade organizations alongside the American Society of Magazine Editors. When membership dues are considered too onerous, it's an added blow to a battered industry."
From Today's Federal Register:
|Rules of Practice of the Postal Service Board of Contract Appeals,|
|6844–6852 [E9–2843]||[TEXT] [PDF]|
TeleText has reported that "MPs are to debate the future of the Royal Mail amid growing controversy over the Government's plans to sell off part of the postal group. About 100 Labour MPs have criticised a decision announced by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson to sell a stake in the company to a private firm. The Communication Workers Union has warned the move is "straining" its relationship with the Labour Party."
Die Welt has reported that "Cybercom signed a framework agreement with Posten, the Swedish postal service, to deliver IT consultancy services. The agreement is valid for 2009 and 2010."
According to the Sauk Valley Newspapers, "Allowing today's Postal Service the flexibility it seeks will give it a better chance to weather hard times."
Xinhua has reported that "The Chinese mainland and Taiwan will start two-way postal remittance services for the first time in 60 years."
CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:
European Court of Justice has ruled that subsidies granted to La Poste
in Belgium were unlawful.
Royal Mail has yet again ended up in the firing line of critics as the British post tries to straddle the gap between job cuts as cost saving measures on the one side and invoices for designer furniture at the new company headquarters on the other.
Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso is facing harsh criticism after speaking on the subject of postal reform.
During Q3 of the 2008/2009 financial year SingPost showed only uncustomary low growth rates.
Marketing firms and big customers rejoice after the US post has now given the go-ahead to double stamping on reusable envelopes.
Both Latvia’s transport minister Ainars Slesers and Ivars Krauklis, chairman of Latvijas pasts are convinced that the post is headed for a bright future.
TNT Post is taking over the Getronics Document Service from Dutch operator KPN. The service division deals mainly with the printing and processing of salary statements and annual accounts for big organisations and is due to become part of TNT Post’s subsidiary Cendris.
One of Brazil’s leading express companies Rapidão Cometa achieved high two-digit growth rates in 2008.
In the wake of growing numbers of retail insolvencies, the British express industry is feeling the recession across the board.
The main operators in the Bulgarian CEP market, i.e. DHL, TNT and UPS, are obviously feeling the first repercussions of the worldwide recession.
Express-1 Expedited Solutions has reinforced its position in the US Midwest by means of an acquisition. The takeover of First Class Expediting Services was announced last month.
An amendment to the Postal Act proposed by opposition party Slovak Democratic Christian Union (SDKU) has been turned down by parliament.
DHL Express Deutschland, the domestic service of DHL in Germany, is implementing its first fully automatic sorting facility at its new Raunheim centre near Frankfurt.
In a campaign launched on 7 February, Spain’s post Correos offers eBay customers a 30% discount on all express consignments ordered through and handled by the auction website.
Portugal’s post CTT Correios is testing its new product "Go and Back" in the Azores. The pilot project involves picking up consignments at the same time as delivering others. Correios CEO Estanislau Costa said the project could be extended to the whole country if the test outcome was positive.
Boris Mayer has been appointed head of the new business division "B2C Parcel Europe", which is currently under development at Deutsche Post.
Marius Vatavu has been appointed new general director of the Romanian post. With a degree in philosophy and economics, Mr Vatavu was last professor at the Stefan cel Mare University in Suceava.
The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)
Dead Tree Edition has reported that "Some publishers will see their postal costs rise significantly in May, while others may actually get a decrease. Perhaps the biggest winners will be relatively heavy publications with reasonable sortation (mostly carrier-route and 5-digit bundles) and dropshipped pallets. I see some situations where publications weighing one pound per copy will pay less postage. By contrast, an equally efficient lightweight publication (averaging 0.2 pounds per copy) would see postage costs rise more than 6%. Likely to suffer even higher increases than that are titles with relatively poor sortation, extensive use of sacks, and little dropshipping."
According to The Mirror, "Sulking Royal Mail bosses have scrapped rescue talks with union leaders - blaming stories in the Daily Mirror. They were due to meet the Communication Workers Union today to thrash out proposals for modernisation."
As Multichannel Merchant has noted, "It seems that the U.S. Postal Service is trying to give catalogers a break. The USPS announced Feb. 10 that price increases for Standard Mail Flats—the category affecting most catalogers—would stay below the Consumer Price Index (CPI)."
According to Hellmail, "The UK moved far too quickly on liberalisation, based mostly on misplaced optimism and concentrated all its efforts on accusing Royal Mail of being bloated and inefficient."
The Federal Times has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is taking drastic steps to close a multibillion-dollar budget deficit, but experts and postal officials say even those actions might not keep the Postal Service solvent through what could be a long recession. 'These are the most challenging financial times for us in over 60 years,” said Alan Kessler, chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors. “Our efforts [in cost reduction] just will not provide the relief necessary to keep the Postal Service solvent.'"
American Postal Workers Union (APWU) President William Burrus has "decried Postal Service plans to address its financial crisis in a letter to the Postmaster General on Feb. 9. “It is extremely disappointing that not a single step is aimed at reducing the loss of revenue from ‘worksharing’ discounts or from subcontracting,” he wrote, referring to a list of steps the USPS outlined in a Feb. 4 edition of News Link Extra [PDF]. The postal news bulletin reported that the USPS ended its first quarter with a net loss of $384 million and a 5.2-billion-piece mail-volume decline compared to the same period last year. “Considering the severity of the current crisis,” the union president wrote [PDF], “I fail to understand USPS strategy, which continues to subsidize private mail ‘pre-sorters,’ transportation providers, drop-shippers and others.” Burrus said he is particularly disturbed by USPS plans to consolidate “excess” capacity in its mail processing and transportation networks while postal policy encourages the growth of private entities that perform these duties."
WKTV has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is about to conduct an area mail processing study because of the economic downturn. The Postal Service is calling it one of the most difficult challenges in its history. In fact, there is talk of consolidating some operations of the processing and distribution facilities in Utica and Binghamton with the Syracuse area."
February 10, 2009
The latest issue of the
PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:
NEW POSTAL PRICES!!
Need to know how the rates are likely to affect you? Check out PostCom's quick postal price change charts. Check also the Postal Service's filing with the Postal Regulatory Commission.
Hey! You've not been getting the weekly PostCom Bulletin--the best postal newsletter anywhere...bar none? Send us by email your name, company, company title, postal and email address. Get a chance to see what you've been missing.
The PostCom Bulletin is distributed via NetGram
The latest issue of the
PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:
NEW POSTAL PRICES!!
Annual Pricing Review
Results in 2¢ Increase in First-Class Mail Stamp .
of the U.S. Postal Service have approved new prices for mailing
services, including a 2-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail
stamp to 44 cents. Prices for mailing services are reviewed annually and
adjusted each May. The new prices will go into effect Monday, May 11.
continue to mail letters at today’s prices by purchasing the Forever
Stamp before May 11. Forever Stamps were developed to help consumers
ease the transition during price changes. Forever Stamps do not have a
denomination and will be honored whenever they are used with no need for
additional postage for a one-ounce letter mailing. On May 11 the price
of the Forever Stamp will be 44 cents.
The new prices are available at
operational costs make the price adjustments necessary; the increase
tracks the 2008 rate of inflation. “The Postal Service is not immune to
rising costs which are affecting homes and businesses across America
today,” said Postmaster General John Potter. “Even with the increases,
the Postal Service continues to offer some of the lowest postage prices
in the world.”
average household, the First-Class Mail stamp price change will
represent an additional $3 over the course of the year. When compared to
annual increases in other household expenses, such as groceries,
healthcare and utilities, the Postal Service continues to be an
economical choice for shipping and mailing during tough economic times.
For First-Class Mail, there will be no changes in the current additional
ounce price, which remains at 17 cents.
“Whether you’re a consumer or run a business, the Postal Service continues to offer a good deal during a time when we’re all looking for ways to save,” said Stephen M. Kearney, senior vice president for customer relations. “Our range of shipping and mailing options and low prices make the Postal Service the smart and easy choice.”
New postal prices!! You can get 'em here if the USPS is swamped.
New postal pricing information:
The Louisville Business Journal has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. has teamed with the U.S. Postal Service for a five-month pilot program that aims to make returning packages a bit easier."
Online Media Daily has reported that "Text-messaging provider 4INFO is opening up its ad-serving technology to mobile operators and publishers to monetize their content with SMS text ads. By tapping into 4INFO's AdHaven server, users gain access to services including campaign management, ad sales and operations, and billing along with ad-serving."
As the Wall Street Journal has noted, "Even amid the global economic slowdown, one Indian industry continues to boom: selling cellphones to the rural poor. Cellphone companies are signing millions of new subscribers a month, making India the fastest growing mobile-phone market in the world. There is no sign of a slowdown yet. The demand for cellphones is coming mainly from rural consumers, who typically earn less than $1,000 a year."
According to TSAR, "The elimination of the Slovak Post Office's monopoly in the field of hybrid post services was the main goal of an amendment to the Postal Services Act proposed by opposition SDKU-DS MP Ivan Stefanec that was rejected at its first reading in Parliament on Tuesday. Stefanec says that his objective was to return free choice to clients and to re-establish competition. "The currently valid law is only causing damage. People deserve well-functioning services in the postal sphere and not the strengthening of the state's monopoly"."
B2B has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service's attempts to stay financially viable in the face of dramatically declining mail volume and revenue have magazine publishers and direct marketers worried about their own future. Of particular concern was last month's request by Postmaster General John Potter that Congress allow the USPS to cut mail service from six days a week, if necessary, to five to reduce costs. “We're opposed to any cutback in delivery days, but if it's implemented because the Postal Service has no other options, they should seek and consider the views of their customers before deciding which day is most appropriate to cut,” said David Straus, Washington, D.C.-based counsel for American Business Media, an association of business publishers. Observers also urge a stronger partnership between the USPS and businesses. David Sable, vice chairman-COO of Wunderman, urged long-term contracts based on volume and frequency. He also said mailers should make greater use of automation that packages mass mailings in sequence of mail delivery, which saves both the USPS and the mailer money. “I'm passionate about this,” Sable said. “I think the Postal Service needs to be supported—and pushed and argued with as well—but supported."
Air Cargo World has reported that "FedEx Express began operations at its Asia Pacific hub at the Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, China on Feb. 6. This hub is now the company's largest outside of the United States."
Reuters has reported that "FedEx Freight, a unit of FedEx Corp, has said it will cut about 900 jobs at 130 facilities, citing unprecedented economic conditions and aggressive pricing by carriers."
Media Daily News has reported that "As consumers tightened their belts, magazines were one of the little luxuries they dispensed with in the second half of 2008, according to the latest report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which says overall newsstand sales fell 11% compared to the second half of 2007."
The Financial Times has reported that "Lord Mandelson came under pressure from Labour backbenchers on Monday to reconsider his plans to part-privatise the Royal Mail. More than 100 Labour MPs have signed a motion opposing the policy which – they believe – flies in the face of assurances given last year by the government. Two junior aides have, meanwhile, quit their jobs in protest at more than a quarter of the Royal Mail being sold to a foreign rival."
UzReport has noted that "Uzbekistan Pochtasi, national post operator of Uzbekistan, opened electronic money transfer exchanged with the Russian Federation on 1 February 2009. The exchange is carried out through International Financial System of Universal Postal Union. Money transfer from Russia will be carried out much faster, in average in two days. The exchange became possible thanks to agreement between Pochta Rossii (Russia Post) and Uzbekistan Pochtasi from 13 August 2008. Now, citizens of Uzbekistan can send or receive money in national currency. The maximum sum of transfer set at 90,000 Russian rubles or about 3.5 million soums."
As The Street has noted, "UPS says it has taken the prized L.L. Bean account from FedEx. Bean spokeswoman Carolyn Beem said 'The decision to shift was based partially on price and partially on UPS' efforts in "customizing their product to meet our needs'"
National Association of Letter Carriers President William Young told his members that "our hard work throughout 2008 to influence the results of the Postal Regulatory Commission’s study of the cost and value of “Universal Service” really paid off. The PRC study rejected any major changes to the postal monopoly and the definition of universal service, and it endorsed the continuation of six-day delivery and exclusive access for the U.S. Postal Service to Americans’ mail boxes. Our immediate task is to stabilize Postal Service finances by rallying support for H.R. 22, a bill to reduce the onerous cost of prefunding retiree health benefits. But we must also be prepared to resist state Do Not Mail registries and calls in Washington for the elimination of Saturday delivery— ideas that have gained significant support, according to opinion polls included in the PRC’s universal service report. Both ideas would destroy tens of thousands of jobs and both must be resisted with all our resources."
The Dead Tree Edition has noted that "the U.S. Postal Service is expanding its Flats Sequencing System and testing some tweaks, but it is also taking another look at a competing strategy – sorting letter and flat mail together."
WMC-TV has warned: "It looks like an authentic parcel delivery notice. It even says, "A PARCEL HAS BEEN RESERVED IN YOUR NAME." U.S. Postal Inspector Katrina Chalmers says your name is mud if you answer it. "This is just another one of the tools that the culprits are using to try and get the consumer's money," Chalmers says."
According to the Coeur d'Alene Press, "A local postal carrier who saved a woman's life on his route last month lost his job at the Coeur d'Alene Post Office last week, due to a driving accident that occurred the same day as his heroic feat. Isaac, a temporary employee for the post office for the past three years, got the bad news Thursday. Although neither he nor post office officials were permitted to disclose the details of the situation, his father, David, said Isaac lost his contract because of an incident when his delivery truck skidded on an icy road and knocked into a mailbox. The mailbox was undamaged, but the run-in shattered a window on the truck."
The Other Russia has reported that "Local journalists in several Russian regions have taken to the streets to protest what they call the arbitrariness of local authorities in the case of one regional newspaper. As the Kasparov.ru online newspaper writes, the reporters want to support the Tambovsky Meridian, a paper in the Tambov oblast some 300 miles (480 km) south of Moscow. In early January, the paper ran an article questioning a bill that would raise pensions for the Tambov oblast administration and regional Duma. Shortly thereafter, the Russian postal service refused to deliver and sell the paper. Pochta Rossii, the federal postal service, holds a local monopoly on delivering newspaper subscriptions, and many residents rely on it to deliver the news."
WTKR has noted that "Federal employees charged millions of dollars for Internet dating, tailor-made suits, lingerie, lavish dinners and other questionable expenses to their government credit cards over a 15-month period, congressional auditors say. A report by the Government Accountability Office, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, examined spending controls across the federal government following reports of credit-card abuse at departments. Among the expenditures cited in the report: U.S. Postal Service workers separately billed more than $14,000 to government credit cards for Internet dating services and a dinner at a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Orlando, Fla., for 81 people at a cost of $160 each for steaks and crab. The dinner bill also included more than 200 appetizers and more than $3,000 worth of wine and brand-name liquor such as Courvoisier, Belvedere and Johnny Walker Gold. In the Internet dating case, a postmaster charged $1,100 over 15 months for two online services, including the Ashley Madison Agency. The expenses went unnoticed for more than a year even though he was under internal investigation for viewing pornography on a government computer. The postmaster was eventually told to repay the Internet charges but faced no disciplinary action."
The Herald has reported that "The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe is inviting operators to apply for upgrading of licences to offer new services."
According to DM News, "The call for Congress to help the US Postal Service address its ballooning deficit by allowing it to pay its share of retiree health benefits out of the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund instead of its own pocket is growing."
Easy Bourse has reported that "Postal operator Deutsche Post has won its bid to overturn European Union approval for a state subsidy granted to the Belgian Post Office, which was given without seeking the views of competitors." See also Reuters and the Financial Times.
Trade Arabia has reported that "Emirates Post Holding Group has registered a 30 per cent increase in net profit for the year 2008 which rose to over Dh247 million mainly due to growth driven by ongoing strategic restructuring." See also AMEInfo.
In a New York Times op-ed piece, Postal Regulatory Commissioner Ruth Goldway wrote: "President Obama’s energy plan calls for putting one million electric plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2015. This ambitious goal could be accomplished more quickly if we invested in converting the largest civilian fleet in the United States — the 219,000 vehicles owned by the United States Postal Service — to electricity. The Postal Service has already made its own efforts to reduce consumption — by providing fully recyclable packaging, investing in paperless data tracking and initiating a “mail back” program to recycle small electronics. It would like to do more, but with declining mail volume and revenue, it cannot go green on its own. So why not spread the stimulus to every community in the country by investing in the Postal Service? With part of the alternative energy stimulus, neighborhood post offices could become local green hubs, thousands of electric-powered delivery trucks could take to the road, and we could all share, in a tangible way, in the president’s energy plan."
According to the Los Angeles Times, "The U.S. Postal Service is seeking congressional help with its multibillion-dollar losses. Businesses have cut down on mail, and the weight of the service's billions in retiree healthcare obligations is crushing the budget. Aside from the very real need for the service to renegotiate its retiree health benefits, the idea of five-day-a-week delivery makes sense. Most mail could wait the extra day, and for the little that can't, there's an excess of other options -- faxing and overnight delivery services. If the price of stamps rose dramatically, people would have that much more reason to abandon traditional mail."
VentureBeat has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is about to get some competition in the digital world. Zumbox is launching the public beta test today for its all-digital alternative to the paper postal service. Wait a minute, you’re thinking. Isn’t that email? Nope. Westlake Village, Calif.-based Zumbox lets you send or receive scanned, physical representations of letters, bills or other things you might normally send via paper mail. You can log into your mailbox at the Zumbox site and then receive digital delivery of your mail. And you don’t have to put a stamp on anything. For now, it’s free for everyone except advertisers and marketers, who can pay for premium service. Consumers can now view online the mail they wish to receive and the service allows them to access it from anywhere at anytime via the Internet. Glen Ward, president, said that Zumbox can deliver mail instantly seven days a week." See also the Wall Street Journal.
TechFlash has reported that "An Internet startup called Zumbox is rolling out a service today that promises to transform the way people send and receive postal mail online. Sound familiar? Earth Class Mail also is trying to reinvent postal mail. But Earth Class Mail Chief Executive Ron Wiener dismisses any similarities between the two, calling Zumbox a "joke" and predicting that it will be out of business in six months. "It is basically an online advertising scheme billing itself as a green alternative to the postal service," said Wiener. Zumbox president Glen Ward -- the former president of Virgin Entertainment Group North America -- said Wiener is ill informed."
The Financial Times has reported that "FedEx this week faces the return of a bill that could escalate a lobbying war with organised labour and rival United Parcel Service. US congressmen plan to reintroduce legislation this week that would authorise funding for the country’s aviation regulator, containing a provision that targets only one company, FedEx, and its ability to keep more of its express delivery employees from organising. If the bill succeeds, the provision would strip the company’s express delivery division of its rights to bargain under the Railway Labor Act, meaning the company could no longer block FedEx Express workers from organising at a local level."
San Jose Business Journal has reported that "Earth
Class Mail is looking to sell its massive mail sorting facility in
Beaverton Ore. as well as its retail operations in Seattle, San
Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, Seattle-based Web site TechFlash
reported Monday. Earth Class Mail is also disbanding its enterprise
sales push as the venture-backed Seattle startup focuses all of its
efforts on building the technologies to power national post office
systems. As part of the new direction, the company has shed workers in
some areas while adding positions in engineering and other groups. Chief
Executive Ron Wiener said the staff levels have stayed fairly constant
at 115 employees in recent months, though that number is likely to drop
to about 45 workers after the retail and mail processing facilities are
divested. He expects those to be sold by the end of the year. Earth
Class Mail is transitioning to a “pure IP company.”
Air Cargo World has reported that "A collapse in trans-Pacific trade pushed cargo traffic for U.S. airlines down 17 percent in December, leading American carriers with their worst year for freight since 2001."
The latest postal blog has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s Internet site “Pushing the Envelope.” The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place. To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/. The following new topic was just posted: Returning Purchases through the Postal Service. Merchandise Return Service and Parcel Return Service allow merchants to pay the shipping charges for their customers’ returns. You can read an OIG staffer’s personal experience with this service. Feel free to comment on the service or her experience and vote on “How important is it to you that an online vendor provides free shipping for returns?” You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at: www.uspsoig.gov. If you have additional questions, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2322.
February 9, 2009
Press Release: "UPS has been selected as the primary package delivery carrier for L.L.Bean, the 97-year-old outdoor apparel and equipment company."
Direct magazine has reported that "DMA’s Greco Supports Six-Day Delivery."
The Mansfield News Journal has told its readers that "Local postal workers are again raising the alarm about possible changes in mail handling that could affect jobs and service in the area served by the Mansfield Post Office. If enacted, the first-class mail move would result in lost or transferred jobs and possible delays in first-class mail being sent and delivered here. If most first-class mail originating here goes to Akron for sorting and canceling, the speed of mail back to Mansfield all winter long will be dictated by what's coming off the lake. The delivery standard from Akron to Mansfield is two days in fair weather. Enough said."
According to Trading Markets, "The JAPAN POST HOLDINGS CO.'s efforts to shed its unprofitable operations are back to square one, now that a deal to sell 70 leisure facilities to ORIX CORP. is likely to be scrapped. Japan Post President Yoshifumi Nishikawa indicated to a lower house budget committee that the Orix deal is all but kaput."
The Mirror has reported that "Royal Mail chiefs are splashing out almost £1million on furniture for their new HQ - as 16,000 postal workers face the axe." See also The Telegraph.
According to the Financial Mail, "The Government cannot save post offices, as it has already forced so many of them out of business. You can't rip the heart out of all these communities and then turn round and say you are going to fix them. 'The post office network has already been undermined, with profitable branches forced to close. Talk about a people's bank is an insult."
The Appleton Post Crescent has said: "OK, maybe it's not just solicitations from nonprofit agencies and credit card companies that fill your mailbox. Occasionally, you might find a letter from someone who still knows how to put pen to paper. Perhaps you get some magazines. And you might get a couple of bills, if you're not yet hooked into an online payment system. But do we really need to get these items six days a week? Probably not — and continuing the six-day delivery service put the U.S. Postal Service $2.8 billion in the red last year. That's only expected to increase."
Media Daily News has reported that "When double-digit drops are the norm, you know there's a problem. The magazine and newspaper industries were already suffering in 2006-2007, and the first three quarters of 2008 were not particularly pretty. But for print publishers, the fourth quarter might as well have been the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse."
"One of UNI Post & Logistics Netherlands affiliates, FNV Bondgenoten, have produced a study on the wages and conditions for postal workers working in the new postal companies offering alternative mail service to the traditional postal company, TPG Post. The study details how the companies have found legal loopholes to undermine the socially accepted collective contracts in the Netherlands and to compete unfairly with postal operators who respect workers rights and decent social standards."
According to Advertising Age, "No one knows what day the Postal Service will drop if it goes to a five-day week, but this much is certain: Someone is going to get hurt. Whether that someone is magazine companies, direct marketers or coupon mailers will depend on the day. Mr. Potter in testimony to a House Committee stressed that the Postal Service would prefer Congress give it flexibility on some of the other mandates it imposes on it -- including fully funding retirement health care for employees years in advance. In other words, the dropped day may be little more than a dramatic ploy to make a point. "The Postal Service has no present inclination to do it, and Congress has no present inclination to allow them to do it," said Mr. Strauss. He suggested the request was instead a "blatant and undisguised plea" for Congress to give it more flexibility."
February 8, 2009
According to the Federal Times: "Nearly three-quarters of respondents to an online poll say they think the U.S. Postal Service's proposal to drop six-day mail delivery is a good idea."
The Herald has reported that "Royal Mail has sought to play down the prospect of heavy job losses after a leak revealed it was planning to cut budgets by 10%, invoking a furious reaction by unions. The group, which recently reported record profits of £255m in the nine months to December 2008, has set a 10% "cash reduction target" which would involve "fewer roles" in the company, a leaked document published yesterday revealed. The Communication Workers Union condemned the target as "arbitrary" yesterday, saying it would impact on Royal Mail's quality of service delivery."
The Mirror has told its readers that "The Mirror can today expose the Royal Mail's lies over its plans to axe 16,000 jobs. When we confronted chief executive Adam Crozier on his way to work yesterday morning, he claimed he knew nothing of the cost-cutting proposals. The £3million-a-year Fat Cat shrugged off our exclusive story and said: "I don't know what you're talking about." But a leaked Royal Mail dossier - titled Project Tiger - reveals it has "a requirement to cut 10% from our cost base, including people costs". The secret proposal is part of a bid to reduce the wage bill by £470million - and just a fraction of company's larger plan. The document is marked In Strictest Confidence and headed The Journey To Get Us There."
According to The Messenger, "Enterprises that ignore the wishes of customers tend to fare poorly in a marketplace where there are a myriad of providers for most services and products. Perhaps being deaf to the wishes of the communities it allegedly serves is one of the reasons the U.S. Postal Service seems to be in a constant downward spiral. It's time for senior Postal Service officials to start listening to the people of Fort Dodge."
The Daily Courier has reported that "The idea that the U.S. Postal Service might cut back on its delivery service is one that Jamie Triggs wants to return to the sender. After cashing a money order at the town's post office on Highway 69 Thursday afternoon, Triggs said she doesn't like the idea because it might take longer for her son, who lives in Hawaii, to get a birthday card or money he might need. "They just need to leave things alone and just bear with it. We all have to," she said."
The Times-West Virginian has asked: "So what would be the harm in cutting back home delivery one day a week? No one said that the Post Office would be closed — you could still go get a book of stamps or mail your niece’s birthday present on the day mail delivery is suspended. But you’d probably have to account for one extra day to make sure her package got there in time for the party."
The Lansing State Journal is of the opinion that "Reality is casting a long shadow over the fantasy world Congress tried to create with the U.S. Postal Service. Congress has dictated that the postal service be self-sufficient, while at the same time barring it from making obvious business decisions to keep the books in order. Now, the postmaster general is seeking Capitol Hill approval for cutting a delivery day. It's an obvious fix to an obvious problem that Congress helped create. Mid-Michigan's Reps. Mike Rogers and Mark Schauer and Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin should vote the Postal Service the freedom it needs to survive."
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune has reported that "Postal workers kicked off a campaign Saturday to prevent the US Postal Service from taking steps they fear will lead to the closure of the Industry Processing and Distribution Center on Gale Avenue. Dozens of workers and American Postal Workers Union leaders gathered at the Ontario Senior Center Saturday to begin organizing in response to an "Area Mail Processing" study by the Postal Service at the Industry facility that could result in consolidation of services performed at the site."
According to the Galesburg Register-Mail, "Magazine publishers, newspapers, mail-order businesses that rely on old-fashioned snail mail are in a dither over the proposal to drop a delivery day. But what is the alternative? Well, the only way to regain revenue lost due to increasing operational costs combined with lower volume would be to raise postal rates."
February 7, 2009
The Financial Times has reported that "Thousands of jobs could be lost at Royal Mail if the state-owned postal operator seeks to cut costs by 10 per cent, union officials have warned. An internal company document, leaked yesterday, proposes savings across the business and highlights the need to restructure at a time of falling mail volumes and revenues. It suggests bringing greater automation to Royal Mail operations and creating clearer lines of accountability and responsibility for employees. The document points to gaps in cost and efficiency between Royal Mail and its closest competitors, at a time when regulators are clamping down on costs. Royal Mail employs 160,000 people and warned last month that it would suffer a 7 per cent decline in mail volumes this year. The document does not set out plans to shed postal workers so the implication for overall staff numbers, and any job losses, is unclear. Royal Mail dismissed media reports that as many as 16,000 workers would lose their jobs."
The Alaska Journal of Commerce has reported that "Postal officials, concerned about the high costs of providing bypass mail service to rural Alaska, have announced plans to go ahead with a measure to create hubs at remote locations. Bypass mail is shipped directly from urban merchants to rural customers via air carriers, bypassing the post office. The program dates back to 1985, designed to reduce the cost of living in rural Alaska. Bypass mail can make up as much as 60 percent of some carriers' annual revenue. Major carriers Alaska Airlines, Northern Air Cargo and Lynden take mail, food items and other cargo to the hub areas, such as Bethel, Kotzebue or Nome. From there, smaller airline companies take packages to more remote communities."
Multichannel Merchant has reported that "While many consumers and businesses were outraged at Postmaster General John E. Potter’s Jan. 28 appeal to Congress to let him reduce postal delivery, a few catalog industry watchers are supporting Potter....The Postal Service took $2 billion in cost out last year, Davison says, and it plans to double this amount in fiscal 2009. “While ACMA applauds aggressive cost side management in the face of sharply declining volumes, it is not enough,” he notes. “Attention must be given to the revenue side of the equation too."
Postmaster General Jack Potter on NPR's Talk of the Nation regarding the possibility of cutting a day of mail delivery.
February 6, 2009
The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:
Here's another goodie...but not one that's for free. Handbook Of Worldwide Postal Reform. Edited by Michael A. Crew, CRRI Professor of Regulatory Economics and Director, Center for Research in Regulated Industries (CRRI), Rutgers Business School, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark, US, Paul R. Kleindorfer, Anheuser-Busch Professor Emeritus of Management Science, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, US and Distinguished Research Professor, INSEAD, France and James I. Campbell, Jr, Attorney, Washington, DC and Adjunct Professor, School of Public Policy, George Mason University, US
For those who are postal history buffs, check out the Google book on The Story of the Pony Express. It's free.
The Telegraph has reported that "Postal unions are threatening a summer of industrial action to fight plans by Royal Mail to cut thousands of jobs as the recession deepens."
|Postal Regulatory Commission|
|New Domestic Mail Product ,|
|6230–6233 [E9–2487]||[TEXT] [PDF]|
|New Standards for Domestic Mailing Services, Revised Proposal ,|
|6250–6257 [E9–2515]||[TEXT] [PDF]|
USPS News Link has reported that "Speaking yesterday to the Board of Governors, PMG Jack Potter re-emphasized the fact USPS faces extraordinary financial challenges in the months ahead, and that there is no indication the faltering economy or continuing decline in mail volume will stabilize in the near future. To meet the challenge of declining revenues, USPS is taking major steps to cut costs immediately."
Trading Markets has noted that "The Western Union Company and India Post, have announced the renewal of their multi-year agreement to extend availability of the Western Union Money Transfer service throughout the country."
As the Standard Speaker put it, "There’s always a day when the mailbox isn’t too full. One more day a week that it’s empty won’t be too difficult to deal with." According to the Sun-Sentinel, "any cut back in mail delivery — particularly when you are talking about billions of dollars — is long overdue."
The Independent has reported that "The Royal Mail is to hold a two-day summit with union leaders next month to discuss modernising the business in a move expected to lead
to job cuts, it was revealed today. The postal group is aiming to cut costs as well as pressing ahead with a huge modernisation programme in the face of increased competition. The group has written to workers in some of its divisions setting out options including offers of voluntary redundancy or part-time work."
"Thousands of jobs could be lost at Royal Mail as Britain’s state-owned postal operator prepares to cut costs by 10 per cent, union officials have warned. An internal company document, seen by the Financial Times, proposes savings across parts of the business. An official at the Communication Workers Union said the document did not set out plans to axe postal workers, but said its officials had been told that the company was seeking to make 10 per cent savings across Royal Mail as a whole." See also ThisIsLondon, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, and First Post.
The Times Leader has reported that "City council unanimously approved a resolution Thursday that strongly opposes “any and all efforts” to close the Wilkes-Barre Post Office now or in the future. John Kishel, president of the American Postal Workers Union Local 175, asked council for its support and said closing the facility – all or part of it – would have a detrimental effect on the city and local residents."
The Long Beach Press-Telegram has reported that "Concerns about the possible closure of the U.S. Postal Service facility on Redondo Avenue are a bit premature, officials said Thursday. The Postal Service recently announced that it would be conducting an Area Mail Processing study to assess volume, transportation, and to look into possibly consolidating some of the operations of the facility at 2300 Redondo Ave. with locations in Santa Ana and Los Angeles."
Forbes has reported that "Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, his support sinking ahead of an election, faced fresh fire on Friday after saying he favoured a rethink of the breakup of Japan's postal service, a pillar of earlier reforms."
Hellmail has reported that "Marius Vatavu has become the new Director General of the Board of Directors at Romanian Post. Marius has a degree in economic sciences (specialty accounting) and philosophy and pursued a master's in public administration."
According to postal historian Richard John writing in The Nation, "Like so many institutions, public and private, the United States Postal Service is facing a financial crisis of monumental proportions. No republic can hope to endure without civic engagement informed by the political journalism of publications. George Washington and James Madison had much to quarrel about in the 1790s. Yet they agreed that the low-cost circulation of periodicals in the mail promoted civic engagement in public affairs. All this changed in 1970, when Congress established the Postal Service. Why have we strayed so far from the intentions of the founders? [He maintains that it's due to] the radical experiment in social engineering that has been recently undertaken by postal executives with the connivance of the PRC."
Bloomberg has reported that "Royal Mail Group Plc, Britain’s public postal service, plans to cut jobs as part of a restructuring program to address increased competition and declining mail volumes. The company is taking account of the “preferences” of its employees as it modernizes itself and does not have a schedule for the job reductions, London-based Royal Mail said in an e- mailed statement today."
Online Media Daily has reported that "The pullback of ad spending and mobile phones becoming personal computers are the most "disruptive" force in media today, according to a new survey of media and advertising professionals by consulting giant KPMG."
WWSB has reported that "Dozens of postal workers put up with the cold Thursday to picket in front of the main Post Office in downtown Sarasota. They're worried about a proposal to move part of a processing facility that serves the Suncoast to Tampa."
From Mail Moves America : "A Do Not Mail bill has been prefiled in Florida by Sen. Dave Aronberg (D-Palm Beach). A link to the bill SB1324 is below. The legislature does not convene until March 3. The bill requires a $10 initial listing payment from consumers and then a $5 renewal fee (it is unclear how long the initial term is), limiting the 501(c)3 exemption to only callers who are “bona fide members” of the organization, and exempting newspaper publishers and their agents or employees."
Docket No. MC2009-14; Docket No. CP2009-20: The Postal Service sought to add a new product identified as International Business Reply Service Contract 1 to the Competitive Product List. The Postal Regulatory Commission has approved the Request.
February 5, 2009
The Daily Mail has reported that "Pakistan Postal Services has bounced back with offering modern facilities to customers who otherwise had lost hope for the country's once popular service. As part of these facilities, sources said motorized service had been introduced of ordinary mail in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Abbottabad, Gujranwala, Jhelum, Multan, Sukkur, Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Kohat and Sukkur. For this purpose, the sources added 1,032 motorbikes had been provided to the delivery staff at these stations. They said that counter automation system had been put in place which provided state-of-the-art point of sale terminals equipped with computers, electronic weighing scales, barcode scanners and printers."
The New York Times has reported that "Anxious over the ballooning size of the proposed economic stimulus package, now at more than $900 billion, lawmakers in both parties are working on a last-minute plan to strip tens of billions of dollars from the bill. The effort is being led by two centrist senators, Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, and Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, who say they would like to pare from $50 billion to $200 billion from the package. The final Senate vote on the stimulus package is expected late on Thursday." [EdNote: Something to watch now that Sen. Carper's placed his PAEA payments rescheduling proposal within H.R. 1.]
According to Techdirt, "There have been a whole series of stories lately, often from newspaper industry insiders, bemoaning the sorry state of their industry. Obviously, we've been seeing (and pointing to) similar stories for a few years now, but their pace has accelerated in the last few months -- with a pretty clear trend: blame others for the newspaper industry ills (the internet! Google! Craiglist! those darn kids! etc.), and then work out some totally hypothetical model that will somehow force someone else to pay, rather than give people a reason to buy. This distinction is pretty important. It's time for newspapers to start looking at ways they can add value and give someone, whether individuals, sponsors or others, a good reason to give them money. So far they're failing." [EdNote: Hmmm. We talking newspapers or the Postal Service?]
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) has been selected as chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and District of Columbia, replacing Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.). Davis had to give up the chair when he was appointed to the Ways and Means Committee in December. Lynch was president of the Iron Workers Union and worked as a labor and employment attorney before being elected to Congress. He is also a co-founder of the Congressional Labor and Working Families Caucus, which was formed to protect workers' rights.
Press Release: "Five-Time Winner, U.S. Postal Service Again Named ‘Most Trusted’ Consumers Rank USPS at Top of 74 Agencies in Ponemon Institute Survey."
TMCNet has reported that "Prime Minister Taro Aso said Thursday he is willing to review a planned four-way split of Japan's postal services being considered under the postal privatization initiatives launched by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi."
Media Daily News has reported that "The trick in a down economy is to enable your company to not only survive the bad times but position itself to thrive when better times arrive. Instead of hand-wringing and cost-cutting to the bone, savvy marketers and media execs should look for ways to turn the situation around, seeking out opportunities to enhance the way they do business. The best strategy is not to wait out the economic downturn and hope for a return to business as usual. Progressive companies should take this time to evolve their organizations to run more efficiently. They will be optimally positioned for the inevitable economic rebound....Most survival instincts lead us to seek safe harbor and wait for the storm to pass. However, companies that have the will to explore new strategies to achieve their goals should be better-positioned competitively in the long-term. There are actions that marketers, agencies and media can take now to ensure stability and prepare for success in future."
Dow Jones has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) Chief Executive Scott Davis said it has become "very difficult" to reach a deal to fly freight for Deutsche Post AG's DHL unit, citing DHL's scaled back U.S. plans. The potential outsourcing deal, initially announced last May and valued at up to $10 billion over 10 years, had been expected to be finalized by the end of 2008."
In an opinion piece written for Foster's Daily Democrat, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) wrote:
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has traditionally prided itself on the fact that "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night" can keep its carriers from the "swift completion of their appointed rounds." That is why I was astonished to hear that the USPS is considering reducing mail delivery from six days a week to just five.
Postmaster General John Potter recently made this unexpected recommendation during a hearing before a subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, of which I am the ranking member....
The troubled economy has certainly also affected the U.S. Postal Service, which is expected to post billions of dollars in losses in this current fiscal year. Nevertheless, I am extremely disappointed that the Postmaster General would advocate the elimination of the requirement for six-day-a-week delivery as a potential solution to the postal service's budget woes. Such a reduction in service would hurt businesses and families that pay their bills, ship and receive goods, communicate with loved ones, and receive prescription drugs through the mail. And, I would argue, it would worsen the postal service's financial problems by driving away customers....Rather than helping it recover, I believe cutting services could ultimately trigger a death spiral for the U.S. Postal Service.
In addition to considering abandoning six-day mail delivery, the U.S. Postal Service is seeking relief from fully funding its retiree health benefits obligations. Our postal reform law requires the postal service to fund its retiree health care obligations by making annual payments over a ten-year period. Though the USPS agreed that this goal was achievable just two years ago, it now argues that this requirement is unsustainable and is requesting a eight-year hiatus from this obligation. This will only worsen the unfunded liabilities of the USPS and delay the implementation of reforms it should be undertaking. I have joined Senator Carper in supporting a two-year reprieve from the requirement to help the Postal Service weather the current economic crisis, but I think suspending payments for eight years would be a mistake.
The USPS must be more proactive in addressing its long-term fiscal challenges, looking beyond short-term fixes, to address its budget shortfall. It must also provide more detailed financial information regarding the actions it plans to take to stabilize its budget. Eliminating six-day-a-week delivery should not be its first option but rather the last resort.
From today's Federal Register:
|Postal Regulatory Commission|
|Domestic Mail Product ,|
|6117–6120 [E9–2421]||[TEXT] [PDF]|
|International Product Change:|
|International Business Reply Service Contracts ,|
|6182 [E9–2420]||[TEXT] [PDF]|
The Buffalo News has written: "A Postal Service request to lift the requirement that the agency deliver mail six days a week has garnered the headlines, but an even more critical request — and one that would be transparent to consumers — is for the easing of a mandate that it make advance payments into a fund to cover future health benefits for retirees. That seems reasonable. Five-day mail delivery may become necessary, too, but needs careful analysis; making a service less useful is no long-term strategy for survival. But a system of mail delivery only five days of the week, even if it’s only during a low-mail portion of the year, will be a tough sell. Businesses and residential customers can argue reasonably that six-day service is not just a convenience, but a necessity."
The Wilmington News Journal has said: "There is something eerily similar about the current plight of the U.S. Postal Service and the future of the American auto industry. Both are paying now for not adequately preparing for obvious threats from competition. Congress should grant the agency's request to begin a self-imposed bailout by trimming delivery of service by one day to cut costs. And it makes sense to grant a delay in $2 billion in health care payments until after 2016. Without that break, the Postal Service could run out of cash on Sept. 30, when a lump sum $5.4 billion retiree health-fund payment comes due."
Press Release: "National on-time performance scores for the delivery of First-Class Mail reached 96 percent and 93 percent of customers gave the U.S. Postal Service highest satisfaction marks as the Postal Service debuted a new, national standards rating process."
The Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation (IRET) has released a new Postal Service paper today: "An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure: A Cautionary Lesson For The U.S. Postal Service From Great Britain's Royal Mail".
PostCom welcomes its newest member: Carter Control Systems, Inc. 7618 Hayward Road Frederick, MD 21702-3006 represented by Steven M. Luscinski CEO.
A letter has been sent to key members of the Obama Administration by a broad consortium of mail industry companies and associations (including PostCom) regarding congressional proposals to grant the Postal Service some relief from its PAEA postal retiree funding obligations has been posted on this site.
From the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors meeting:
Press Release: "The new 2008-09 Mailing Services Pricing Study offers average and median prices on more than 30 different products and services in the mailing industry, ranging from list setup and de-duping charges to charges for mail matching, machine labeling and ink-jet addressing. Prices are reported for four different quantity breaks – 1-9M, 10-24M, 25-50M and 50M+. The study also includes average and median set-up charges and minimum charges where appropriate."
Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) offered an amendment Feb. 3 to the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1) to a llow the U.S Postal Service to use the Retiree Health Benefit Fund to pay for current retiree health benefit premiums for two years, an aide told BNA.
The U.S. Postal Service has announced that "UPS will begin a pilot program to test Parcel Return Service (PRS), allowing customers to return items — originally shipped by UPS — to participating retailers using the Postal Service for pickup. Consumers will gain the convenience of USPS access points for a return pickup — collection boxes, Post Offices, and Free Package Pickup from home or business addresses. USPS will consolidate the PRS packages at designated postal facilities, where they will be picked up by UPS for the final return leg of the trip back to the retailer."
The following has been sent to all USPS headquarters officers regarding new hires and the hiring freeze:
"We continue to be under a hiring freeze for Headquarters and Headquarters Field Units. The freeze includes position upgrades, additions to complement, laterals, reassignments and requests for new positions. All current requests to announce a position vacancy will be returned to the requesting manager. Any job posting announcement which is contained in the vacancy package with an issue date of February 3 with a closing date of February 18 will be canceled and those employees who have submitted an application will be notified. Bargaining unit position vacancies will be filled in accordance with the applicable agreement. If a formal job offer was extended prior to today. please provide the specific details to Manager. Corporate Personnel Management."
Media Daily News has reported that "Conde Nast has adopted an Internet-based system for processing and delivering advertising designed by Quad/Graphics, according to the latter. Going forward, Quad/Graphics' AdShuttle technology will power an existing online portal called "Conde Nast Transmit," which allows advertisers and ad agencies to submit ads directly to Conde Nast's internal ad management and production systems."
As Techdirt has noted, "It's no secret that the newspaper business has been going through a rocky patch lately, and hasn't done a very good job coping with a changing marketplace. However, it does seem a bit odd to respond to that, not necessarily with new business models, but with an advertising campaign about how great newspapers are. Specifically, they put out an ad this week to claim that more people read newspapers than watched the Superbowl. As Jeff Nolan notes at the link above, that's missing the point. Nobody denies that people read newspapers. The problem is that newspapers haven't been able to figure out how to effectively build a new, sustainable business model around that community."
According to Home Media Magazine, "Netflix has begun shipping DVD rentals from distribution centers on Saturdays in select regions despite warnings from the U.S. Postal Service that it may suspend weekend mail delivery in order to cut costs."
In the opinion of the Baylor University Lariat, "During these hard economic times, it's inevitable that businesses will experience financial difficulties and government agencies like the Postal Service are no exception. The difference is that the Postal Service is performing an important duty that millions of people rely on every day. If this new plan is approved, there will be 52 less days of mail service per year, which doesn't sound like a lot, but time is of the essence when it comes to bills and late fees. By cutting out an entire day of service, this puts more strain on getting things mailed out in a timely fashion. Yes, it is a good lesson in organization and one should be aware of due dates and deadlines, but unless the Postal Service plans on speeding up their delivery process, it's going to be a major inconvenience."
According to DC Velocity, "Estimates vary as to the USPS's share of the U.S. parcel market. During the third quarter of 2008, the USPS controlled 11.7 percent of domestic parcel volumes, according to SJ Consulting, a Pittsburgh-based consultancy. Hempstead Consulting, an Orlando, Fla.-based firm that develops pricing solutions for parcel users, estimates the Postal Service had 21 percent of the parcel market in calendar year 2007. Whatever the case, its portion is dwarfed by rival UPS, whose share of U.S. parcel traffic is estimated to be somewhere between 58 and 65 percent."
The Azerbaijan Business Center has reported that "State-run company Azerpoct (a company of the Ministry of Communications & Information Technologies of Azerbaijan) has announced a tender procedure for construction of postal buildings and their provision with technical equipment."
DM News has reported that "The US Postal Service has approved the first two-way postage indicia for mailers using reusable envelopes. EcoEnvelopes, a designer of reusable envelopes, was authorized by the USPS to make the envelopes, for which mailers using approved reusable envelopes can use one printed indicia - markings showing that postage has been paid - for both outgoing and reply postage on an envelope. EcoEnvelopes worked with the USPS in the testing and approval of this as a method to reduce costs by eliminating the need for a separate reply envelope, which reduces the impact on the environment, said the company. National test mailings were conducted to assure the new indicia did not slow mail processing."
The Louisville Courier-Journal has reported that "UPS gained significant new business at the end of last year from competitor DHL's announced withdrawal from the U.S. domestic shipping market, but that wasn't enough to offset a drop in package volume caused by the sagging economy."
From Business Wire: "R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company has announced that it has enhanced its leading CustomPoint system with a new suite of direct mail capabilities."
Hellmail has reported that "An online petition to PM Gordon Brown has been submitted by John Colbert, CWU Communications & Campaigns Manager. The petition, which calls on the government to reject plans to privatise Royal Mail, follows a growing Labour rebellion, said to be in excess of 100 MPs, some of whom have threatened to resign if forced to vote on the issue in the commons. Royal Mail boss Adam Crozier, who has been warm to the idea of an outside investor for some time, supports plans which could see Dutch postal operator TNT buy a large share of the company. He said a 'strategic partnership' would be good for both Royal Mail and its customers."
GenevaLunch has reported that "The cost of shipping letters, registered letters and packages outside Switzerland will increase by 7% on 1 April 2009, when La Poste restructures its price schedule. The new prices must still be approved by Mr Price, the government’s consumer watchdog."
CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:
2008 was a
very successful financial year for China Post.
The Russian post’s anti-crisis measures - thus labelled by the post itself - have proved to be effective.
According to British press reports, the plans for the privatisation of parts of Royal Mail could turn out to be waste paper with the founding of a "People’s Bank".
In France La Poste appears to have resumed negotiations with the French government concerning the financing of the post’s presence in rural areas.
Yoshifumi Nishikawa, president of Japan Post, last Thursday ordered that the sale of the 72 hotels owned by the post be halted.
The Indian government has retracted its plans for an amendment to the country’s Postal Act.
The Estonian post achieved a turnaround during the financial year 2008.
Postal workers’ unions have requested a review of the European postal market liberalisation concept.
The Brazilian government has issued a decree limiting postal workers’ right to strike.
Nippon Express Co. and Japan Post have announced a further step towards a merger of their respective domestic parcel activities.
France’s GeoPost has finally managed to get a foothold in the Indian CEP market - on certain conditions and after a year-long waiting period.
Austria’s logistics industry is struggling with the economic slump.
The EU Commission’s request that Slovakia reopen its market for so-called hybrid post to competition (CEP News 41/08) has caused loss of sales at the Slovakian post.
Postal services in France will benefit from the government’s 26bn euros investment programme.
Latvijas Pasts is currently looking into the possibility of concluding a franchise agreement with Latvia’s biggest oil company Latvija Statoil. The aim is to be able to offer postal services at Statoil’s 67 petrol stations.
Poczta Polska intends to axe up to 1,000 jobs this year as part of the restructuring programme adopted at the end of last year.
Deutsche Post intends to generate around 20% of its Customer Service Center GmbH turnover from third-party business by 2012.
People in the greater Zurich area are currently testing the "Personal News" service launched by Schweizerische Post.
Last year Posten Norge fulfilled the delivery targets defined in its licence for the first time since 2004. On average, 87.1% of First Class mail was delivered over night in 2008, while the licence stipulation is 85%.
"National Newspaper Association President John W. Stevenson, publisher of the Randolph Leader, Roanoke, AL, said he feared cuts in United States Postal Service budgets might do what rain, snow, sleet and dark of night had not: keep the local newspaper from being delivered. NNA expressed grave concern about a proposal by Postmaster General John E. Potter to lift a federal mandate requiring six-day mail delivery. But NNA supported Potter’s request to change the way retiree health benefits are paid, a move that could trim nearly $2 billion from annual USPS expenses."
The Winchester Star has reported that "Postal officials will decide in the coming months if they will move some operations from the local facility to Northern Virginia."
The Ledger has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is considering a proposal to close a mail processing center in Lakeland and move its operations to Tampa."
The Journal Times has reported that "A decade ago, the public might have met a request like that by throwing an official into a mail sorter. But, with their increasing ambivalence toward “snail mail,” Americans no longer seem to view the Postal Service as untouchable. More than half of those in a USA Today/Gallup poll had no problem with cost-cutting moves like reducing delivery days or closing some post offices. Observers estimate dumping one day of mail service could save $2.5 billion or more, depending on what happens to gas prices. That would go a long way toward evening the ledger for an agency that lost $2.8 billion last year. It certainly beats raising prices."
Online Media Daily has reported that "Online advertising this year will likely be flat or slow to single-digit growth as a result of the ailing economy, according to a panel of Internet ad executives gathered Monday at the OnMedia NYC conference.:
The BBC has reported that "Postal workers in Reading are being kept in the dark about the future of their jobs, a union has said."
February 3, 2009
KRGV has reported that "The postmaster says she has a plan to clear up confusion in La Feria. Since 911 service was established several years ago, most city residents have had two addresses, a mailing address and a physical address. Soon, that will change."
Bloomberg has reported that "United Parcel Service Inc., the world’s largest package-delivery company, said it’s freezing management salaries and suspending retirement contributions after U.S. volume plunged the most in nine years."
The Japan Times has reported that "Orix Corp.'s purchase of 70 Kampo no Yado hotels from Japan Post Holdings Co. for the fire sale price of ¥10.9 billion has been making headlines for the past month and drawing the scorn of internal affairs minister Kunio Hatoyama."
Hellmail has reported that "Postcomm has just published a consultation on Royal Mail's application in October last year, to introduce a Sustainable Mail Retail product. It is understood that the product has been designed to help direct marketing companies better target their mailings and reduce waste."
The Postal Service Board Of Governors will be meeting on Tuesday, February 3, 2009, at 10 a.m.; Wednesday, February 4, 2009, at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Place: Washington, DC, at U.S. Postal Service Headquarters, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., in the Benjamin Franklin Room.
Status: February 3 at 10 a.m.--
Closed; February 4 at 8 a.m.--Closed; February 4 at 10:30 a.m.--Open. Matters to be Considered: Tuesday, February 3 at 10:00 a.m. (Closed): 1. Strategic Issues. 2. Pricing. 3. Financial Matters. 4. Personnel Matters and Compensation Issues. 5. Governors' Executive Session--Discussion of prior agenda items and Board Governance. Wednesday, February 4 at 8 a.m. (Closed): 1. Continuation of Tuesday's closed session agenda. Wednesday, February 4 at 10:30 a.m.
(Open): 1. Minutes of the Previous Meetings, November 12-13, December 2, 2008; and January 22, 2009. 2. Remarks of the Chairman of the Board. 3. Remarks of the Postmaster General and CEO. 4. Committee Reports. 5. Quarterly Report on Service Performance. 6. Financial Update. 7. Tentative Agenda for the March 31-April 1, 2009, meeting in Washington, D.C. 8. Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors. For Further Information: Julie S. Moore, Secretary of the Board, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, DC 20260-1000. Telephone (202) 268-4800.
.Based on feedback to our proposal [HTML] | [PDF], we will continue to collaborate with the mailing industry to test folded self-mailer designs. The final rule will include only recommendations for folded self-mailers, rather than requirements, as we further explore mailing options.
All Headlines News has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service has been hit by a double whammy, leading to its worst financial performance since it was established in 1775. Over the last two years, the service's total loss reached $7.9 billion. The decline in income are due to the economic slowdown which has led to less mails being sent by businesses and individuals and increasing use of email and other forms of electronic communication. In 2008, mail volume dipped by 4.5 percent. According to the Postal Service, it expects a larger decline this year."
The Associated Press has reported that "UPS Inc., the world's largest shipping carrier, said Tuesday it swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $254 million. It also said it is freezing management salaries and suspending its match for its employee retirement plans as sales slid 5.2 percent, and it warned that 2009 will be one of the most difficult years ever."
Bloomberg has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service tried to push the envelope. Then it folded. Postal officials, seeking savings to reduce losses that totaled $2.8 billion last year, proposed moving the transparent window on business envelopes a fraction of an inch higher and to the right to improve mail handling. They also said Jan. 22 that they were considering requiring commercial mailers to reduce static cling so letters won’t stick together. The agency separately revealed that it was in such bad financial shape that mail deliveries may have to be reduced to five days a week from six. The outrage was immediate -- about the envelopes and static cling. Printers, envelope makers, mailers, paper companies and big mail users such as banks and insurance companies, which generate much of the 212 billion pieces of mail the post office delivers each year, called the changes badly timed, unnecessary and too expensive. The agency can’t afford to anger its most important customers. Six days after suggesting the changes, the service moved faster than Priority Mail to retreat."
USA Today has reported that the "Postal Service seeks to weather economic storm." "We have to make adjustments quickly to keep the ship afloat," Postmaster General John Potter says. "We have to weather the storm of the bad economy first and figure out how traditional mail fits into an electronic world." Congress regulates the Postal Service heavily. By law, the agency must deliver mail six days a week. It must deliver across the USA at the same price, even to distant parts of Alaska. It can't close post offices for economic reasons. Stamp prices can rise only at the inflation rate, except in emergencies. Potter says the Postal Service wants to avoid a federal bailout or big rate increases. "Things are changing fast, and the Postal Service has limited options," says Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Dan Blair, its top regulator. The Postal Service is projecting another multibillion-dollar loss in 2009. "The Postal Service cannot survive as we know it," says Burrus, the union chief. The Postal Service's financial crisis could lead to a variety of dramatic changes — thousands of post office closings, cutbacks or elimination of Saturday deliveries, significantly higher stamp prices or a direct federal bailout."
The Standard Freeholder has reported that "Canada Post officials and some employees of its Cornwall office are saying there's more than meets the eye to the reported banning of the phrase "Merci seigneur pour la belle journee." Canada Post spokesperson Martine Lepine had said initially the ban was for the Cornwall office, but she's now clarified that it's only for two specific individuals at the office. Lepine added that although the two individuals were told they could no longer use the phrase, which translates to "Thank you Lord for the beautiful day," it was actually the manner in which the phrase was expressed, not its content, that resulted in a complaint from another employee and the subsequent ban."
Reuters has reported that "Belgian national postal service La Poste [LAPST.UL] has set the size of a planned seven-year bond at 500 million euros ($643 million)."
According to The Local, "The agreement formally regulating the merger between the Swedish and Danish post offices, Posten and Post Danmark, has been signed, the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications has confirmed in a statement. The Danish state has also agreed to buy the UK firm CVC's shares in Post Danmark on condition that the merger is completed. That CVC is bought out will also give Post Danmark "a greater possibility to focus on the implementation of the Scandinavian merger." The combined firm will be 60 percent Swedish and 40 percent Danish owned. The board will however be divided equally."
Now available: "Handbook Of Worldwide Postal Reform" Edited by Michael A. Crew, CRRI Professor of Regulatory Economics and Director, Center for Research in Regulated Industries (CRRI), Rutgers Business School, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark, US, Paul R. Kleindorfer, Anheuser-Busch Professor Emeritus of Management Science, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, US and Distinguished Research Professor, INSEAD, France and James I. Campbell, Jr, Attorney, Washington, DC and Adjunct Professor, School of Public Policy, George Mason University, US January 2009 480 pp Hardback on-line discount $243.00"
Willamette Week has reported that "The possibility that the U.S. Postal Service could take a cost-cutting step of eliminating mail delivery on the comparatively light delivery day of Tuesday raises a key question for Oregon elections officials such as Secretary of State Kate Brown. The question? What would happen to Oregon's vote-by-mail system and the ballots that come flooding into elections offices on Election Day Tuesday, if there's no delivery on Tuesday. Brown wrote Postmaster General Jack Potter today to urge him to pick another day besides Tuesday if the Postal Service must cut back from six days to five days of mail delivery."
Scoop has reported that "New Zealand Post, the state-owned postal service and owner of Kiwibank, plans to sell as much as NZ$200 million of subordinated notes to repay existing debt."
Multichannel Merchant has reported on "PRC Chairman Blair Addresses Five-Day Delivery Prospect."
WWLT has reported that "A Jefferson Parish postman has been charged with opening approximately 2,950 pieces of mail, according to U.S. Attorney Jim Letten. Geronima A. Cellamare, 46, faces five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He was employed by the U.S. Postal Service."
TradingMarkets has reported that "FedEx rolled out improved tracking technologies that give customers real-time views of shipment statuses on desktops and laptops." See also Air Cargo World.
February 2. 2009
As the NiemanJournalismLab has noted, "just as newspapers should be totally reinventing their business rather than cutting here and trimming there until there’s nothing left to reinvent, so should the Postal Service be reinventing itself in a fundamental way, rather than changing incrementally."
Finance Markets has reported that "The euro zone’s second largest economy has unveiled a €26 billion (£23.5 billion) stimulus package in a bid to boost its economy and fight off the economic downturn. €11 billion is to help businesses boost their cash flows, while a further €11 billion will be provided for direct state investment and the remaining €4 billion will be provided to improve rail infrastructure, postal service and energy services."
The Economic Times has reported that "GeoPost, the French government-owned postal services company, has been allowed to pick up 60% stake in the privately-held express parcel delivery firm Continental Air Express for an undisclosed amount, following the intervention of the French ambassador to India."
The latest blog has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s Internet site “Pushing the Envelope.” The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place. To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/. The following new topic was just posted: The Postal Service’s Financial Crisis. The Postal Service lost $2.8 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2008 and is concerned about additional losses in FY 2009. You are invited to comment and vote on the remedies the Postal Service proposed at a recent Senate subcommittee hearing: allowing the Postal Service to prefund retiree health benefits more slowly and reduce the number of delivery days to 5 when warranted. You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at: www.uspsoig.gov. If you have additional questions, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2322.
The Postmaster General has written an open letter to all postal employees. In it he said that "By the end of the year, we expect to lose another 12 billion to 15 billion pieces. At the same time, costs have been growing — but revenue has not. This year, the money we bring in will be less than it was 2008, when we lost $2.8 billion. We could lose more than $5 billion.
Trading Markets has reported that "DHL and T-Systems, a corporate customer division of Deutsche Telekom, have signed a three-year contract to use their expertise to raise efficiency in supply chains via technologies such as telematics and mobile services. The companies will set up concepts, conduct tests and demonstrations as well as launch pilots in co-operation with other partners. T-Systems intends to use the initiative to share Deutsche Telekom's technological expertise in order to develop services for Deutsche Post World Net's logistic and postal customers."
The Public Representative has told the Postal Regulatory Commission that: "The recent trends of declining postal volumes, together with still-positive labor productivity, have been widely recognized by the postal community. What is less widely recognized is that in the face of rapidly declining volume, variable costs per workhour, and variable costs per piece have been steadily and rapidly rising. With variable costs per piece generally rising faster than inflation, prospects are that products which are currently near the edge in terms of recovering their attributable costs are soon likely to fall into non-compliance with the fundamental objective of the PAEA that market dominant mail classes and competitive products remain in the black. The trends identified mean that rates for a number of market dominant classes will soon butt up against their price cap. If these trends continue, competitive products as a group will soon fall below the minimum institutional cost contribution of 5.5 percent established by the Commission. It has become conventional wisdom that the way out of the Postal Service’s current predicament is to increase its volume. The analysis below demonstrates that this will not, in fact, solve the problem. Instead, only quick and bold action to control unit variable costs will halt the Postal Service’s rapid slide into insolvency."
From PR Newswire: "CVC Capital Partners ("CVC"), a leading global private equity firm, is pleased to announce that agreement on the following transactions has been reached: - CVC has entered into a conditional sale agreement with the Danish State for its 22% shareholder stake in Post Danmark A/S. The sale will be effected upon the closing of the merger between Post Danmark A/S and Posten AB of Sweden expected to take place during 2009. - CVC has entered into a conditional purchase agreement with Post Danmark A/S to acquire its entire ownership interest in De Post - La Poste, Belgium's national postal service provider. Following the Transaction companies managed and controlled by CVC Capital Partners would own 49.9% of De Post - La Poste.
Associated Content believes that "The Postal Service is a Dinosaur with a 2009 Mission; But it Can Be Saved."
According to the Lehigh Valley Express Times, "If Congress and the Postal Service approve a reduction in home delivery days, it would send a terrible message to the public about the agency's future. Many customers have already abandoned snail mail for e-commerce. Cutting home delivery service would only hasten this exodus and further cripple the Postal Service. It would send businesses and others that rely on six-day home delivery service scrambling for alternative ways to do business. And it would unfairly punish those customers who don't have Internet access or few inexpensive choices of how they communicate with the outside world."
American Postal Workers Union (APWU) President William Burrus has told his members that "Beyond relief from the obligation to pre-fund the retiree healthcare liability, the platitudes in Potter’s testimony revealed little about plans that have a chance of preventing a disaster."
Reuters has reported that "The European Commission ordered the Slovak government on Monday to bring its antitrust regulations in the electronic communications, energy and postal sectors into line with EU laws on competition."
The Asbury Park Press has reported that "The U.S. Postal Service is asking federal lawmakers to allow it to cut back mail delivery from six days a week to five because the agency was $2.8 billion in the red last year. Congress should demand a full accounting and audit of the postal agency before allowing it to reduce services. With postal rate increases each of the last three years and another expected this spring, with more automated and online services freeing up postal personnel, with online purchases creating a huge market and with sell-it-yourself Web sites and online auctions that have made big mail-order business out of garage sale fodder, how can the Postal Service be losing money?"
Hellmail takes The Mirror to task.
February 1, 2009
The Mirror has reported that "Business Secretary Lord Mandelson wants to create a new publicly-owned bank based on the Post Office's network of 12,000 post offices. The move would allow local post offices to offer full banking facilities to customers whose trust in mainstream banks has been rocked by the credit crisis."
TechFlash has reported that "Amazon's annual regulatory filing, released yesterday, contains a curious disclosure: "In January 2009, we learned that the United States Postal Service, including the Postal Service Office of Inspector General, is investigating our compliance with Postal Service rules, and we are cooperating.""
According to the Boston Globe, "It's a good thing John Potter is postmaster general and not director of the National Park Service, because if he held the latter post, he'd no doubt be threatening to close the Washington Monument. Last week, Potter told a Senate subcommittee that rising costs may force the US Postal Service to eliminate Saturday mail delivery. Now, the idea that Congress will allow reduced mail service is unlikely, and Potter surely knows as much. So why the doomsday scenario? Simple: To make the citizens sigh with relief rather than seethe with anger when the Postal Service announces it can continue six day-a-week service after all - but with yet another increase in the price of stamps."
In the opinion of the Schenectady Daily Gazette, "The U.S. Postal Service is hemorrhaging red ink, but rather than raise rates to close the gap, it is talking about cutting out delivery one day a week. The situation is bad, but reducing service should only be pursued as a last resort."
According to the Yuma Sun, "The Postal Service is facing the same thing many private businesses, including newspapers, are facing now - a need to adapt to a completely different marketplace. Using a tried and true example from the past, no one wants to be the buggy whip maker when cars are taking over."
From CBS News: "Special Delivery: Mail By Mule."
Leadership Nigeria has reported that "The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) said it has completed the design for the establishment of an independent postal sector regulator, together with the implementation programme."