September 30, 2015
Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission RULES Update to Product Lists , 58611–58614 [2015–24605] [TEXT]
USPS Customer Alert: Attention Business Customer Gateway/eAdmin Users -- The Business Customer Gateway/eAdmin Oracle 12c Production upgrade will occur on Sunday, October 18, 2015 from 3:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. CT. There will be an outage during this upgrade and the application will be unavailable during this time.
USPS Office of the Inspector General: No Driver Needed?
Self-driving vehicles might seem like a plot device in a science fiction movie -- think iRobot or Total Recall – but actually, they’re already here. Google and other companies have been testing driverless vehicles for several years, and some aspects of semi-autonomous vehicle technology, like automatic parallel parking, are available in some new cars.
Analysts expect autonomous vehicle technology to hit the roads big time in the next few years, which could signal major changes for the shipping and transportation industries and supply chains. Earlier this year, Daimler became the first manufacturer to be granted a road license for an autonomous heavy-duty truck. The trucking industry –critical to U.S. Postal Service operations – could benefit from these technologies. Autonomous vehicles are designed to improve safe driving, and testing indicates they are involved in fewer accidents. The technology is expected to cut down on fuel costs by facilitating more efficient control of speed, including rate of braking and acceleration.
That’s not all. The technology could enable automated truck convoys, which would consist of a driver in a lead truck setting the pace and taking over the steering, acceleration, and braking of a line of trucks following closely behind. Drivers in those trucks can rest until their respective turns to lead, thus improving productivity.
Self-driving vehicles could take on the tasks of loading and unloading goods in warehouses. Kiva, a warehouse automation system that Amazon acquired in 2012, uses autonomous vehicle technology to transport movable shelves, retrieving products for the worker who keyed them into the system.
Autonomous technology could also revolutionize last mile delivery. DHL said in a 2014 report that it could eventually use specialized driverless cars to deliver packages to its centrally located, self-service Packstations. The company even suggested that one day the Packstations themselves could act as driverless cars, traveling across town delivering directly to wherever the customer is.
Some analysts believe that in the future, customers could rent shared autonomous vehicles and pre-program destinations for daily deliveries. Such a service would allow small businesses to offer a delivery service without having to maintain a fleet of delivery vehicles.
Driverless cars still face many hurdles – cost, technology, and regulatory, to name a few – before they are commonplace on U.S. highways. However, the technology has already shifted from hypothetical to reality, and it promises major changes in industries critical to the Postal Service.
Practical Ecommerce: The United States Postal Service’s Priority Mail Regional Rate shipping can save ecommerce businesses money and deliver orders somewhat more quickly than similar services. Similar to other USPS Priority Mail services, Regional Rate shipments are packaged in postal service-supplied boxes. These boxes come in five sizes, which in turn are divided into three pricing categories: A, B, and C.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh postmaster Daniel P. Davis, accused of intercepting private packages and opening them in a hunt for drugs, will stand trial on charges of intimidating subordinates said to be aware of his allegedly illegal activities, a district judge ruled today. Mr. Davis, 50, of Canonsburg is charged with obstructing administration of law or other government function and four counts each of intimidation of witnesses or victims, criminal coercion and official oppression.
Accenture: Digitally connected consumers, looking for lower prices, greater convenience and a seamless experience in buying, receiving and returning products, are forcing companies and postal organizations to rethink traditional parcel delivery methods, research from Accenture shows. Armed with social networks, greater choices and rapid reviews of companies and services, these savvy consumers, already driving e-commerce demand, now are forcing increased competition for the “last mile,” the literal home stretch in delivery service – to the door, parcel lockers, access points or crowd storage. “Adding Value to Parcel Delivery” identified more than a dozen trends impacting parcel delivery service, an industry segment that is projected to grow 9 percent annually to more than $343 billion globally by 2020.
Wall Street Journal: Amazon.com Inc. will try to do to the “gig” economy what the company did to e-commerce. The WSJ’s Greg Bensinger writes the online retail giant has quietly rolled out in Seattle a program to deliver goods to homes in as little as an hour. Amazon is undertaking what it calls Amazon Flex with a potentially significant twist: the company will use independent contractors for deliveries, and tie a network of on-demand workers together through an app that prompts them to get goods at mini-warehouses and deliver them. That makes Amazon Flex a new test of Amazon’s efforts to lower shipping costs and pare delivery times as part of its bid to become the central commercial hub for all shoppers. Solving the costs and complications of “last-mile” logistics is critical to that bid. But in turning to independent contractors, Amazon also is using a model that’s been under legal attack and may leave delivery standards out of the company’s control.
Courthouse News Service: The U.S. Postal Service's $7.5 million fine of Southern California Edison for abusing bulk-mail privileges was excessive, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg of the District of Columbia said that the fine was not the result of "reasoned decisionmaking."
Washington Post: The enrollee share of premiums in the health insurance program for federal employees and retirees will rise by 7.4 percent on average in 2016, the largest increase since 2011, the government announced Tuesday.
Forbes: The case cited demonstrates an interesting application of the delivery and filing timing rules when a U.S. Postal Service Tracking Number and a Stamps.com shipping label/postmark are both present on an envelope containing a Tax Court petition. On January 21, 2015, the IRS sent notices of deficiency to the taxpayer. The Tax Court received his petition on April 29, 2015, which was sent via U.S. Postal Service (USPS) first-class mail. As described by the court, the envelope that contained the petition also included a “postmark” by “Stamps.com” of April 21, 2015. The envelope also bore a certified mail sticker with a 20-digit tracking number; it did not bear a USPS postmark. The IRS filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, arguing that the taxpayer’s petition was not timely. The taxpayer argued that the petition was timely, relying on the Stamps.com date.
DENMARK: Copenhagen Post: The price for sending express letters in Denmark will almost double from 10 kroner to 19 kroner next year, Kristeligt Dagblad reports. Express letters (A-letters) are guaranteed to be delivered by the following day. The cost for delivering priority letters will increase due to fewer people using the service. “We are aware the price increase is very significant, but it reflects the cost of a quick delivery,” Henning Christensen, the head of PostNord Denmark, told Kristeligt Dagblad. According to PostDanmark, an average Danish family sends less than four priority letters a year.
AUSTRALIA: Post & Parcel: Siemens has been contracted to equip Australia Post’s mail centres with the Open Mail Handling System (OMS) for flats sorting. Six systems will be installed in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia for the sorting and sequencing of large letters, open and plastic wrapped magazines, as well as small parcels.
DENMARK: Post & Parcel: Post Danmark has announced that it will be raising its postage rates on 1 January 2016. The price of an A-mail letter will increase from its present rate of DKK10 to DKK19, while the cost of an economy B-mail letter will go up from DKK7 to DKK8. In a statement issued today (29 September), Henning Christensen, head of PostNord Denmark, said that the postal operator had to introduce the price increases to cope with the decline in mail volumes.
KENYA: Post & Parcel: The Postal Corporation of Kenya, Posta Kenya, has today (29 September) issued an invitation for transport companies to tender their services.
September 29 2015
Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 58525 [2015–24679] [TEXT]
PRNewswire: Penton SmartReach has announced that research it has conducted shows an accelerating pace of traditional postal B2B marketers moving to digital marketing solutions. In a survey of 391 postal marketers, 30% stated that they expect to continue to use postal direct marketing solutions exclusively, while 41% stated that they expect to add e-mail solutions in the near future. The survey was conducted in September 2015. "The results point to the fact that direct marketers are increasingly looking for lead generation and digital solutions are the best solutions," said Joann Kropp, market leader for Penton SmartReach. The marketers surveyed also indicated that they are exploring newer forms of digital marketing along with emails, including audience extension, native advertising and web targeting. 28% of respondents are looking at these methods.
Detroit Free Press: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said Tuesday it will supply the U.S. Postal Service with more than 9,000 Ram ProMaster cargo vans, giving the new cargo van a high-profile contract that could help to raise brand awareness for Ram's commercial truck division. With more than 190,000 vehicles, the Postal Service operates one of the largest vehicle fleets in the nation. In less than two years, the ProMaster van has leaped from nonexistent to second place among large commercial vans sold in the U.S. The ProMaster competes against the Ford Transit, the Nissan NV and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
The Wall Street Journal: Speaking at Advertising Week, Marissa Mayer said Web users' favorite content will disappear if ads are blocked en masse. Ms. Mayer acknowledged that executives at Yahoo have been actively discussing how to deal with ad blocking a lot lately. "I really believe that commercials and ads make content better," she said. "The experience on the Web [without ads] becomes a lot less rich in my experience. I personally think it is a mistake." A mistake not only because people will miss out on seeing great ads—which Ms. Mayer said she thinks people really love—but also because using ad blocking en mass will hurt digital media businesses, which over time could wipe out the content and products people love. "The reason we have such tremendous resources [on the Web] is that we actually have ads that work," she said. "It is really important to keep that ecosystem vibrant. We need to make sure we have business models that work…I just think it makes the Internet better."
Fedscoop: The Transportation Department is in the very early stages of trying to build the first publicly accessible database of the geographical location of every address in the country. "The first responder community is going to be the biggest beneficiary," said DOT Geographic Information Officer Steve Lewis, noting that many states and municipalities have already created a patchwork of address databases to be used by their emergency response units, but with varying degrees of accuracy. "If you're routing an ambulance, the route might take you across one county into the next or one state into the next. Having a contiguous database of address points for the nation would provide better access outside of just a county or a city." Currently, agencies like the Census Bureau and the U.S. Postal Service have databases filled with residential and business addresses, but that information is protected by various privacy laws. DOT is trying to find a way to corroborate the information the federal government has on file, work with state and local governments to collect information that hasn't been gathered yet, and determine the best way to easily present it to the public.
4-Traders: Digitally connected consumers, looking for lower prices, greater convenience and a seamless experience in buying, receiving and returning products, are forcing companies and postal organizations to rethink traditional parcel delivery methods, research from Accenture (NYSE:ACN) shows. Armed with social networks, greater choices and rapid reviews of companies and services, these savvy consumers, already driving e-commerce demand, now are forcing increased competition for the "last mile," the literal home stretch in delivery service – to the door, parcel lockers, access points or crowd storage. "Adding Value to Parcel Delivery" identified more than a dozen trends impacting parcel delivery service, an industry segment that is projected to grow 9 percent annually to more than $343 billion globally by 2020. As postal organizations around the world continue to face revenue challenges created by dramatically reduced mail volumes, focusing on competitive parcel delivery products, services and supply chains will help close the revenue gap.
PRNewswire: Endicia, a provider of ecommerce shipping technologies and services, has announced that Shopify, a cloud-based multichannel commerce platform, now uses Endicia technologies to offer direct access to U.S. Postal Service shipping solutions. By integrating with Endicia, Shopify can now provide U.S.-based merchants with the ability to manage and print USPS shipping labels for domestic and international orders directly from Shopify's admin. This is the first time Shopify has offered built-in, direct access to USPS services, so merchants no longer have to access a third-party application to manage their shipping via the U.S. Postal Service. The integration will help streamline the fulfillment process and eliminate the need to copy and paste shipping or tracking information outside of the Shopify platform. The solution also allows sellers to take advantage of cost-effective services from USPS, like package tracking, discounted parcel insurance and affordable shipping options like Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes.
September 28, 2015
Postal Regulatory Commission:
Cato Institute: It seems that the United States and the European Union characterize the problem of regulatory issues in trade agreements very differently. In part that reflects a more general lack of consensus and understanding of the issue of "regulatory trade barriers." For example, the Ecorys study noted above refers to many regulatory issues that cannot easily be handled, such as tort reform in the United States or postal monopolies in both economies. But resolving such deeply embedded national policies through a trade negotiation seems unlikely. Attempts to address regulatory trade barriers in the TTIP might be more productive if these varied issues were separated out into appropriate categories, rather than all being lumped together.
PIWorld: "Marketing more effectively to existing customers and prospects, developing a new generation of sales reps adept at consultative/solutions/team selling, and diversifying built on understanding and responding to customer wants, needs, and expectations," are among the "Must-Dos" for industry companies that want to succeed in "an unprecedented period of change and discontinuity." That was the message delivered by Ken Garner, president and CEO of Epicomm, the Association for Leaders in Print, Mail, Fulfillment, and Marketing Services, to members of the National Association of Advertising Distributors (NAAD) at NAAD's semi-annual meeting in Alexandria, Virginia, on Sept. 25. In a session entitled "An Industry Perspective—a Discussion, Not a Presentation," Garner asked attendees to consider the evolution of the graphic communications and mailing services industries in recent years. "Service provider distinctions are disappearing, industry shrinkage continues—we haven't yet reached a balance between supply and demand—and postal complexity increases," he said.
Washington Times: It's not a bad thing for the USPS to follow the example of its contemporaries in the private sector by taking advantage of higher efficiency and more cost-effective vehicles to conduct its business. If the Postal Service wants to do things the right way, it should make sure to take a good look at all its options before spending billions of dollars on a new fleet. Instead of being the poster child for government waste, USPS has the chance to show that efficiency is important, and that it is capable of making smart financial decisions. Let's hope that it does.
National Association of Advertising Distributors: The National Association of Advertising Distributors presented on September 25th its highest honor, the Merlyn W. Webb Award, to PostCom President Gene Del Polito in recognition of his "exceptional dedication and service to the direct mail and direct marketing community as well as his outstanding leadership fostering education, community service, involvement, and willingness to help others following the example set by industry leader and former NAAD president Merlyn Webb."
Daily Mail: Symbols of a dying trade: Photographer snaps pictures of ancient post offices and empty mailboxes to document the gradual disappearance of the United States Postal Service.
NETHERLANDS: Post & Parcel: The Dutch market regulator ACM has agreed that PostNL's calculations for costing the universal post service (UPD) for 2014 are in line with the legal requirements. ACM had previously queried PostNL's cost calculations, but the postal operator has now made various adjustments and clarifications.
AUSTRALIA: Choice: Any Aussie who regularly shops online will know the frustration of picking out purchases on an American website, only to discover at the checkout that the company doesn't ship to Australia; not to mention the frustration of knowing that Australians can pay up to 60% more for clothing than US consumers and up to 200% more for cosmetics when we shop locally (also known as the Australia Tax). Freight-forwarding services look like the answer to these problems.
AUSTRALIA: Government News: Something has to change at Australia Post. It is losing money with the death of the stamped letter. It is making money from parcels, but the numbers don't add up. Led by Ahmed Fahour, Australia's highest paid public servant, Australia Post announced a full-year loss of $222 million in 2014-15. It is the organisation's first ever annual loss since it was corporatised in 1989. The reason is clear. Hardly anybody sends letters any more. Personal mail hardly exists in the Internet era, except for Christmas cards, and even they are in serious decline. Business mail has been the mainstay of the postal system in recent years, but is also declining quickly with the move to online invoicing and statements. The decline has been obvious for years, but it has been accelerating, not declining. Ahmed Fahour wants to restructure the postal part of Australia Post, but he is having to balance this against the Community Service Obligation. No Australian government wants to be seen to be cutting postal services. It is a continuing battle, one which will eventually have to confront commercial reality. Concession and season greeting (Christmas) mail comprise nearly half of all mail sent by consumers. The great majority (97 per cent) of regular mail now comes from business and government, with very few personal letters.
September 27, 2015
News-Press Now: The U.S. Postal Service's march off the fiscal cliff has taken a pause, and in this there is a glimmer of hope for rural mail patrons. A career postal worker, former letter carrier Megan Brennan, was installed in February as the new postmaster general. It's still early in her tenure, but key advocates for rural mail customers report she understands service cuts have deeply harmed the postal franchise. Thanks to a temporary rate increase, postal revenues are up. Expenses are down. But the financial outlook remains perilous, due primarily to a burdensome requirement to pre-fund billions of dollars in future retiree health benefits. Ms. Brennan has pledged a focus on technology to further cut costs and a focus on improving customer service to retain and attract more business. She will ask Congress to ease the requirement for funding health benefits. However, she apparently will not renew her predecessor's call for cutting Saturday deliveries of first-class mail. A spokeswoman says, "We are currently looking to gain consensus and we have not been promoting five day (service) as a key tenet."
September 26, 2015
Wall Street Journal: When Advertising Week kicks off Monday in New York, ad-industry executives will convene to discuss all the hot new marketing trends, from the branded emoji craze to location-based targeting to artificial-intelligence-driven marketing. But beyond the excitement over newfangled approaches, there also will be plenty of hand-wringing over the very future of the ad business as it comes under threat. In the digital world, the growing popularity of ad-blocking is the crisis of the moment, threatening the nearly $60 billion online ad industry. But it is just the latest source of heartburn. Marketers are also worried about piracy, fraud fueled by electronic "bots," transparency in ad-buying and the need to ensure that their ads are actually viewable instead of hidden in corners of websites.
St. Louis Today: As more online shoppers snap up the type of hefty items once brought home in a pickup truck or on a car roof, FedEx is savoring the volume while facing a logistical headache: Some of these packages don't always flow as smoothly through a company originally built to move small parcels and overnight envelopes. The bigger boxes may not fit through automated sorters or be easily read by high-tech package scanners. Oddly shaped containers take up more space on trucks, disrupting efficient packing. Costs can rise, too, with more human handling and greater fuel use because of heavier cargo. Outsized pieces helped drive a 36 percent surge in FedEx Ground's operating expenses last quarter.
September 25, 2015
USPS Industry Alert: USPS Shipping Products and Services Webinar Series September 29, 2015, 11a.m. EDT – Priority Mail Express® Join us as the Postal Service continues to host its series of informational webinars on a variety of products and services. The webinars focus on service enhancements, features, benefits, how to get started, and onboarding information to acquire the knowledge and skills to effectively use the service. Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at 11a.m. EDT – Priority Mail Express® Priority Mail Express® – This hour-long webinar will cover the Postal Service's fastest and most reliable service, which guarantees delivery of packages in one or two days. USPS speakers will update you on recent Priority Mail Express® product enhancements and explain the refund process, as well as provide details on features, benefits and fees and explain how to order expedited shipping supplies. Speakers: Tiffany Jesse, A/Manager Shipping Development Garry Rodriguez, Classification Specialist Participant information is provided below: Attendee Information US/Canada Attendee Dial-in: (866) 381-9870 Conference ID: 33228348 Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=e3b4c49c74d2bf2db6eaf4e6faf3a0a73
USPS Office of the Inspector General: How Can the Postal Service Optimize Contracting Officers' Workloads? -- In fiscal year 2014, U.S. Postal Service Supply Management personnel managed about 28,000 contracts worth about $13 billion. Purchasing activities within Supply Management are organized into five commodity portfolios that are overseen by 13 category management center (CMC) managers. CMCs manage the purchasing processes for the following commodities: Commercial Products & Services, Facilities, Mail & Operational Equipment, Technology Infrastructure, and Transportation. As of September 2015, Supply Management had about 130 contracting officers managing active contracts. Contracting officer representatives (CORs) represent the contracting officer and help administer contracts by dealing with the supplier throughout the life cycle of the contract. Over the past 8 to 10 years, the federal procurement workforce has shrunk by approximately 20 percent while the number of contracts has dramatically increased. This has led to concerns that contracting officers are managing more contracts than they can reasonably handle. We would like to hear your suggestions on optimizing contracting officers' workloads.
USPS NEWS LINK Matters of import. Registered Mail change to take effect Oct. 1 The Postal Service will no longer offer scanning and tracking services for some international Registered Mail destined for the United States. If an international post hasn't upgraded its capability to offer a product with "visibility," USPS will not offer tracking and scanning. This change takes effect Oct. 1. The change is being made to improve the profitability of import Registered Mail items and to encourage international posts to shift their items from the import Registered Mail stream to the import ePacket product. The ePacket product is an import small packet package shipment that provides delivery scanning at higher postage rates than Registered Mail. Several international posts already have upgraded to offer their customers a product that includes scanning and tracking service features.
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Postal Regulatory Commission:
KOAA: Speaker John Boehner has informed members of Congress that he will resign as Speaker and leave his seat at the end of October, NBC News has confirmed. A Boehner aide said that "The Speaker believes putting members through prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution. He is proud of what this majority has accomplished, and his Speakership, but for the good of the Republican Conference and the institution, he will resign the Speakership and his seat in Congress, effective October 30."
New York Times: Employees of the United States Postal Service failed to properly safeguard documents that included the names, addresses and financial information used by its law enforcement arm to monitor the mail of people suspected of criminal activities or for national security purposes, an internal investigation found. The information, which is collected as part of the Postal Service's mail cover surveillance program, could potentially reveal personally identifiable information and compromise the privacy of the mail, according to the report, which was conducted by the Postal Service's Office of Inspector General and released Thursday.
HUNGARY: Budapest Business Journal: Hungarian state-owned postal company Magyar Posta is testing out several models of electric vehicles between August 2015 and January 2016 to help it reach a decision on possible purchases, CEO Zsolt Szarka said today, according to Hungarian news agency MTI. The CEO said that the postal company is looking for cost-effective and environmentally friendly solutions for logistics operations and package delivery. He added that electric vehicles could be used in more densely populated areas to generate big savings on fuel costs.
AUSTRALIA: The New Daily: Pressure is mounting on Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour to step down after the company posted its worst full-year loss in 30 years on Friday. Joan Doyle from the postal and telecommunications branch of the Communication Workers Union told The New Daily Mr Fahour needs to step down.aus-post "What has Ahmed spent all the revenue on? There are certainly less employees," Ms Doyle said. "The largess within Australia Post, like sign on bonuses? There were never sign on bonuses in Australia Post until Ahmed came on. "They're making a mess of the joint. Nothing in Australia Post works like it should be. People who work in the industry are pulling their hair out."
AUSTRLIA: 610ABC: Australia Post has returned its first annual loss in more than 30 years. They're more than $200 million in the red. While email and social media have taken the place of the letter in daily communications - amid calls to privatise Australia Post - the postal service is still seen as a public service for many. 612 reporter Jesse Thompson went to Post Office Square to ask you when you when and why you go to the post office. John Steen is Associate Professor of Strategic Analysis at the UQ Business School. He spoke to Emma about the future of the postal service. .mp3
AUSTRALIA: Ledger Gazette: Australia Post's survival hinges on its parcel business after the national postal service notched up its first loss in more than 30 years. "The digital disruption to letter volumes we are seeing now is nothing new to Australia Post". He spoke to Emma about the future of the postal service. Huge declines in the number of companies and people posting letters have been blamed for dragging the business into the red. Letter traffic dropped 7.3 percent and recorded losses of 381 million Australian dollars as Australians increasingly switched to digital communication, Australia Post said in the statement.
POLAND: Reuters: Polish private postal firm InPost set its Initial Public Offering (IPO) price at 25 zlotys per share and its main shareholder Grupa Integer.pl sold shares worth 121 million zlotys ($32 million), InPost said on Friday.
September 24, 2015
Federal Register : Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 57644–57645 [2015–24260] [TEXT]
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
Wall Street Journal: Ad-blocking could become a major threat to ad-supported online publishers if it continues to gain traction. Many publishers say they haven't seen a material increase in mobile ad blocking following Apple's new software release, but describe the wider issue of ad blocking as a serious and growing concern.
Reuters: Shopify Inc announced a tie-up with the U.S. Postal Service on Thursday, making it more attractive for smaller U.S. retailers to use its software to power their e-commerce sites. The arrangement provides participating merchants with discounts of up to 60 percent off the postal service's retail rates and allow them to schedule free pickups, the Ottawa-based company said.
American Banker: A social contract has existed between banks and the government since the early days of the republic. The government supports the banks through trust-inducing insurance, bailouts, liquidity protection, and a framework that allows the allocation of credit to the entire economy. Banks, in turn, operate as the central machinery of the economy by providing transaction services, a medium for trade and individual and business loans that spur economic growth. This entanglement between the state and the banking system must surely mean that banks should not exclude a significant portion of the public from the bounty of government support. This is not just a banking market problem but a threat to our society's democratic principles. When the state becomes so heavily involved in the banking system, that system cannot create or contribute to such a vast inequality.
UNITED KINGDOM: Oxford Mail: A bicycle postal service has launched a new hub that could reduce congestion and make Oxford greener. City firm Pedal & Post was set up last year and has just launched its first hub off Botley Road. It will allow post to be delivered directly to the team's HQ so that it can transport parcels across the city using zero-emission cargo bikes. Director Christopher Benton said: "We need to stop vans and HGVs getting into the inner city. "Seventy per cent of delivery cost comes from the last mile – it's much more efficient for big companies to have their post sent to us then we deliver to homes.
KOREA: The Korea Times: Korea Post is pushing for a quality postal service to rebound from its years-long deficit. "Our postal service has been in deficit for four consecutive years, with sales falling 50 to 60 billion won each year," Korea Post President Kim Kee-deok said during a luncheon in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, Thursday. He stressed Korea Post will focus on improving its service quality, rather than launching new businesses. "It is more important to strengthen the stability of existing services than expanding our business portfolio. If we do not have quality in our parcel delivery service, the public may feel inconvenience, which will lead to the restructuring of the organization. On top of that, we have to increase labor costs of some 100 billion won every year." He explained the move is part of the organization's efforts to balance between the public and private sector in its business.
ZAMBIA: Times of Zambia: THE Government is in the process of signing a Statutory Instrument (SI) relating to licensing framework for the postal sector in the country. The SI is expected to enable the Zambia Information and Communications Authority (ZICTA) to issue licenses to operators in postal and courier services industry.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Guardian: The T&T Postal Corporation (TTPost) plans to boast its revenue by making the philatelic stamp concept a major part of its business model, documenting this country rich history through the issuing of commemorative stamps, says acting managing director Upendra Udharamaney.
September 23, 2015
Attention PostalOne!® Users: PostalOne! Scheduled Maintenance –Mail.Dat submissions will not be available on Sunday, September 27, 2015 from 4:00 AM to 6:30 AM CT due to scheduled maintenance. The PostalOne! System via Business Customer Gateway will be available during this time.
Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) upgrade will deploy on Sunday, September 27, 2015 from 4:00 AM to 10:00 AM CT. The SASP system will remain available during the deployment time. This upgrade includes fixes to known SASP issues to include updates to select Full-Service and Seamless Verifications.
Attention PostalOne!® Users: PostalOne! Known Issues Update.
Federal News Radio: Sen. Tom Carper (D- Del.) the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee released his new bill to reform the Postal Service and relieve it of some of its fiscal pressure. The Postal Service continues to run in the red, quarter after quarter and year after year. Dan Blair is the President and CEO of the National Academy of Public Administration and former chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission. He tells In Depth with Francis Rose what he sees in Carper's bill. .mp3
Engadget: Think you could survive in this day and age without access to a broadband connection? The White House has its doubts. A recent report from the Broadband Opportunity Council (under the auspices of the Oval Office) described broadband connectivity as an "essential infrastructure for communities" that "has steadily shifted from an optional amenity to a core utility" on par with water, electricity and sewers. According to the report, which was headed by the chairs of the US departments of Agriculture and Commerce, 51 million Americans lack access to download speeds beyond 25 Mbps. That's roughly a sixth of the national population.
The Verge: Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO who surprisingly took ownership of The Washington Post two years ago is quietly, but aggressively, making big moves in digital. His push away from The Post's print and .com business comes at a time when ad blocking the web is de rigueur and newspaper advertising revenue from both print and digital is in the toilet. Before the internet, advertising at big newspapers accounted for about 80 percent of revenues. That dropped to an average of 57 percent, according to Pew Research's 2015 State of the News Media report. "For the past five years, newspaper ad revenue has maintained a consistent trajectory: Print ads have produced less revenue (down 5 percent), while digital ads have produced more revenue (up 3 percent) – but not enough to make up for the fall in print revenue." And it's only getting worse: digital ads, once thought to be the savior of print, are increasingly being blocked. According to PageFair, ad blocking grew by 48 percent to reach 45 million active users in the US alone in the year leading up to June 2015.
New York Times: Five years ago, the book world was seized by collective panic over the uncertain future of print. As readers migrated to new digital devices, e-book sales soared, up 1,260 percent between 2008 and 2010, alarming booksellers that watched consumers use their stores to find titles they would later buy online. Print sales dwindled, bookstores struggled to stay open, and publishers and authors feared that cheaper e-books would cannibalize their business. Then in 2011, the industry fears were realized when Borders declared bankruptcy. E-books were this rocket ship going straight up, said Len Vlahos, a former executive director of the Book Industry Study Group, a nonprofit research group that tracks the publishing industry. Just about everybody you talked to thought we were going the way of digital music. But the digital apocalypse never arrived, or at least not on schedule. While analysts once predicted that e-books would overtake print by 2015, digital sales have instead slowed sharply. Now, there are signs that some e-book adopters are returning to print, or becoming hybrid readers, who juggle devices and paper. E-book sales fell by 10 percent in the first five months of this year, according to the Association of American Publishers, which collects data from nearly 1,200 publishers. Digital books accounted last year for around 20 percent of the market, roughly the same as they did a few years ago. E-books declining popularity may signal that publishing, while not immune to technological upheaval, will weather the tidal wave of digital technology better than other forms of media, like music and television.
RUSSIA: The Moscow Times: The government has green-lighted the creation of a new bank that will have a branch network more than double the size of Russia's biggest lender, Sberbank, and guarantee the provision of banking services in remote areas. Post Bank, a joint venture between Russia's state-run postal service and VTB, the country's second largest state bank, will have access to the 42,000 offices operated by Russian Post, according to a statement published on the government's website on Wednesday. The move to create the bank comes as Sberbank, the state-owned lender that dominates Russia's banking sector, closes hundreds of unprofitable branches to boost efficiency. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in August warned the bank that "nature abhors a vacuum" and said a new Post Bank could scoop up regional business, according to news agency RIA Novosti. Sberbank has about 17,000 branches in Russia. VTB will meld one of its subsidiaries, Leto Bank, into the new lender. The bank will start work early next year, Dmitry Rudenko, who is to head the new bank, told news agency RBC.
INDIA: IndiaTVNews: What does the PINCODE (Postal Index Number) mean? Why do the Postal Department & Courier firms ask you to write the PINCODE of the addressee? Why is it so important? PINCODE Postal Index Number (PIN) or PIN Code is a 6 digit code of Post Office numbering used by India Post. The PIN was introduced on August 15, 1972. There are 9 PIN regions in the country. The first 8 are geographical regions and the digit 9 is reserved for the Army Postal Service. The first digit indicates one of the regions. The second digit indicates the sub region or one of the postal circles (States). The third digit indicates a sorting / revenue district. The last 3 digits refer to the delivery Post Office.
ZIMBABWE: Chronicle: "Zimpost brings global postal convenience."
September 22, 2015
Attention PostalOne!® Users: PostalOne! Known Issues. Two issues have been identified impacting the processing of postage statements in PostalOne.! Acceptance employees have been instructed to follow the instructions below. Both issues are scheduled to be corrected tonight, September 22.
Brookings Institution: "How the government could deliver on postal reform"
Wall Street Journal: Pope Francis' six-day visit to the U.S. that begins on Tuesday ushers in a week of unprecedented logistical challenges for delivery companies, railroads, the U.S. Postal Service and many shippers as cities ramp up their security and close down roadways. In many of the areas he will visit in New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, e-commerce deliveries will come to a standstill.
Post & Parcel: The National Newspaper Association (NNA) has given its support to Senator Tom Carper's Improving Postal Operations, Service & Transparency (iPOST) Act. In a statement issued on Thursday (17 September), the NNA said it "believed the bill would set a positive tone in the 114th Congress to provide the U.S. Postal Service with cash flow flexibility while focusing much needed attention on rural mail service". NNA President John Edgecombe Jr. focused on the bill's requirement for the United States Postal Service (USPS) to work with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to measure on-time rural mail service. "Service to small towns has demonstrably declined since USPS slowed the mail down by lowering service standards and cutting about half of its mail processing plants out of its network. My concern about this problem has occupied a good portion of my year as NNA president as I have urged our members to keep pushing for change," claimed Edgecombe. "We hear complaints from our members about newspaper delivery that have been long-standing and are now intensified. Even more alarming, we get reports about problems with First Class and Priority Mail. When the mail doesn't work, small towns are isolated and handicapped in their economic development." The iPOST bill would require USPS to attach a geographic tag to each ZIP code, identifying it as rural, urban or suburban, and work with the PRC on regular service reports for on-time delivery. The bill also would impose a five-year moratorium on more processing plant closings while the PRC examines whether cuts from 2010 to 2013 took a bigger bite from service than necessary.
Business Insurance: The U .S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it has proposed nearly $80,000 in fines against the U.S. Postal Service in Greenville, South Carolina, for exposing employees to unsafe working conditions in a mail distribution center. OSHA last week issued the Greenville Postal Service one willful citation and two serious safety citations for blocking and restricting traffic flow in aisles shared by industrial trucks and pedestrians, allowing workers to operate forklifts without wearing seat belts, and failing to protect workers from falls of up to 8 feet, the agency said Thursday in a statement.
RUSSIA: RT: Russian mobile operator MTS and payment service provider QIWI Post have agreed to create a joint postal service in the country. The new service aims to offer fast and convenient delivery to Russian customers. The first automatic postal terminal has already been installed in MTS' Moscow offices. The companies plan further expansion by the end of the year. Terminals will be equipped with touch-screen control panel and payment option. To pick up a delivery, the client will have to enter a mobile phone number and a code sent as an SMS message.
CHINA-UNITED STATES-LATIN AMERICA: Internet Retailer: Cainiao, the logistical arm of China's Alibaba Group, signed a memorandum of understanding to improve shipping solutions for online sellers and consumers in China, the U.S. and Latin America. Packages shipped from China are about to get a boost from the U.S. Postal Service. An agreement between the Postal Service and Cainiao, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s logistics service, means U.S. consumers could receive overseas packages from Aliababa's global marketplace AliExpress faster.
AUSTRALIA: The Australian: Australian start-up Market Engine has secured a multi-million-dollar investment from Royal Mail, one of Europe's largest postal service providers. The cloud-based retail software is designed for Western brands looking to get a foothold in international markets, especially China, through a fully translated online shopfront. The platform claims to simplify cross-border trade by translating text content, images and price points from English into Chinese, enabling brands to manage multiple digital shopfronts across China's largest e-commerce sites, such as Alibaba's Tmall, and sell directly to Chinese consumers.
September 21, 2015
Fierce Government: On the heels of new Postal Service reform legislation, a fellow at the Brookings Institution offered her own suggestions for saving the agency, including splitting it into two distinct parts. Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow in governance studies at Brookings, released a paper Sept. 18, the same day Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced a bill meant to bring USPS back to solvency. While Carper's bill tries to help the agency by keeping its current organization intact, Kamarck's solution is more dramatic. In order to save the USPS, the organization must be broken into two separate entities – one public and one private, Kamarck argues in the paper.
FedSmith: Congress is considering a bill that would require postal retirees to enroll in Medicare Parts B and D or lose their Federal health insurance. Is this the future for all Federal retirees? Medicare is facing years of higher costs. Costs for Medicare's Supplementary Health Insurance (SHI), otherwise known as Medicare Parts B and D, are increasing faster than the general economy. Medicare Trustees estimate that Part B costs, which cover physician, outpatient hospital, and home health, will increase 6.7% annually until at least 2019. They estimate that the per capita growth rate of drug costs for Part D will exceed the growth rate of all other medical spending, despite the use of generic drugs. On Sep. 17, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Delaware), introduced the Improving Postal Operations, Service, and Transparency Act of 2015 (iPOST) (S. 2051). The bill requires postal retirees and their eligible family members to enroll in Medicare Parts B and D in order to continue coverage through the Postal Service Health Benefits Program. The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) has already spoken out against this provision of iPOST. NARFE President Richard G. Thissen has stated, "Postal retirees earned their health benefits throughout long careers of service. They should not be required to pay for additional health insurance coverage as a condition of continuing to receive those benefits." For 2016, the Office of Personnel Management is taking a different approach and is trying to entice Medicare-eligible Federal retirees to join voluntarily. OPM has specifically requested health insurers participating in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) to tailor their 2016 plans to encourage Part B enrollments. At present, OPM has indicated no plans to force non-postal retirees into Medicare Part B, but officials will certainly be watching the progress of iPOST, while monitoring participation rates to see if incentives increase the number of voluntary enrollments in SHI for 2016. Depending on both outcomes, government officials will need decide what course of action to pursue in future years.
Daily Kos: The New Hampshire Postal Workers Union has endorsed Bernie Sanders, his campaign announced in an email Saturday.
Direct Marketing News: Stakeholders in the postal arena view iPOST as an able vehicle for postal reform, though one that will require many modifications and that will travel a long road to passage."This the beginning of a legislative process. The bill's got to get through committee and the Senate. There's got to be a comparable bill in the House. But we're looking at [iPOST] as a good place to start," says Gene Del Polito, president of the Association for Postal Commerce. The president of the America Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA), Hamilton Davison, agrees. "There's recognition that something needs to be done," he says. "To some degree, this forces the discussion." Mailers' chief issues revolve around costs and service levels. They'd like service levels to be as high as possible and costs to be as low as possible. The new reform bill offers some hope, and concerns, in both areas.
WhatTheyThink: American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Donna Harman issued a statement regarding the Sen. Tom Carper's (D-DE) introduction of a Postal Reform bill. "We appreciate Senator Carper's leadership on the introduction of legislation aimed at improving the financial viability of the U.S. Postal Service. AF&PA's top priority in comprehensive postal reform is rate stability and customer service if mail is to compete with ever-increasing options to reach consumers. We remain concerned about the effects of the exigency rate increase. It was intended to be a limited escape valve for extraordinary circumstances and not a permanent solution.
SCANDANAVIA: Air Cargo World: TNT has expanded its coverage to the Nordic countries of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland reaching 15 percent more postal codes and 34 percent more businesses in the region by noon the next business day. Companies shipping to or from the Nordics will have more delivery options for their urgent parcels and freight.
UNITED NATIONS: Reuters: Growth in the number of people with access to the Internet is slowing, and more than half the world's population is still offline, the United Nations Broadband Commission said on Monday. Internet access in rich economies is reaching saturation levels but 90 percent of people in the 48 poorest countries have none, its report said. The access growth rate is expected to slow to 8.1 percent this year, down from 8.6 percent in 2014. Until 2012, growth rates had been in double digits for years. "We have reached a transition point in the growth of the Internet," the report said.
AUSTRIA: Post & Parcel: Unimarkt and Austria Post have announced today that another Unimarkt store is operating as a postal partner. The grocery store in Linz Ebelsberg is the tenth Unimarkt to offer a range of postal and bank services, through the partnership agreement with Austria Post.
AUSTRALIA: Post & Parcel: Australia Post will establish a new industry working group to support the implementation of letters regulatory reform and consider other strategic issues facing the postal sector. In a statement issued on Thursday (17 September), the postal operator said this decision "follows the Senate Inquiry into the Licensed Post Office network, which recommended the establishment of a formal working group of industry stakeholders." Australia Post added: "The group, to be chaired by former Victorian Senator Helen Kroger, will include representatives from the printing industry, mailhouses, Licensed Post Office network and employee unions. Other participants may be included as required. "Australia Post is committed to a thoroughly consultative approach to letters reform and the first working group session will be held before Monday 12 October." Meanwhile, the Australian postal sector is now being overseen by a new Minister for Communications, Senator Mitch Fifield. The previous Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, won a leadership challenge last week and is now the Australian Prime Minister.
PAKISTAN: Karachi Chronicle: As a public service Pakistan Post is a failed service. It is functionally obsolete. If it still issues stamps it is catering to a handful of philatelists in the country and a diminishing number of stamp collectors in the rest of the world. So many things have become obsolete because of the new communication technology. Nobody sends birthday cards, Eid cards, Valentine cards by post. You can still buy them though. They are attached to personally delivered gifts, not sent by post at all.
NIGERIA: National Mirror Online: The Courier Regulatory Department, CRD, of the Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, over the weekend announced the closure of two companies, allegedly operating courier services without licences in the country. Senior Assistant Post Master- General of NIPOST, Dr Simon Emeje, who made this known in a chat on Thursday with newsmen in Lagos, noted that the agency had to shut down the two illegal operators as well as revoke licenses of 10 operators in Lagos. He said the government action followed breach of guidelines setting up the courier firms, and to serve as deterrent to would-be others as well as safeguard the nation's economy.
ESTONIA: The Baltic Course: Estonian postal technology company Cleveron announced that it has partnered with Bell and Howell, the pioneer of production mail inserting and sorting systems, to introduce parcel terminal delivery to North America, reports LETA. As the most developed eCommmerce market in the world, North America presents the biggest challenge and opportunity for the most comfortable and cost-efficient parcel delivery format – automated parcel terminals, Cleveron announced. Cleveron and Bell and Howell see a high potential and have decided to join forces to introduce the most innovative parcel terminals to all market players. Both companies see a potential for 15,000 parcel terminals in five years.
LITHUANIA: Post & Parcel Baltic Post, a subsidiary company of Lithuania Post, has announced that it will be expanding its network of LP EXPRESS self-service parcel terminals. According to a statement issued by Lithuania Post, nine more self-service terminals are set to be installed before the end of the year, and the company also plans to install new lockers at existing terminal facilities. "The usage of self-service terminals LP EXPRESS is constantly growing. This year alone, the number of postal items sent and collected via self-service parcel terminals has increased more than twice, in comparison with 2014. Obviously, business and citizens have discovered self-service parcel terminals provided opportunities, both to send and to collect postal items," said Juozas Buitkus, director of Baltic Post.
Tamebay: Royal Mail have been doing their best to make every online retailer in the country aware of their new 2D barcodes due to come into effect from the 16th of October this year. As part of their awareness campaign, Royal Mail have sent out thousands of reminder postcards, one of which was handed to Tamebay reader Adrian by his Postie as his parcels were collected for despatch. There's a URL on the post card, but rather than manually type it in, Adrian decided to scan the QR code printed on the bar code. We've tried to scan it too but it doesn't appear to be a real QR code. Adrian says "You might imagine the QR code that is printed on both the back and front of the card would actually work, sending anyone tech savvy to the page on their device". Perhaps not quite the best advertisement for new barcoded postal parcels.
September 20, 2015
Yup. You guessed it. Not a single, solitary postal new all day.
September 19, 2015
Goshen News: In order to better serve valued subscribers, The Goshen News will change its delivery method this week, as well as move back to a Monday-through-Saturday publication cycle for the first time in more than 16 years. Goshen News Publisher Brian Bloom has announced that beginning Monday, the print edition of The Goshen News will be delivered to customers by the United States Postal Service. Therefore, subscribers who have become accustomed to finding the newspaper on their doorstep each morning will instead receive it from their postal carrier with their daily mail. Newspapers, Bloom stressed, will be delivered the same day they are published.
Delaware Online: The future of the U.S. Postal Service is at issue again. Good. It is time Congress takes the threats to the service seriously and look to the future, but for what is inevitable and for what realistically can be changed. Last week, Sen. Tom Carper and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that he is a part of introduced a bill that looks to modernize the U.S. Postal Service. The Improving Postal Operations, Service and Transparency Act, or iPost, includes reforms that look to put the Postal Service on a firmer financial foundation, while improving performance and the development of new products and services. The way iPost is set up, it could save the Postal Service a lot of money and headache down the stretch. If things go well, the program could have extra funds that could help to pay off any debts. The program also includes avenues that will start new health benefits packages for employees that could protect the public from any future taxpaying bailouts. The future of the Postal Service has been the subject of partisan fights in Congress. The reality is that the old way of doing things is disappearing. New studies show that Americans of all ages are sending less mail because of electronic delivery systems. It is bound to continue. As for the add-on services, can the postal bureaucracy actually shake off its fetters and compete? That is a tall order. This bill would help get rid of the fetters. Then it would up to the system to find its own answer.
The Motley Fool: According to employment website Glassdoor.com, the average pilot in the U.S. earns just under $122,000 a year, plus benefits. As we learned earlier this month, though, the average pilot working for FedEx earns closer to $234,000 a year. And thanks to a new contract, FedEx's pilots salaries could climb by more than 25% over the next few years. If you'd find it hard to scrape by on just $234,000 a year... how does the idea of earning $298,397 grab you? Brown with envy I'll tell you how it makes one group of pilots feel: jealous. Downright green with envy -- or "Brown with envy" might be closer to the mark. You see, the pilots at FedEx rival UPS are not exactly jumping with joy over the prospect of earning barely half what their technicolor rivals rake in at FedEx. According to Glassdoor, the UPS pilots it has surveyed earn closer to $168,000 a year, or just 56% of what FedEx pilots could soon be earning. Voicing their disgruntlement, UPS' pilots union, the Independent Pilots Association, ran a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal last week. Citing management's four-year history of "stalled and delayed" contract negotiations, IPA announced its intention to call a strike vote and force UPS' hand if pilots' demands are not met.
Tax Foundation: The U.S. Postal Service must be doing something right. A Gallup survey last November found that the Postal Service ranks first among 13 major government agencies. Seventy-two percent of respondents think the Service is doing a good job, and only 8 percent regard its performance as poor. For comparison, the percent of people in the survey giving scores of poor to the Veterans Administration, Internal Revenue Service, and Environmental Protection Agency were 35 percent, 27 percent rate, and 20 percent, respectively. The Service also deserves commendation because during the last decade and a half its leadership has moved skillfully to trim costs while, until very recently, maintaining a generally high level of service.
CANADA: CBC: You've heard a lot about community mailboxes. In urban areas, Canada Post is in the process of ending door-to-door mail delivery. Instead, people will go to their nearest community mailbox. It's an issue in the federal election. It's a big concern for the Canadian Union of Postal Employees, with up to 8,000 positions to be eliminated. There are complaints from people whose community mailboxes are not - or will not be - within walking distance. Suburban Canadians have been living with community mailboxes for years, without making a fuss. In fact, some people who have them within a reasonable distance from their homes love them. They're secure, and they come with a decided bonus: small and medium-sized parcels are waiting right there, saving the hassle of having to pick them up at the nearest postal outlet.
September 19, 2015
Fortune: Last January, following two years of struggling with booming holiday ecommerce, express shipper UPS announced that it would implement surge pricing during the holiday season. Analysts and press speculated this could mean something Uber-like, with shipping prices changing day to day or even hour to hour. In mid-August, the UPS rate guide confirmed that "holiday season changes" would impact pricing for many of its services. But despite early speculation, those changes are unlikely to mimic Uber's transparent and dynamic pricing. Instead, a UPS spokesperson said changes will be centered on deals with larger customers, who will "establish forecasts, promotions, and thresholds" in cooperation with UPS UPS -2.29% . Individuals doing their online holiday shopping are unlikely to notice price swings.
Wall Street Journal: At its hub in Louisville, Ky., United Parcel Service Inc. recently rolled out 100 industrial-grade 3-D printers to make everything from iPhone gizmos to airplane parts. UPS wants to find out if 3-D printing centers could shorten supply chains and cut into its $58 billion-a-year transportation business—or give it a leg up in a potentially emerging market for local production and delivery. For Atlanta-based UPS, the difference could be existential. It doesn't want 3-D printing to disrupt its business the way the Internet pulled the rug out from overnight document deliveries more than a decade ago.
September 18, 2015
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
Background. Billing determinants are spreadsheets that U.S. Postal Service employees manually produce to report volume and revenue for every price in the five market dominant classes of mail: First-Class Mail, Periodicals, Standard Mail, Package Services, and Special Services. Periodicals primarily consist of flat-shaped mail that contains educational, cultural, or scientific information, such as magazines and newspapers. The Postal Service obtains data for Periodicals billing determinants from the following sources: its published price list, the Shape Indicia Report, and the Revenue, Pieces, and Weight Report. This is the second in a series of audits on billing determinants. The first audit looked at First-Class Mail. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act requires the Postal Service to produce an Annual Compliance Report within 90 days of the end of each fiscal year. The report analyzes costs, revenue, pricing, and quality of service for all products. Billing determinants are filed in support of this report and used to ensure that price adjustments do not exceed price caps for each market dominant class of mail. The manual preparation and complexity of the spreadsheets create a risk of data entry errors. Our objective was to assess the accuracy and completeness of data used to prepare fiscal year (FY) 2013 and FY 2014 Periodicals billing determinants.
What the OIG Found. We did not find issues with completeness of data; however we did identify data inaccuracies that could be prevented by improving the procedures used to prepare Periodicals billing determinants. Specifically, there were errors in the FY 2013 and FY 2014 determinants because employees used outdated and mislabeled source data and made incorrect calculations. Further, the Postal Service did not establish adequate controls over the Periodicals billing determinant process. As a result of our First-Class Mail billing determinants audit, the Postal Service began to document repeatable processes for preparing billing determinant spreadsheets. Although these procedures are being developed, there were no internal reviews conducted of Periodical billing determinants prior to FY 2015. As a result, the Postal Service incorrectly calculated an absolute value of $7.6 million in revenue for FYs 2013 and 2014. Although these errors did not impact compliance with 2015 price cap requirements, future errors may do so.
What the OIG Recommended. We recommended the vice president, Pricing, file corrected Periodicals billing determinants for FYs 2013 and 2014 with the Postal Regulatory Commission no later than December 2015; ensure source data is labeled correctly and labeling errors are not repeated; increase transparency by disclosing the methodology for calculating editorial discounts; and complete ongoing internal efforts to ensure all Periodicals billing determinants are produced using documented and repeatable processes that include an in-depth internal review process.
Postal Regulatory Commission:
Industry Alert -- USPS Update on Fall Mailing Season Webinar Series The Postal Service would like to update mailers on its fall mailing season readiness plans. Linda Malone, Vice President Network Operations, and her staff will be presenting a series of webinars throughout the next three months updating mailers on important information regarding fall mail conditions. The first webinar will be held September 28, at 1p.m. (EDT). Two additional webinars will be held on October 23 and November 20, 2015. Please review information in the alert for instructions on how to participate in the first call. In preparation for this busy time of year, the Postal Service has been adjusting plans to ensure that mailers have the necessary equipment, transportation, and resources for a successful season. The Postal Service has been working to ensure customer communication plans, mail processing, sort programs are in place and has expanded FAST appointments and has deployed additional equipment to manage volumes and to monitor cycle times. The webinars are designed to give you up to date information and an opportunity to ask questions. If you have suggestions for topics and/or questions to submit in advance please do so by sending it to IndustryAlert@usps.gov. The Postal Service is committed to working closely with our customers to help them plan their mailings throughout the Fall Mailing Season and we hope that you can join us. Monday, September 28, 2015 (1p.m. EDT) , Attendee Dial-in: (866) 381-9870, Conference ID: 44647458, Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=eadf634737fd75527f4f51175939834e2
Attention Business Customer Gateway, PostalOne!®, BIDS and Program Registration Users:
Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 56502–56503 [2015–23431] [TEXT]
Government Executive: The biggest advocate in Congress for reforming the U.S. Postal Service is taking yet another shot at fixing the struggling agency, and his latest effort is receiving mixed reviews from the key players involved in postal operations. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., introduced the 2015 iPOST Act this week after months of roundtables and meetings with postal stakeholders to weigh various priorities. The lawmaker vowed to take a more inclusive approach to drafting the bill this time around after previous, more insular efforts fell short. The initial results failed to produce unanimous support, though Carper aides have warned a true compromise would likely make all parties somewhat unhappy. USPS itself rejected the measure, saying it did not do enough to improve the agency's troubled finances. "We cannot support those elements of [Carper's] recently introduced proposal that would expand regulatory bureaucracy and hinder our ability to control costs and respond to a rapidly changing marketplace," Sarah Ninivaggi, a Postal Service spokeswoman, told Government Executive. Postal unions were united in staunch opposition to Carper's 2013 Postal Reform Act and would not embrace his latest effort either. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., who opposed Carper's postal reform effort in the last Congress, praised the senator's latest effort. She particularly appreciated proposals to preserve standards for rural mail delivery, and that Carper's new bill included some of her focus on improving morale among the postal workforce.
American Postal Workers Union: The mediation process, which began in June under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, is drawing to a close. Mediation is designed to facilitate a voluntary agreement between the union and management, but up this point, there has been no substantial progress. If mediation fails to result in an agreement, the next step is "interest arbitration," where each side makes its case before an arbitration panel. Arbitration awards are final and binding. The APWU National Negotiating Committee, the union's attorneys, and much of the resources of our organization have been focused on preparing for arbitration. This includes consultation with economists and postal workers alike. These efforts have been coordinated by the Industrial Relations Department. The timetable is hard to predict, but if mediation doesn't result in an agreement soon, I expect that the USPS and the APWU will choose an arbitration panel and begin the initial arbitration hearings by mid-November. Interest arbitration takes time. In 2000, the last time we engaged in the process, it took 13 months to complete.
National Association of Letter Carriers: Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced the Improving Postal Operations, Service and Transparency (iPost) Act of 2015. Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, released the following statement regarding the bill:
NALC appreciates the tireless efforts of Senator Carper and his staff to craft a bill that will advance the process of achieving much needed postal reform. While Senator Carper's new bill contains several provisions we cannot support and raises a number of serious concerns for letter carriers and the larger federal employee community, we believe it is a good place to begin the conversation about how to preserve and strengthen the Postal Service for the American people while protecting the legitimate interests of all the key stakeholders.
Over the past few months, NALC has been working with a coalition made up of the four major postal unions, several key mailing industry groups, and the executive leadership of the U.S. Postal Service, to develop consensus postal reform legislation.
In the weeks ahead, our coalition intends to work with the leaders and members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and their counterparts on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to pass postal reform legislation that makes sense and that fairly meets the needs of our country, its people and its businesses.
The Hill: Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) rolled out legislation to revamp how the Postal Service operates on Thursday, hoping to spur new momentum for an issue that has long stalled on Capitol Hill. Carper, who has focused on postal issues perhaps more than any other senator, made some key changes to his last postal reform bill in an attempt to bridge the gap between lawmakers, unions and the business community, and to wrestle with the challenges and opportunities provided by the Internet. The Delaware Democrat is releasing the new measure on his own, after previously going out of his way to introduce bipartisan bills to help shore up the financial situation of an agency that has lost billions of dollars in recent years. "This legislation calls for shared sacrifice from all stakeholders and represents a thoughtful compromise while bringing badly-needed stability to the Postal Service's finances," said Carper, the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Postal Service. "This bill is a starting point, and will change as I continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, including Chairman Ron Johnson, stakeholders from rural, urban, and suburban communities, businesses of all sizes, postal customers, leadership, and employees."
Wall Street Journal: E-commerce shipments are giving FedEx Corp. its only real volume growth this year, but they're not doing much to help the company's profit margins. The WSJ's Laura Stevens reports that average daily shipments at FedEx Ground grew 4% year-over-year in the quarter ending Aug. 31, but the biggest growth came in residential deliveries generated by online sales. E-commerce shipments now make up half the business at the Ground and the Express units. It's a double-edged sword because those goods are more costly and time-consuming to deliver—one reason profit margins at Ground fell back 4.4 percentage points. FedEx's overall profit expanded 6% in the quarter compared to a year ago and it's moving to address the online-shipment equation. The company's price increase for next year includes a provision for sharply higher rates for packages that fall outside standard dimensions—the sort of shipments that often come from online orders.
Washington Free Beacon: U.S. Postal Service employees were forced to work in "deplorable" conditions for years at a facility in New Mexico, according to a recently released inspector general report. Heating and air conditioning systems at the facility were routinely out of order, restroom facilities were broken and non-functioning, electrical wires were exposed, and the facility was infested with cockroaches, according to an IG report released on Thursday. The report, requested by Sen. Tom Udall (D., N.M.), redacts the name of the facility and the managers in charge of maintaining it. "Working conditions at the Office were deplorable," the report concluded.
CANADA: GlobalNews: In the U.S., online shopping juggernaut Amazon is experimenting with a service that almost seems too good to be true: one-hour home delivery of purchases. Don't expect to see that delivery option on Amazon.ca anytime soon, but a Vancouver-based e-tailer has come close to matching that offering. Savvy shoppers have long complained that the e-commerce experience in Canada isn't advanced as in the U.S. As Canada Post's letter mail volume has plunged, the Crown corporation has tried to expand its parcel business. In 2013, it launched a trial same-day delivery service in Toronto with a few major online retailers. A online shopping survey conducted by courier service UPS in the U.S. found that delivery speed wasn't the leading factor among shoppers when comparing retailers. It ranked fourth behind product selection, product information and reputation in the poll of 5,000 consumers. Free shipping remained the most important option during checkout for 77 per cent of respondents.
September 17, 2015
Attention Business Customer Gateway, PostalOne!®, BIDS and Program Registration Users:
Government Executive: Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and longtime crusader for a legislative reform package to fix the ailing USPS, will once again take a crack at saving the Postal Service when he introduces the 2015 Improving Postal Operations, Service and Transparency (iPost) Act on Thursday. Carper promised a more inclusive approach to crafting his bill than in his previous efforts, and his measure reflects many of the concerns members of his own party had with its predecessors. Unlike his 2013 Postal Reform Act, Carper is introducing his bill without Republican support or cosponsors from either party. Instead, aides told Government Executive, Carper wanted to get the language of the bill out there and allow all voices to weigh in. Carper held roundtables and meetings with stakeholders -- including other lawmakers, postal unions, large mailers and the agency itself -- throughout the year in an attempt to include issues important to each group. Despite the boosted outreach efforts, aides conceded no one will be completely thrilled with the final product. A true compromise, they said, means everyone is unhappy. While aides said Carper avoided the insular approach to crafting his bill that opponents have said derailed his previous efforts, they said the senator is still open to changing his bill. The current language is just a first step, they said, adding Carper will continue working to make it better. [EdNote: A summary of the key provisions as well as the entire copy of Sen. Carper's bill has been posted on this site.
Federal Register: Postal Service RULES Rules of Practice before the Judicial Officer , 55766–55768 [2015–23314] [TEXT]
Minneapolis Star Tribune: The United States and Cuba should be able to transform their new diplomatic relationship into a deeper commercial partnership before the end of the year, with direct postal service to begin and an agreement on regularly scheduled commercial flights between the two countries, an American official said.
Association for Postal Commerce: In a press release following Senator Carper's introduction of a new postal legislative reform proposal, the Association for Postal Commerce said the following:
The Association for Postal Commerce commends Senator Thomas Carper, the minority member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, on the introduction of a proposal to reshape the legislative and regulatory underpinning of the nation's postal system and restore fiscal sustainability. The current postal statute, PAEA, has succeeded in providing price stability to mailers and incentivizing the Postal Service to control its costs by requiring the Postal Service to abide by a strict, CPI-based limit on price increases. However, the statute missed other opportunities for reform and also imposed unnecessary costs on the Postal Service through counter-productive provisions related to retirement and health
benefit funding. Senator Carper has put forward a number of proposed changes that remedy some of the deficiencies of PAEA and which this association supports, including proposals to:
- create a new Postal Service Health Benefits Program within FEHBP with full Medicare integration as the primary health care benefit provided to all postal employees and retirees;
- use postal specific demographic assumptions to calculate annual payments the Postal Service must make to make to cover its FERS and CSRS liabilities;
- comprehensively review existing mail service standards and performance;
- study the Postal Service's overall financial health to help improve postal operations and service; and
- revise and modernize current postal costing systems to leverage the more exacting data that can be derived from modern mail processing technologies.
As is true of any comprehensive measure, though, there are some elements that cause some concern among affected constituents. These undoubtedly will be examined more closely once the legislative process gets underway. On the whole, however, we believe this measure provides a reasonable place to start.
Undoubtedly, there will be other proposals advanced by those who offer alternative reform perspectives. Ultimately, it will only be possible to judge the fitness of any postal reform legislation once a final proposal is fashioned and ready to be considered by the Congress as a whole.
We look forward to working with all parties who share our genuine interest in ensuring the integrity and viability of a truly universal postal services system.
Forbes: Uber's push into local deliveries shouldn't threaten shipping companies like FedEx and UPS, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said. Ride hailing company Uber's aspirations of delivering meals, diapers and new sneakers are no secret. But FedEx and UPS shouldn't worry too much. "They're delivering something from Chicago to LA, that's not our game," Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick said on Wednesday at a conference in San Francisco hosted by business software company Salesforce. He explained that Uber's interest rests with local delivery. Competing with major shipping companies for long-distance logistics isn't in his sights.
Valley News: Many of us remember stories of the Pony Express carrying mail across rugged terrain before there were highways or railroads. Relay teams of horses and riders made the 1,800-mile journey and delivered letters in 10 days. The obstacles and dangers they overcame were legendary. The post office helped unite our country and bring reliable communication and mail service because of its willingness to take risks and its can-do attitude. What happened to diminish that spirit of adventure to the point where my local postmaster has decreed that it is too dangerous for postal carriers to drive up some driveways in Norwich and Wilder and deliver packages? Twenty-foot UPS and Federal Express trucks routinely drive up our driveways, drop off packages and then back out. Our friends driving vehicles similar to the ones used by postal carriers are able to safely and easily make three-point turns in my driveway. But U.S. Postal Service carriers driving station wagons and other passenger cars are not allowed to drive up my driveway unless they can fully turn around without using reverse. It is considered too dangerous. What is odd about this "safety" argument is that it is not a universal post office policy. I have been told by carriers and the postmistress that this rule was created locally for Norwich and Wilder. A mail carrier told me that in Hanover carriers are allowed to drive up driveways to deliver packages even if it requires a bit of backing up to turn around.
September 16, 2015
Federal Register: Postal Service NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act , 55661 [2015–23313] [TEXT]
MarketWatch: FedEx Inc. said late Tuesday it plans to hike its shipping rates at the start of 2016. Effective Jan. 4, the company said shipping rates for FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Home Delivery, and FedEx Freight will rise an average 4.9%. FedEx also said it was increasing the surcharge on packages that exceed maximum dimensions effective Nov. 2.
Wall Street Journal: The United Auto Workers union reached a tentative labor deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV that will eventually remove a controversial two-tier wage system that pays newer hires less than more-experienced co-workers doing the same jobs, according to people familiar with the agreement.
Wall Street Journal: FedEx Corp. on Wednesday trimmed its earnings outlook for its fiscal year amid weak demand in its freight segment and higher costs in its ground segment. The downbeat guidance followed weaker-than-expected profit for its August quarter.
Wall Street Journal: With the nation's unemployment rate at a seven-year low as holiday hiring begins to pick up, some retailers and logistics contractors are already struggling to find enough seasonal workers to keep their new facilities humming. Soon, United Parcel Service Inc., FedEx Corp. and smaller regional delivery firms will be facing the same problem. Employment agencies for retailers and logistics companies say they are having trouble finding warehouse workers to stock early holiday inventory and employees to train for work in fulfillment centers, where holiday orders will be packed and shipped.
Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers: Sometimes running the United States Postal Service (USPS) seems to be similar to the challenges that were faced by Civil War generals. At war with obsolescence and disruption, the USPS must protect certain flanks and attack new ground at the same time. Recently, the Postal Service has been protecting its mailbox monopoly and regulatory flanks while gaining new ground in the hyper-competitive shipping business. United Parcel Service (UPS) executive Keith Kellison was invited by the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) to write a blog post on "Delivery & Collection Ideas worth Exploring." Clearly Mr. Kellison touched a nerve with the USPS. But is his suggestion really that outrageous in a time when USPS officials have pushed hard for removal of price cap regulation, reduced oversight by an independent agency, and overruling the decisions by the PRC and the U.S. Court of Appeals that the exigent surcharge should be temporary? These are all examples of the USPS guarding its regulatory flank. Another effort by the USPS striving to be treated similar to a less-regulated private sector business is being played out before the PRC now. This one has to do with whether and how mail preparation rules changes that increase mailer costs will be regulated as subject to the price cap. Both the PRC and the U.S. Court of Appeals previously ordered that some rules changes force mailers to pay more and must be treated as tantamount to postage increases. The current proceeding at the PRC is to establish a clear standard as to when a rule change amounts to a stealth price increase and must be counted toward the price cap. Not surprisingly, the USPS is going for its definition of a brass ring: "The most reasonable approach is to apply the price cap only to changes in posted rates, a path that the court left open to the Commission."
Bloomberg: For almost a century now, the Stamford (Conn.) company has been in the business of postage meters, which look kind of like primitive fax machines with attached scales. Pitney Bowes also handles the sorting for the U.S. Postal Service, processing some 15 billion pieces of mail every year. The focus on snail mail is an obvious problem in the age of Snapchat, and Pitney Bowes knows it. There's no way to ignore the 27 percent drop in envelopes and catalogues sent by mail in the past decade. Not surprisingly, Pitney Bowes results have been steadily shrinking, and investors have been making a rather obvious bet against the future of mail; the stock has dropped by about 20 percent in the past 12 months.
GlobeNewswire: BCC Software, a leader in postal products and data marketing services, launched a new educational video series called "Data Points with Chris Lien." These videos, available at www.bccsoftware.com/data-points, share information about ways communications professionals can grow their business by taking advantage of the latest trends in direct marketing. The new videos, released the first and third Wednesday of every month, are each centered on a piece of data and supported by context to help viewers understand how those data points impact their business. For example, in the "Connecting High Touch to High Touch" installment, viewers are given insight into the world of multichannel marketing, where 38% of marketers ran campaigns with three channels in 2014. The video points out that direct mail receives a response rate of 4.26% and email receives a .12% response rate, then goes on to explore how combining the two allows marketers to achieve even greater results.
Fierce Government: The Postal Service needs to plan for a decline in transactional mail or face losing billions of dollars in revenue, according to a Sept. 9 USPS inspector general report. Transactional mail is made up of bills sent from companies to their customers. Many companies are trying to implement paperless billing, which could put the Postal Service in a tough financial position since transactional mail accounts for about $18.5 billion of its annual revenue, the report (pdf) says. The report was culled from a forum that IG set up with representatives of companies that send and process bills. Participants identified three drivers that are pushing companies to create digital billing and payment options: an effort to digitize the entire enterprise of billing, cost savings associated with digital communications replacing hard copy and meeting customer preferences for multiple billing and payment channel options. Even though the Postal Service continues to deliver almost 80 percent of all bills and statements, the tide is changing, the report says. If USPS wants to remain viable in the billing market, the report says it should consider taking steps to raise its value to both senders and recipients.
Phoenix Business Journal: You'd think stealing postage stamps isn't a large-scale enterprise. But a Los Angeles man turned it into the $1.1 million theft of several million stamps that included renting temporary office space and creating fake business replete with business cards, corporate letterhead and other documents.
ROMANIA: Romania-Insider: The Romanian Posts privatization failed again as the Belgian postal services operator bpost, which was the only investor that had shown interest in this process, didn't submit a binding offer for taking over a 51% stake in the company by September 15, when the deadline expired. The Romanian Post's privatization process will come under a new analysis, according to Romania's Ministry for Information Society.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Trinidad & Tobago Newsday: Managing Director of the TT Postal Corporation (TTPost) Reynold Baldeosingh yesterday called on Caribbean nations to work toward a regional mail system which will see delivery within two days once items enter the region.
NETHERLANDS: Dutch News: Postal company PostNL faces a fine of up to €2m for treating its competitors unfairly by charging them more for delivery. A court in Rotterdam has given PostNL one week to unify its charges or be fined €200,000 a day, up to a maximum of €2m. PostNL is responsible for 90% of the Dutch business delivery market and has a legal obligation to charge its competitors the same as ordinary business companies for bulk delivery. However, since January, the company has charged an additional 10 cents for delivering letters from Van Straaten Post and Intrapost. PostNL said the fact that the packages had two addresses – that of the destination customer and the postal company – made them more expensive to process.
CHINA: Business Wire: Cainiao, the logistics affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Limited BABA , and the United States Postal Service (USPS) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop new international shipping solutions and enhance the logistics-service experience for both sellers and buyers involved in cross-border e-commerce. Through the MOU, Cainiao and the USPS agreed to work together to speed delivery of merchandise sold through AliExpress to consumers in the United States. The USPS will also collaborate with Cainiao to help expand the latter's delivery networks worldwide, especially in South America.
KOREA: The Korea Herald: Postal CEOs from the Asia-Pacific region discussed their future role and cooperation at the first regional forum in Seoul on Tuesday, organizers said. The Korea Post said participants in the Asia-Pacific Post CEO Forum agreed that post offices should remain leading socially valuable organizations in the digital age today, as they have been for the past century. They also agreed that post offices should react proactively toward the international e-commerce market and seek collaboration with various government branches and private corporations.
ASIA-PACIFIC: Post & Parcel: The Asia Pacific Post Cooperative (APP) and the region's national postal service providers have announced the launch of the APP ePacket service, which is designed to meet the e-commerce shipping needs of the Asia Pacific market. In a statement issued yesterday (15 September), the APP commented: "With the launch of the APP ePacket, customers, especially e--merchants, industrial and corporate customers, will be offered an economical shipping solution with full regional coverage for sending items of up to 2 kg.
September 15, 2015
Attention PostalOne!® Users
PostalOne! Scheduled Maintenance –Mail.Dat submissions will not be available on Sunday, September 27, 2015 from 4:00 AM to 6:30 am CT due to scheduled maintenance.
The PostalOne! System via Business Customer Gateway will be available during this time.
The PostalOne! Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) will be unavailable on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm CT for scheduled maintenance.
Attention Business Customer Gateway Users:
Mailing Services/Shipping Services tab. Currently MMA sub links on Mailing Services/Shipping Services tabs are rolled up and displayed as a single link "Manage Mailing Activity." In the Thursday release: instead of the single Manage Mailing Activity link, suite of MMA sub links will be displayed: (a) Balance and Fees (b) Dashboard (c) Electronic Data Exchange (d) Mailing Reports (e) Manage Permits (f) Postal Wizard
Favorite Services Panel .
.Currently the Favorite Services defaults are: (a) Mailer ID (b) Manage Mailing Activity (c) Online Enrollment. After release the Favorite Services panel will default to the following services: (a) Dashboard (b) Mailer ID (c) Mailing Reports (d) Online Enrollment (e) Postal Wizard
User Favorite Services. Currently for MMA suite, user can have only "Manage Mailing Activity" link as a favorite selected. – Manage Mailing Activity. In the release: instead of the single Manage Mailing Activity link, suite of MMA sub links can be selected: (a) Balance and Frees (b) Dashboard (c) Electronic Data Exchange (d) Mailing Reports (e) Manage Permits (f) Postal Wizard. "Manage Mailing Activity" link that was saved as user's favorite, will be replaced by "Dashboard" link (it will affect all the users that have MMA saved as their favorite.
DMM Advisory: September DMM Update. Postal Explorer® (pe.usps.com) is your source for up-to-date mailing standards. The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) is fully searchable on Postal Explorer and features fly-out menus, cross-reference links, and an extensive subject index. Yesterday we updated our mailing standards to include the following changes:
Postage Evidencing Systems - Revised Procedures for Collection of Postage Discrepancies. We revised 604.4.0 to modify procedures for the collection of postage discrepancies for customers using Postage Evidencing Systems. We published this information in the July 23, 2015, Postal Bulletin.
Postal One! Helpdesk:
Attention Automated Business Reply Mail (ABRM) Tool Users: The ABRM tool's security certificate will be upgraded between September 15 and 19, 2015. An errof message will be displayed as users attempt to access the tool during this time frame. Please select Continue to this website to gain access to the ABRM tool.
Federal Business Opportunities: The U.S. Postal Service has posted a solicitation (Number: 5B-15-A-0004) to obtain 2015 peak season services for nine locations.
USPS Office of the Inspector General :
Global business-to-consumer e-commerce — valued at more than $1.2 trillion in 2013 — is expected to grow in the coming years at a faster pace than the U.S. domestic e-commerce market. However, American small businesses cannot always take full advantage of the surging market. Less than 1 percent of the 30 million American firms participate in cross-border sales, lower than many other industrialized countries. Cross-border sales can be expensive, convoluted, and time-consuming, and small firms also have fewer resources to handle this complexity. Small businesses are underserved by existing solutions providers. The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) convened a roundtable to discuss challenges small businesses face selling abroad and how the U.S. Postal Service can improve its services for them and in turn capture opportunities in this promising space. Roundtable speakers identified major challenges in global e-commerce centered on logistics, customs clearance, regulations, market visibility, security, and technology. Participants also observed that there is room for the Postal Service to expand its role. Currently, its international business accounts for just 1 percent of the Postal Service's total mail volume and its products are limited to traditional shipping services. Growth opportunities in global e-commerce are attracting new entrants with new solutions, making the market increasingly competitive. The landscape includes online marketplace platforms, specialized firms that bring together components of the e-commerce value chain through technology, and global logistics firms that integrate shipping, fulfillment, and freight-forwarding. However, these services tend to cater more to larger retailers rather than smaller merchants. Given the tremendous growth in e-commerce, changing market landscape, and increasing economic connectedness, how can the Postal Service capitalize on this opportunity? With a vast domestic and international reach and affordable prices, OIG roundtable participants suggested that the Postal Service could add value to its international shipping products to help meet the needs of small businesses. To do so, the Postal Service should first enhance existing services to address shortfalls in its international line: namely, by improving tracking and delivery time while giving senders the option to see and settle their customs duties and taxes upfront. Beyond improving existing services, the Postal Service could leverage its extensive delivery and retail network, as well as its first mile strength, to expand into up-stream e-commerce logistics within the boundaries of regulatory constraints. Services such as merchandise pick-up, collection, and transportation to the export point, could help existing e-commerce service providers increase the efficiency of the domestic component of international shipping. Roundtable participants asserted that a market demand exists for an affordable, end-to-end international e-commerce shipping experience for small merchants. In the future, partnerships could facilitate a more comprehensive e-commerce product to meet this need.
Save the Post Office: FCM Parcels are lightweight packages weighing 13 ounces or less, and they're typically used by individuals and small businesses to ship things like eBay purchases, clothing, small tech products, and so on. Larger single-pieces are usually sent Priority, and businesses that mail in bigger quantities use the commercial version of lightweight parcels, which costs less. Commercial lightweight parcels have already been transferred to the competitive list, and the Postal Service wanted to complete the transfer with the retail version. Classification cases like this are rather arcane and obscured by a lot of technicalities and legalities, and the PRC's decision on FCM Parcels (Docket No. MC2015-7) is no exception. But the FCM Parcels case is significant and deserves more attention than it's gotten. The case is likely to be cited as a precedent for future classification cases, and it involves fundamental issues about the core mission of the Postal Service and the scope of the postal monopoly.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh's postmaster has been charged with intimidating a subordinate in an effort to cover up his illegal opening of express mail packages, some of which contained drugs, at the East Liberty station over the past year, according to a criminal complaint made public today. Daniel P. Davis, 50, of Canonsburg, was charged by the Allegheny County district attorney's office with intimidation of witnesses or victims, criminal coercion and official impression. The charges relate to one of those employees, identified as Mavin Parker, the U.S. Postal Service's manager of customer service in Pittsburgh. Detectives wrote in an affidavit that Mr. Davis threatened several subordinates — telling one, Donna Clay, a customer service supervisor in the Hazelwood office, that he would kill her — who had become aware that he was opening express mail packages at locations throughout Allegheny County. Only the East Liberty station is mentioned in the paperwork released today as the site where Mr. Davis allegedly opened packages in violation of postal service regulations. Mr. Davis has been the subject of investigations by both the DA's office and the federal Office of Inspector General. It was unclear this morning whether Mr. Davis was in custody and whether there might be any federal charges pending.
KPHO: For more than a week, 18 homes on a dead-end street in Phoenix had not received any mail from the U.S. Postal Service. Nobody on the block was notified as to why their carrier stopped delivery, telling our crew it just happened all the sudden. "I realized after nine days that I wasn't getting any mail," Steve Grosvenor said. He's just one of the dozens of people who live in the 3000 block of East Avalon Street in Phoenix who have not gotten so much as a piece of junk mail over the last week. "I went to the post office to ask them why and they told me that we had been suspended because of a dog attack," Grosvenor said. Each neighbor we talked to said they were told differing versions of that story by postal service employees, but none of the neighbors could recall any dog attack happening on their street. Also, they said they were never notified of a dog attack nor of the suspension of their mail delivery.
Journal of Commerce: With e-commerce retail growing at more than 15 percent per year, and with the parcels moved by UPS and FedEx becoming lighter and bulkier as a result, a change in pricing for bulky packages was necessary to align shipping charges with the cost of delivery. With e-commerce retail growing at more than 15 percent per year, and with the parcels moved by UPS and FedEx becoming lighter and bulkier as a result, a change in pricing for bulky packages was necessary to align shipping charges with the cost of delivery.
NEW ZEALAND: ZDNet: NZ Post is banking on three new web services to expose parts of its technology to outside integration and drive its reinvention as an e-commerce enabler. Faced with perhaps terminally declining mail volumes, NZ Post is focusing on the booming e-commerce, parcel delivery and logistics markets through opening its legacy digital assets to outside users. A year-long effort has seen the delivery of three APIs, or application programming interfaces, that allow external users to integrate with its shipping, addressing and postal systems.
September 14, 2015
U.S. Court of Appeals, DC Circuit: The American Postal Workers Union has filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals concerning the change in mail delivery standards.
USPS Industry Alert: The September 14, 2015 issue of "Mail Spoken Here" is available on this site.
Postal Regulatory Commission:
Attention Business Customer Gateway Users: Update on SASP Upgrade: MicroStrategy reports and Full-Service ACS data distribution are delayed by 2 hours today, Monday, September 14, 2015. If you have any additional questions, please contact the PostalOne!® Help Desk at 800-522-9085.
Attention Business Customer Gateway Users: The upgrade to the Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) architecture is complete. Due to the outage for the migration data to the MicroStrategy reports and Full-Service ACS data distribution will be delayed by 6 hours on Monday, September 14, 2015. If you have any additional questions, please contact the PostalOne!® Help Desk at 800-522-9085.
Newspaper & Technology Magazine: Quad/Graphics Inc. inked a deal with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. for a $15.7 million tax credit, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal. The company will receive $3.14 million per year in tax credits over the next five years as long as it meets its projected job creation and retention and investment numbers, said WEDC. Quad/Graphics pledged to create upwards of 500 new jobs across its 14 Wisconsin plants. The deal also provides incentives for investments in new equipment if purchased from Wisconsin suppliers, Joel Quadracci, chairman, president and CEO of Quad/Tech, said. "The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is proud to assist Quad/Graphics as they strengthen their commitment to Wisconsin and add another 500 jobs," said Tricia Braun, WEDC deputy secretary and chief operating officer. "The company continues to outperform its projections and their choice to expand in Wisconsin is a testament to our strong workforce and the strength of our business climate."
The Hill: It's not like Congress hasn't seen this movie before. The Postal Service is swimming in red ink again, and the only thing that seems to increase faster than its debt is the level of dissatisfaction with its service. And yet again, the Postal Service's response is not to improve the service and reduce costs in its congressionally mandated monopoly business of last-mile delivery of first-class mail, but to set up a series of side businesses to try to cover the losses. If you have a monopoly on a business people used 155 billion times last year, that should be your core business and you should look to it for efficiencies. Instead, we get Metro Post, the service in big cities that delivers groceries to customers, and a proposal, now encapsulated in three different pieces of legislation, to deliver alcohol through the mail. Also, there's the deal to deliver packages for Amazon and the operation in New York City where postal workers load seafood from a local fish market for delivery to restaurants by 11 a.m., and even the wacky proposal by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to have the Postal Service enter the consumer loan market. People are less concerned with the Postal Service turning a profit than with receiving their mail reliably and on time. And that's not happening. A recent report suggests the number of letters arriving late has jumped by almost 50 percent since the start of the year, and that's with the Postal Service's new, more-relaxed on-time delivery standards. The Postal Service can deliver those fish in New York by 11 a.m., but it is unlikely to deliver any piece of mail to any address in one day anymore. But up to 15 percent of the mail that is supposed to arrive in two days now does not make it on time, and mail that is supposed to arrive in three to five days, now takes longer up to 44 percent of the time.
Post & Parcel: The Coalition of Services Industries (CSI) has released a study which claims to reveal a "security gap" caused by postal shipments into the US. The study, commissioned by CSI and authored by staff at Copenhagen Economics, claimed: "International postal operators, from the 10 countries surveyed, did not submit any advance electronic security data on packages flowing into the United States. In contrast, private express carriers submitted advance security information and did so for all packages shipped from those same countries to the US." Bruno Basalisco, Senior Economist at Copenhagen Economics, commented: "In 2014, at least 170m flats and small packages were shipped through postal operators worldwide into the U.S. and then to their final destination through the U.S. Postal Service. "Items worth over $200 are by U.S. law, subject to duty, and the number of package shipments will continue growing as the rise of e-commerce endures; yet our study found that none of the international postal shipments surveyed submitted any electronic data detailing the items being sent. The lack of intelligence about postal packages crossing over America's borders seems to represent a real security and public income protection risk." Peter Allgeier, President of CSI, added: "This lack of scrutiny is an open invitation to bad actors to send illegal goods into the US."
Globe Newswire: BCC Software, a leader in postal products and data marketing services, announced a partnership with Virtual Systems, an innovative provider of web-based print management software. The integration, announced at Graph Expo in Chicago, enables greater efficiency for customers using both BCC Software's Mail Manager product and Virtual Systems' hosted Midnight platform. BCC Software worked with Virtual Systems to create an automated workflow that leverages the Midnight API to pull information for use within BCC Mail Manager to prepare the job for mailing. BCC Mail Manager then populates mailing information back into Midnight, including postage totals and job status. This unique integration between the premier postal preparation option and the uniquely web-based print management tool saves time required to move job related information by eliminating manual entry and potential errors.
DVIDS: "Click-N-Ship is a service offered by the U.S. Postal Service on their website allowing customers to pay for postage online and print their shipping labels," said Capt. Simone Nealson, the human resources branch officer in charge for the 4th Sustainment Brigade during their deployment. "It offers greater convenience and access to services for all Soldiers to ship packages home and save 15% without the need for the machine used by postal Soldiers to charge for postage. This service requires internet connectivity to function." This means that when an outlying location has access to the internet, Soldiers can send items home for less. There is also a method that employs satellite communication for locations where the internet is less reliable.
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS: The BVI Beacon: Some 100 delegates from postal agencies and governments around the world gathered in the Virgin Islands this week to tackle issues ranging from security to transport to international co-operation during the 18th Caribbean Postal Union Conference.
IRELAND: Business Wire: -Following the launch this summer of Eircodes, the Republic of Ireland's new postal addressing system, an enhanced Eircode dataset has been released by the allmapdata team at Mapmechanics, including map coordinates for all addresses plus free boundary data for principal post towns. Mapmechanics is a leading specialist in UK and worldwide mapping, business and demographic data, business intelligence (BI) and geographic information systems (GIS). The allmapdata Eircodes dataset is ideal for any business delivering to homes or businesses in the Irish Republic, and for business intelligence activities, insurance premium calculation, rural service provision and mailing for marketing applications. Until this year the Republic of Ireland had no national postcodes. More than a third of all Irish addresses (up to 600,000) were duplicated, making it difficult to automate delivery scheduling or use address data in computer-based business planning and analysis or GIS. Individual seven-character Eircodes have now been allocated to all 2.2 million Irish addresses. A typical code looks like A65 F4E2. Each is unique to a single premise or flat in an apartment block, making them particularly accurate for delivery management and for very precise business analysis and planning. The allmapdata Eircodes dataset includes location information in both Irish National Grid reference and latitude and longitude. Addresses are included in both English and Irish, and the data Identifies the DED in which it lies, together with other details for each premise. The data therefore represents both a compelling aid to delivery scheduling and an effective analytical tool.
FINLAND: Reuters: The Finnish postal service has begun tests with drones to deliver online purchases. During the four-day test which started on Wednesday (September 2), the drones will be transporting parcels between mainland Helsinki and Suomenlinna, an island fortress some five kilometers from the city center. According to Posti Group, it is the first company in Europe to experiment with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for mail delivery in an urban area, with a flight path that is partially obstructed. During the tests, parcels that weigh no more than three kilograms will be flown to the island by the drone, while letters and other parcels will be delivered the usual way by boat.
EUROPE: Post & Parcel: Spring Global Mail has launched a new postal service for sending perfume from the UK to European destinations. The new service enable perfume to be send through either standard or priority post and Spring describes it as "an efficient and viable alternative to the current courier and express delivery services". The service applies to perfume with a maximum of 4 bottles of 150 ml per shipment. Spring said that the service "simplifies" sending perfume internationally by providing customers the support of a Spring Sales Executive who guides them through what needs to be done to get their perfume processed, packaged and distributed correctly. The service is a necessary one, Spring added, because perfume is classified as a "dangerous good" and its transportation is subject to some " very complex" rules and regulations.
September 13, 2015
Dead Tree Edition: The E-commerce Revolution is reverberating throughout the U.S. Postal Service, but not in the destructive manner of other digital disruptions like email, online news, and electronic bill payment. Largely, if not solely, because of online merchants, the agency's "Shipping and Package" revenue is growing at a 10%-plus annual rate – no doubt a surprise to the digerati who for years have been predicting that the USPS would wither away into obsolescence. One expert estimates Amazon now turns to the USPS to ship 40% of its U.S. sales, and that doesn't even include packages that are handled by FedEx and UPS and then turned over to the Postal Service for final delivery. The rapid growth and favorable prospects for such products as Priority Mail and Parcel Select are bringing about extensive changes to the agency's operations, plans, and even how it thinks about itself.
eCommerceBytes: Dimensional weight pricing, DIM weight pricing, which is now used by all of the "Big Three" shippers for some services, takes the length, width, and height of a package into account as well as the weight of the object inside. That means large but lightweight items cost more to ship. According to FedEx's online rate calculator, the cost to ship this box in this bra using FedEx Ground jumps from $10.73 to $13.88 when DIM weight pricing is taken into account. That's a 29 percent increase. How can sellers cope with the kinds of rate hikes they're confronted with under the new pricing structure?
eCommerceBytes: Before there was Amazon, before there was eBay and the Internet, before there were shopping malls, there were mail-order catalogs. Receiving a catalog in the mail was an event. It didn't matter if the recipient was a person living alone in an apartment or a family dwelling in a remote rural homestead, the delivery of a thick Sears Roebuck or Montgomery Ward catalog meant hours of "window shopping" while comfortably seated at the kitchen table or on the living room sofa.
JAPAN: Financial Times: The planned flotation of state-owned Japan Post, Japan's postal service, is no ordinary privatisation. It will be the biggest initial public offering in Japan for two decades, seeking to raise $11.5bn, and has been 10 years in the making, highlighting how the share sale is politically contentious in a country often seen as resistant to change. Japan Post Holdings, the parent company that traces its roots to the 1870s, and oversees Japan's mail and parcel delivery services, has evolved to become the country's largest bank and one of its leading life insurers. The bank and insurance divisions generate more than 80 per cent of the group's operating profits. The IPO has a three-way structure. Shares in the parent company, along with Japan Post Bank and Japan Post Insurance are scheduled to make their market debuts on November 4. Some of the money being raised through the IPO has been earmarked to finance rebuilding of parts of Japan devastated by the 2011 tsunami disaster. Below is an analysis of Japan Post by numbers.
NIGERIA: Sun News Online: The disquiet among workers of the Nigerian Postal Service over who succeeds the out-gone Postmaster General (PMG), Alhaji Mori Baba, has deepened. The office of the PMG be-came vacant last month when Alhaji Mori Baba retired after eight years in the saddle. It was gathered that the Federal Government is plan-ning to advertise the post of the PMG to the public. This intent has stirred up a storm of protest as staff of the organisa-tion have raised objection to this, insisting that the govern-ment should rather appoint a suitable candidate from among the senior directors of NIPOST to fill the vacant po-sition, to ensure continuity. According to the National President, Senior Staff As-sociation of Communication, Transport and Corporations, NIPOST Chapter, Mr Gabriel Imafidon, President Muw-hammadu Buhari was ill-ad-vised to approve that the posi-tion be advertised, and thrown open to all comers.
CAMEROON: Cameroon Concord: "Cameroon Postal Service Affair: Minister Atanga Nji heading to jail!!!!!"
IRELAND: eCommerceBytes: Asking a Dubliner the way to a nearby cafe can yield not only detailed directions, but also advice on site-seeing along with a small dose of politics, as I discovered last month. I was fearful of running late for my meeting with Karo of karoArt ceramics, a ceramicist who had agreed to share her story of becoming an online seller in Ireland's capital city. But the help from a stranger, delivered in an Irish brogue with a native Dubliner's twist, set the tone for a busy but relaxed week-long exploration of ecommerce in Ireland.
September 12, 2015
Industry Alert: USPS Plans for Pope Francis Visit to the U.S. From September 22 thru 27, 2015, Pope Francis will be making a series of stops in the United States. He will be visiting Washington DC on September 23 - 24 where he will meet with the President, conduct a mass, and speak to a joint session of Congress. On September 25, he will visit New York City where he will speak to the United Nations, conduct a service at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, and hold mass at Madison Square Garden. The Pope will conclude his visit in Philadelphia September 26 – 27 where he will conduct mass, visit Independence Hall, visit those attending the World Meeting of Families, and conduct a mass with those at the World Meeting. Where ever Pope Francis travels, he generates enormous crowds and these events are no exception. Security will be tight in all cases and could impact some postal operations. This alert is designed to share the impacts we have already identified.
For the Papal Visits to New York City and Washington DC:
The events will be limited, short in duration, and can be secured more easily. At this time, only minimal/limited delays to deliveries and collections in the immediate area of events are expected. If events change to identify more significant impacts, this information will be updated.
For the Papal Visit to Philadelphia:
The Philadelphia event has been declared a national security event (like a Super Bowl). In association with the Papal visit and related events in Philadelphia PA, a large section of the downtown area will be designated as a security perimeter from Sept 25 – 27. These security measures will restrict the ability of the USPS to conduct deliveries and retail operations in this area. In preparation for these impacts, the Eastern Area and Philadelphia Metropolitan District have already contacted many of their local customers to share the impacts. They have contacted media, posted signs, and will mail an EDDM piece to over 97,000 impacted customers. To assist with their efforts, we are notifying customers and industry members of the following impacts:
FAST appointment impacts:
This information will be updated if additional changes are identified or warranted. This information will also be available on the USPS Service Alerts page accessed through www.usps.gov or ribbs.usps.gov.
Daily Caller: U.S. Postal officials said Friday it was strictly "a business decision" when they opted to offer customers no new religiously themed holiday stamps in 2015, and not part of an effort to reduce religion's influence in the U.S. Postal Service's commemorative collection. Mark Saunders, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service issued the comment in a letter to yesterday's Daily Caller News Foundation report disclosing that the postal service will not be printing new religiously-oriented holiday stamps in 2015. Such stamps have been issued almost every year for more than half a century. Saunders said in the letter that postal officials decided to end the practice of printing new religious stamps every year for Christmas, Chanukah, the Muslim Ramadan holiday of EID and Kwanzaa. The special stamps will now only be offered every other year. Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2015/09/11/the-postal-services-war-on-religion-continues/#ixzz3lWvLvX7Y
Direct Marketing News: A 13% growth rate in packages is elevating the U.S. Postal Service's top line results, but is presenting it challenges in its Southern Area of operations. According to a report released by the USPS Office of the Inspector General, package deliveries per route in the region averaged 720 last year, 15% ahead of the national average and 8% higher than the next busiest region, Capital Metro. The Southern Area comprises Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. One outpost in Texas, the Spring Valley Station, averaged 978 package deliveries over its 27 city routes. The Southern Area and its VP of operations Jo Ann Feindt had implemented strategies to handle the heavy package burden, such as redesigning work spaces, maximizing vehicle capacity, and offering alternate delivery options for holiday. The OIG report, however, suggested more aggressive measures. Dedicated package routes, new shelving units in vehicles, and larger "next generation" mailboxes that can handle 70% of packages were among the methods suggested. The OIG's analysis of the Spring Valley Station package operation found that work hours—and in turn overtime pay—were greatly escalated by the high volumes. One route that averaged 34 package deliveries a day—twice the base volume—added 127 work hours per year at a cost of $8,795.
FedScoop: The U.S. Postal Service is keeping the mailbox door closed to private delivery services. After UPS executive Keith Kellison suggested the agency expand mailbox access to companies like his — in part to encourage technological advancements — Postal Service media relations manager David Partenheimer shot down the proposal. "The fact is that exclusive mailbox access isn't some kind of gratuitous privilege," said Partenheimer in a USPS blog post. "If delivery companies want to discuss stuffing your mailbox with their packages, then that discussion needs to start with why mailboxes are reserved for the Postal Service in the first place."
CANADA: LFPress: Canada Post has struggled mightily over the past three decades to adapt to fast-changing communications landscape. In 1981, the Internet as we know it today did not yet exist. In the intervening years, the corporation has radically altered and updated both its spectrum of services and its business model. It now compiles and sells lists and databases, offers direct mail and epost services, and is waist-deep into parcel shipping and logistics through companies such as Purolator (in which it owns a majority stake) and SCI Group. Traditional letter-mail delivery, however, still lies at the heart of the corporation's activity. Although Canada Post's mandate is to provide postal services to all Canadians, no matter where they live, the corporation has already shown that just how and where it does that is up for interpretation: theirs. In the current battle over the end of door-to-door delivery in Canada, Canada Post has behaved as if we're still in the 1950s, that it's still in a position of national dominance when it comes to the delivery of letter-mail and parcels. The arrogance and hubris with which it has responded to invitations for consultation — from everyone from politicians at city hall to community organizations — about placement of its community mailboxes is out of touch with current sensibilities about good corporate citizenship and the value of dialogue.
MALAYSIA: Bernama: Come 2020, the communications and multimedia ministry is working towards achieving a zero accident rate among postal and courier service company employees.
September 11, 2015
DMM Advisory: Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) Upgrade. Attention Business Customer Gateway Users: An upgrade to Seamless Acceptance and Service Performance (SASP) architecture will deploy this Sunday, September 13, 2015, between 6 AM and 2 PM CT. We are working to mitigate any potential impacts. However, if any issues arise we will keep you informed. If you have any additional questions, please contact the PostalOne! Help Desk at 800-522-9085.
Federal Register: Postal Service: RULES: Rules of Practice Before the Judicial Officer, 54722-54723 [2015-22881] [TEXT]
Postal Regulatory Commission: RM2015-20 Order No. 2703 - Order Holding Petition for Rulemaking in Abeyance.
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
Post&Parcel: Pitney Bowes has announced the global availability of its new AcceleJet printing and finishing system which – when combined with Pitney Bowes' customer engagement software, services and mail finishing equipment – will form the centrepiece of an end-to-end White Paper Factory Solution for mid-volume print and mail service providers.
DMNews: Robert Taub, Acting Chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, chats with Senior Editor Al Urbanski about the exigent surcharge, postal reform, and the future of the PRC.
LegitScript: When you're running an online pharmacy, there are a few things you have to take into account. First, you need a website, which means a server and domain name. You need a strong advertising or social media presence. You have to give your customer a way to pay you. And, you want repeat business, so you have to ship the medicines to your customers somehow. That's true for legal and illegal online pharmacies alike. Which leads to a logical question: what services do illegal online pharmacies use to get drugs to their customers? Our research indicates that the answer is: international posts, with the United States Postal Service making final delivery.
Coalition of Service Industries: On behalf of the Coalition of Services Industry (CSI), a leading trade association representing the American services economy, Copenhagen Economics has conducted a study, released today, that revealed a security gap in U.S. infrastructure related to packages that are inbound to the United States and that packages sent via Posts lacked any customs declarations. Copenhagen Economics was engaged by CSI to assess how international posts and private express carriers are complying with customs and advance electronic security data submissions for packages and large envelopes inbound to the U.S. The study was completed in the first half of 2015 and involved more than 200 shipments into the U.S. from 10 representative countries, which are key trading partners with the United States. Half of the sample was shipped via international postal operators (e.g. China Post, Canada Post) and half by express carriers (e.g. FedEx, UPS). Also see Post&Parcel.
UNITED KINGDOM: Business Insider: The giant UK government-owned postal service Royal Mail has placed a multi-million dollar bet on a Melbourne startup providing back-end management systems for e-commerce platforms.
NEW ZEALAND: Voxy: Rural Women New Zealand acknowledges the announcement from NZ Post (10 September 2015) that rural delivery services are changing from six to five days a week for some rural communities. After November, about six percent of NZ Post rural delivery customers will move from six to five day delivery (Monday to Friday) in some rural areas near Auckland, Wellington, Whanganui, Rotorua, Havelock, Oamaru, Dunedin and Invercargill.
September 10, 2015
Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 54599–54600 [2015–22818] [TEXT] [PDF] 54599 [2015–22819] [TEXT] [PDF] 54600 [2015–22820] [TEXT] [PDF] Postal Service NOTICES Product Changes: Priority Mail Express Negotiated Service Agreement , 54600 [2015–22721] [TEXT] [PDF] Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement , 54600 [2015–22718] [TEXT] [PDF]
The Daily Caller: "Is The Postal Service Declaring War On Religion? "Don't expect new Christmas stamps this year because for the first time in decades the U.S. Postal Service won't issue a new stamp depicting any Christian religious figure or symbol. No baby Jesus. No Mary. And none of the three wise men. Those of other faiths will be disappointed, too. There will be no printing of new stamps for the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, the African-American celebration of Kwanzaa or the Muslim Ramadan holiday of EID, the Daily Caller News Foundation has learned. Christians will have to settle for a new stamp series called "A Charlie Brown Christmas" — including Linus kneeling by a scrawny Christmas tree, Snoopy and children ice skating, Charlie Brown checking his mail box, Linus leaning on a snowy brick wall and Charlie Brown standing in front of Snoopy's doghouse. There will be one with Charlie Brown and a Christmas tree.
KVUE: Homeowners in a South Austin neighborhood as well as employees at the United States Postal Service are left scratching their heads after a group mailbox disappeared entirely. United States Postal Inspector Michael Sullivan said it's fairly common to see individual mailboxes damaged or destroyed. However he has never seen one disappear entirely.
Federal News Radio : Paola Piscioneri, Office of Inspector General, USPS The Internet of Things may change the way the Postal Service does business but not in the way it looks on the surface. The Internet of Things may take the Postal Service beyond technology like real-time package tracking. Paola Piscioneri, director of global and digital at the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Postal Service, tells In Depth with Francis Rose how the technology is already helping organizations like the postal service. Audio
JAPAN: Japan Times: Japan Post Group is targeting individual investors for at least 70 percent of its initial public offering on the assumption that the recent global market turmoil will not damp their appetite for stocks, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The postal and banking giant is seeking to sell more than ¥1 trillion ($8.3 billion) of shares to Japan's retail investors, the people said, asking not to be named because the information is confidential. The rest of the ¥1.5 trillion offering will target foreign and local institutional investors, the people said.
September 9, 2015
Attention PostalOne!® & BIDS Users: PostalOne!® & BIDS Releases 126.96.36.199 Production Deployment - PostalOne! & BIDS Releases 188.8.131.52 will deploy Sunday, September 20, 2015 between 4:00AM CT and 9:00AM CT. The PostalOne! system will be unavailable during the deployment time. Please note the following regarding the Mail.dat® client. (1) New Mail.dat® client download 184.108.40.206_PROD will be made available during this release. This download will be optional and users can continue to submit files using Mail.dat client Version 220.127.116.11_PROD. (2) Mail.dat® client download 18.104.22.168_PROD will continue to be supported. (3) Mail.dat® client download 22.214.171.124_PROD will expire and be unsupported on September 20, 2015. Release notes for PostalOne! Release 41.3.0 can be found on RIBBS at https://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_schedule2015/releaseoverview2015.cfm.
USPS Office of the Inspector General: Hotline Hot Tips -- "If you see something, say something." You've probably heard that directive piped through a train station or other public places, encouraging people to report suspicious activities. At the OIG, we make it easy to say something if you see something. We take tips about fraud, waste, and misconduct via our hotline that's as simple as completing an online form. In fact, that's the most direct way to contact us if you see a postal crime being committed, or a potential misuse of postal equipment, or a violation of rules by a postal employee or contractor. Just go to www.uspsoig.gov and click on the large red hotline box on the homepage.
Rep. Raul Grijalva: Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) is set to introduce legislation to prevent the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) from closing any post office or postal facility that serves a high-growth ZIP code – including the facility at Tucson/Cherry Bell – which is slated for closure in 2016, moving all Arizona postal sorting to a single center in Phoenix. Grijalva's bill would require USPS officials to work with the Department of Commerce – which conducts the U.S. Census and keeps annual demographic data – to ensure that no closure would negatively impact a "high growth" ZIP code, as defined by Commerce officials at the beginning of each year.
AUSTRALIA: Post & Parcel: Local sources have reported that postal workers rallied outside Australia Post's national headquarters in Melbourne today to voice their concerns over proposed price changes. The Communications Workers Union (CWU) has argued that the changes will lead to job losses, because they will "double the cost of some services and increase interstate postage times from four days to 11 days".
MALAYSIA: The Sun Daily: National postal company Pos Malaysia Bhd said the courier, express and parcel (CEP) business segment would remain as its main growth driver for the financial year ending March 31, 2016 (FY16). "We have seen the courier business being the main driver over the last year, growing by about 22% year-on-year," its covering group CEO Azlan Shahrim told reporters after its AGM here yesterday. "For the first quarter, we grew about the same amount. We are expecting the same trend to continue, so the courier business is a main growth area for Pos Malaysia going forward, a key growth platform for us," he added.
CANADA: CBC: The mayor of St. John's is trying to turn mail delivery in his city into a federal election issue, with letters to two federal party leaders that says his constituents are "adamantly opposed" to Canada Post's decision to eliminate home delivery. Dennis O'Keefe sent letters to NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. In the letters, O'Keefe states that the decision to eliminate door-to-door delivery has caused "consternation and anxiety" for many Canadians.
September 8, 2015
Roll Call: North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat whose seat could likely be a top target for national Republicans in 2018, will soon announce whether she will pursue a political path that could take a re-election campaign out of the picture. Evers since the state's Republican governor, Jack Dalrymple, announced he would not seek re-election next year, Heitkamp has been mulling a run. Speaking on her brother's radio show on Wednesday, Heitkamp said she would reveal her decision in the next five to seven days. (Heitkamp has been an active member on the Senate committee with postal legislative and oversight jurisdiction.)
AUSTRALIA: The Advertiser: Australia Post's slow, second-class letter service is set to get even slower, leaving letters between adelaide and melbourne stuck in the mail for a week. new, lower performance standards tabled by the government last month are at odds with the timetable promised by australia post. this means the national postal service will be under less pressure to deliver mail on time. the new timetable will deem regular interstate letters late only if they haven't been delivered four days after priority mail is due to arrive — one day more than has been publicly promised.
PHILIPPINES: ABS-CBN News: candidates in the 2016 elections can utilize the Unaddressed Mail Service (UMS) of the Philippine Postal Corp. (PHLPost) to "advertise" themselves to the public. Under the UMS, a sub-product of PHLPost's Direct Mail Service (DMS), candidates can select the area where documents bearing information about them will be distributed. The rate is P5 for every 50 grams. PHLPost assistant postmaster general for marketing Luis Carlos said the sender does not need to indicate the name of the addressee, but only the area, such as the subdivision, where the campaign materials will be delivered. "There is no need to hire people to distribute campaign materials and advertisements… the postman… can do it for them even on a daily basis… PHLPost can also provide the list of number of households of a target group, upon request," Carlos said.
September 7, 2015
USPS Office of the Inspector General:
Background. City delivery office operations cover all duties a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier performs in the office. These duties include casing mail (placing mail in delivery order), preparing parcels for delivery, and retrieving accountable items. City carriers are delivering more packages and fewer letters to more addresses each year. To accommodate these changes, the Postal Service must deliver the increased package volume while maintaining efficiency. In 2014, Sierra Coastal District city carriers delivered over 2.1 billion mailpieces on 2,711 routes to more than 1.8 million delivery points. City delivery office workhours totaled 1,104,368 for this period. Our objective was to assess the office efficiency of city delivery operations in the Sierra Coastal District.
What The OIG Found. The Sierra Coastal District has opportunities to enhance efficiency in city delivery office operations. We found the Sierra Coastal District's percent to standard, a measurement used to assess office efficiency, was 117.85 percent, 12.76 percentage points above the national average of 105.09 percent. A percent to standard score greater than 100 percent indicates performance is less than the desired standard. In 2014, 46 of the Sierra Coastal District's 99 delivery units (46 percent) used 172,601 more office workhours or about 16 more minutes of office time per day per city carrier route than necessary. We estimate these additional workhours cost over $7.4 million in 2014. These conditions occurred because mail sometimes arrived late and the mail mix was sometimes incorrect, or some carriers engaged in time wasting practices. Also, integrated operating plans (establishes appropriate staffing levels and carrier reporting times) were non-existent or unsigned. Finally, managers did not always enforce policies and procedures. Eliminating the extra workhours would increase overall efficiency at the delivery units and allow a onetime cost avoidance of about $7.7 million in the following year. We also identified inadequate safeguards over cash, money orders, and stamp stock valued at $170,690 at seven delivery units. Management immediately initiated corrective action on these matters; therefore, we are not making a recommendation on this issue.
What The OIG Recommended. We recommended the district manager, Sierra Coastal District, eliminate 172,601 workhours at the delivery units. We also recommended management prepare up-to-date integrated operating plans, eliminate inefficient office practices, and ensure adherence to Postal Service supervisor policies and procedures.
Federal News Radio: Congress returns from August recess on Sept. 8 and the clock is ticking. With 30 calendar days —just 12 of them working — before the end of the fiscal year, Congress needs to decide what to do on pressing issues ranging from appropriation bills to transportation projects, and make time for the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and a visit from Pope Francis. Members, stakeholders and government analysts understand it's a short month with a full agenda. "Kick the can down the road" is a phrase many have used in reference to funding 2016, but some members also are looking to put a stop to lingering issues such as transportation funding and the fate of the Postal Service. In early August, the service announced a $586 million net loss in the third quarter of 2015. Rep. Gerry Connolly said that "there finally appears to be a consensus on the committee that the only way truly comprehensive and lasting postal reform can advance through the 114th Congress is if there is broad, bipartisan support among members that represent diverse districts ranging from sparse rural communities to dense urban centers to hybrid suburban areas. While it is far from guaranteed that we will be successful . . . bipartisan engagement indicates that the House majority is ready. [The ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs,] Sen. Thomas Carper, said he also was committed to bipartisan work during this session to give the Postal Service "the tools it needs to survive and prosper in the years to come." "Over the past several months, we have held a number of briefings and round tables to provide members and the public an opportunity to better understand the challenges facing the Postal Service and help begin the process of addressing reform this Congress," he said.
LUXEMBOURG: Luxemburger Wort: Luxembourg's postal service delivered more than 4,000 parcels to households in the Grand Duchy on Sunday, many of them containing school items. Normally, Luxembourg's postal service delivers packages Monday through to Saturday. It will operate a Sunday delivery exceptionally to all addresses in the Grand Duchy on September 13, 20 and 27.
JAPAN: Financial Times: The art of letter writing may be fading, but postal services are surprisingly healthy. The internet is to blame and thank in equal part: as snail mail gives way to email, parcel delivery rises, spurred by internet retail. The International Post Corporation says that revenues across 45 operators worldwide grew 3 per cent in 2014. Asia Pacific led the way, with revenue up nearly 4 per cent.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Gulf News: The future of the postal sector is no longer at risk as some would think in this part of the region. Stamps and letters are just a small segment of their overall billion dollar business in other countries, said experts. This is why postal stakeholders representing different Arab countries came together at a two-day conference in Dubai on Monday to discuss how to continue improving and reinventing the postal network to provide solutions to the world. The postal world is genius, active and strong, Bishar Hussain, Universal Postal Union (UPU) director-general, told the press during the Arab Regional Conference. "The post office in many countries around the world has become so advanced that it has become an important part of people's lives. From being involved in e-commerce to providing financial services, banking, and all types of deliveries, the post office has become like a supermarket for many people. Most of their transactions are done through the post office," said Hussain.
UNITED KINGDOM: Independent: Criminal gangs have infiltrated postal delivery services across the country to intercept secretly marked packages of drugs to divert into the £200m-a-year market in bootlegged medicines, according to officials. Millions of pounds of knock-off pills have been seized in raids on black-market dispensaries that revealed the role of corrupt postal workers in hoarding imported drugs for criminal wholesalers, according to investigators. Subcontracted drivers working for Parcelforce – the parcel delivery arm of the Royal Mail – are under investigation after delivery vans were suspected to have stopped outside addresses without dropping off packages, said officials at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The drivers are understood to have identified packages as carrying illicit drugs from their distinctive packaging – or because they were addressed to recognised false names. Signatures from the "recipients" are forged. The packages are then passed on to middlemen conducting increasingly sophisticated warehouse operations to send the drugs – such as abortion kits, Viagra-style tablets and hair-loss treatments – to European and North American buyers. Six people have been arrested as part of the investigation.
NEW ZEALAND: Radio New Zealand: A proposal for 10 local authorities to move to online voting at next year's elections is seriously flawed, an IT expert says. Five councils have already signed up to the trial, with a further five, including Christchurch, Wellington and Hamilton, yet to decide. Local body elections are currently carried out via postal voting. Local Government New Zealand, which proposed the trial, said online voting would future-proof elections from the eventual demise of postal services. IT expert, Stephen Judd, said there were numerous examples overseas of online voting systems being hacked. Last year, an Australian parliamentary inquiry found there was no way to introduce online voting without "catastrophically compromising our electoral integrity."
UNITED KINGDOM: Telegraph: Royal Mail is continuing to hedge against a decline in its traditional business of delivering letters by investing in an e-commerce start-up. The postal delivery service has bought a stake in Market Engine, an Austalian technology company that allows businesses to build online shop fronts on marketplaces such as Alibaba-owned Tmall and its rival JD.com. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Royal Mail said the size of the stake was "not material" in the context of its group as a whole. The investment in Market Engine is Royal Mail's latest step to build its digital capabilities as demand for its traditional services continues to wane. The company is trying to capitalise on the online shopping market, where the UK is a leading force - internet retail sales are expected to grow by 16pc to £52.25bn this year.
NIGERIA: Pulse: A recent study has revealed that the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) with its resources will greatly aid in providing the missing link between e-Commerce platforms in the country and their customers. The study, which was conducted by Apex Insight and called European Parcel Shop and Locket Networks Market Insight Report 2015, revealed that parcel shops and locker networks are gradually becoming an essential part of the logistics involved in getting internet purchases into the hands of customers. Back in May, one of Nigeria's leading e-Commerce platforms, Konga, had signed a MoU with NIPOST for delivery of purchased items to customers within the University of Lagos. The Lagos Mainland Territory (LMT) division of NIPOST having opened a parcel shop on the UNILAG campus will open its doors to e-Commerce platforms, starting with Konga, for said platforms to leverage and improve on their business whilst also boosting NIPOST's services.
RUSSIA: Bloomberg: VTB Bank reached agreement with Russia's government on plans to provide financial services from post offices, in a bid to create the country's largest bank network. VTB, the country's second-largest lender after PJSC Sberbank, plans to open 15,000 branches in Russian post offices over the next three years, Chief Executive Officer Andrey Kostin said Monday at a joint press conference in Moscow. Sberbank has about 16,560 sites. "We plan on entering a more mass segment with Postal Bank," Kostin said, adding it will be low-margin business. "This includes servicing pensioners and people in areas that don't have access to banking services." (See also Reuters.)
INDIA: WebIndia123: The mega project to make the countrys postal Services green and restore their old glory has been delayed, bringing pressure on the Government to expedite the process of IT induction in the massive network of 1,55,000 post offices. There are major challenges faced by the Department, including the time-consuming nature of public procurement of process, selected vendors not taking up the allocated work leading to major delays, telecom connectivity issues in areas like the North-East, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Ladakh and island territories and on top of that managing the workforce of 4.66 lakh employees which have no prior experience of working in an IT-enabled environment.
September 6, 2015
Mobile Marketing Watch: Smartphone ownership has never been greater in the United States. That's one of the key takeaways in the latest report from comScore. A leading provider of digital media analytics, comScore has just released fresh data from its MobiLens and Mobile Metrix, which highlights key trends in the U.S. smartphone industry — in this case for July 2015. All told, Apple ranked as the top smartphone manufacturer with 44.2 percent OEM market share. Once again, Android led as the #1 smartphone platform (with 51.4 percent platform market share). But when it comes to smartphone ownership, that's one stat truly worth noting. "191.4 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones (77.1 percent mobile market penetration) during the three months ending in July," the report summary from comScore reads.
The Wall Street Journal: Public pension funds from California to New York are cutting investment-return predictions to their lowest levels since the 1980s, a shift that portends greater hardships for employees and cash-strapped governments as Americans age.
Newsday: For consumers, navigating the often unwieldy process of returning online purchases can be an arduous task. In fact, only 62 percent of consumers said they were satisfied with the online returns process, according to a recent UPS "Pulse of the Online Shopper" study, released by UPS and comScore Inc.
ITALY: Financial Times: Italy is on track to list 40 per cent of the national post office in late October or early November, according to its chief executive Francesco Caio, despite international market volatility and a growing outcry at home about the partial privatisation. Poste Italiane is a 153-year old national behemoth, with €28.5bn in annual revenues, €420bn in postal savings deposits, 145,000 employees and a business that straddles logistics, savings and insurance.
September 5, 2015
USPS Office of the Inspector General: Management Advisory - Benchmarking of Delivery Fleet Replacement Strategies The U.S. Postal Service operates one of the largest vehicle fleets in the U.S., with almost 190,000 vehicles used for collecting and delivering mail. The Postal Service recently developed a plan to replace the vast majority of this fleet over 12 years, beginning in fiscal year 2015. Fleet replacement is not a challenge unique to the Postal Service, as many foreign postal operators (foreign posts) are acquiring vehicles to modernize their delivery fleets. Our objective was to identify foreign posts' best practices for delivery fleet replacement strategies that could help the Postal Service develop and acquire the next generation of collection and delivery vehicles.
Federal Register: Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 53904 [2015–22505] [TEXT] 53903–53904 [2015–22506] [TEXT]
USPS Industry Alert: USPS Shipping Products and Services Webinar Series Beginning September 8, 2015 11 am EDT – Return Receipt In an ongoing effort to meet the needs of our customers, the Postal Service is continuing to host a series of informational webinars on a variety of products and services. The webinars will focus on service enhancements, features, benefits, how to get started, and onboarding information to acquire the knowledge and skills to effectively use these products and services. The webinars will be held starting Tuesday, September 8, 2015 from 11am to 12:00 pm (EDT).
Return Receipt Return Receipt ̶ Want to know who signed for your mail? Join this webinar to find out more about Return Receipt service, and the new barcode feature for Return Receipts linking to the host extra service. Get evidence of delivery in an electronic or hardcopy delivery record showing the recipient's signature. Also learn the advantages of electronic versus hardcopy Return Receipt. Speaker: Alia Mcphail, Product Development Specialist Dial-in: (866) 381-9870 Conference ID: 29668338 Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?MTID=e8d6cdd2f06e49eea6e52b67546adaedf
Washingtonian: Before Rin Tin Tin, Sergeant Stubby, Lassie and Checkers, there was Owney the dog. During the late 19th century, this terrier-mix was the most famous dog in America, if not the world. As the Railway Mail Service's mascot, he rode the rails delivering smiles and mail across the country. In 1895, he became a seafaring dog, venturing across the ocean to other continents. At every location, from Albany to China, he was met with adorning fans and tags memorializing his visit. Owney carried so many heavy tags around his neck that Postmaster General John Wanamaker made him a special harness to display his "trophies." Today, one can still see Owney proudly showing off his tags forever preserved at the National Postal Museum next to Union Station.
IRELAND: Irish Times: Marty Coyne, now a quadriplegic, is one of the Cleggan residents campaigning to reopen the village post office. The facility, located in Cleggan's only shop, closed last Friday after the tenancy of the premises changed hands. A notice from An Post informed customers that they could transfer their Social Protection payments to Claddaghduff, 3km away. Cleggan's post office was downgraded several years ago to a postal agency, which only processes payments from the Department of Social Protection. But locals say people depended on it. "A couple of miles means a lot to the likes of people here," says Noirín Higgins, owner of Oliver's pub and restaurant. Pensioners and others with disabilities will struggle to travel to Clifden and Claddaghduff to pick up their benefits, she adds.
September 4, 2015
PostCom Members !! The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is now available online. 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. See what you've been missing.
Postal Regulatory Commission:
The Hill: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is locked in a bitter labor dispute with hundreds of thousands of postal workers for a third consecutive month as Labor Day weekend approaches. The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) — which represents more than 200,000 behind-the-scenes postal workers, like counter clerks and those who sort mail — is demanding longer hours. The postal workers say keeping post offices open longer would not only provide them with more jobs, but also reduce mail delays and give customers better service. This comes as the Postal Service cuts back hours because of budgetary constraints. The Postal Service's contract with the APWU expired in late May, but the employees continue to work on the old contract.
The Wall Street Journal: When the world's largest publishers struck e-book distribution deals with Amazon.com Inc. over the past several months, they seemed to get what they wanted: the right to set the prices of their titles and avoid the steep discounts the online retail giant often applies. But in the early going, that strategy doesn't appear to be paying off. Three big publishers that signed new pacts with Amazon— Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group, News Corp's HarperCollins Publishers and CBS Corp.'s Simon & Schuster—reported declining e-book revenue in their latest reporting periods. "The new business model for e-books is having a significant impact on what [the big] publishers report," said one publishing executive. "There's no question that publishers' net receipts have gone down."
Newport News Times: Pressured by angry constituents, the city council on Monday demanded answers from U.S. Postal Service authorities about the shake-up in local mail delivery affecting hundreds of boxholders. "I know of one person that is not receiving any mail whatsoever," asserted Councilor Joe Fisher-Brown, who blasted the plan by a new postmaster to end free delivery as Depoe Bay residents have grown to know it.
Salt Lake Tribune: Three mail trucks have been burglarized in Salt Lake County since July by thieves who also are suspected of stealing out of mailboxes and from businesses, West Valley City police say. An informant told police that the three suspected burglars commit property crimes on a daily basis to support their drug habits. The mail trucks were burglarized in Taylorsville, Cottonwood Heights and Millcreek while the postal carriers were away from the vehicles, delivering mail, according to the affidavit. When they returned to the truck, a window was shattered and large amounts of mail and parcels had been stolen.
Linn's: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the only 2016 presidential candidate to address postal issues in his campaign, has been acting without public attention on another important postal issue. The Vermont senator single handily has forced the United States Postal Service board of governors out of business, two individuals familiar with the issue have told Linn's. By placing holds on President Barack Obama's appointments to the board during the past two years, Sanders has allowed the board to shrink to what will be a single presidential appointee as of Dec. 9. Former congressman James Bilbray of Las Vegas then seems certain to become the only presidential nominee on a board that is supposed to have nine presidential appointees. Unless the Senate suddenly gets troubled by the prospect of one of the largest federal agencies lacking a supervisory board, Bilbray seems certain to be the only White House appointee in the postal boardroom. The terms of the two other sitting presidential appointees — Louis J. Giuliano of Virginia and Ellen C. Williams of Kentucky — expire on Dec. 8. The board has been paralyzed for months. The president submitted the names of the five nominees again this year — James C. Miller III of Virginia, Stephen Crawford of Maryland, Mickey Barnett of New Mexico, D. Michael Bennett of Washington, D.C., and David S. Shapira of Pennsylvania — but they are once again stalled in the Senate. Victoria Kennedy, widow the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., was one of President Obama's five nominees to the board in 2014. However, after the nominations were blocked in 2014, she decided not to try a second time for the board.
WRIC: After a year and a half of letters, phone calls, and emails back and forth with the U.S. Postal Service, Jennings lost package claim has finally been paid. Jennings insured it and saved all his receipts, but got nothing but the run around from the USPS. One phone call from 8News and a week later the reimbursement check was in the mail.
WFTV: Orange County residents who said they've been dealing with serious mail problems for at least two years, and they all blamed a single letter carrier.
JAMAICA: Jamaica Observer: Courier problems halted the processing of mail destined for the UK, Europe and beyond for nearly two months — a situation which angered at least one type of exporter — online traders. Since August 25, Jamaica Post lifted the suspension of Express Mail Service to the UK, but a backlog continues. The Post and Telecommunication Department (Jamaica Post) recently launched its new rapid 24-hour inland service called Zipmail. But the delay shows the fragility of the international side of the postal service; especially in an era of increased parcel exports fuelled in part by online commerce. The volume of letters handled by Jamaica Post unsurprisingly declined over the last five years from 67 million in 2010 to 45.7 million in 2014. However, the volume of parcels handled increased from 86,000 in 2010 to 97,000 in 2014, while the volume of packages and express mail (faster methods) increased from 113,000 to 119,000 over the same period. Despite the parcel growth, Jamaica Post recorded a $408-million deficit for the 2014 fiscal year on some $1.5 billion in revenues, compared with a deficit of $355 million the previous year. The Post and Telecommunications Department said it "regrets" the inconvenience and that the department continues to negotiate, advocate and pursue alternative options for mail delivery.
SINGAPORE: The Motley Fool Singapore: When the name Singapore Post Limited is mentioned, the likely image in a Singaporean's mind would be the traditional snail mail that is delivered daily to our mailboxes. Singpost's mail business is made out of four major pieces: Domestic Mail; International Mail, Hybrid Mail; and Philatelic. Over the past five fiscal years, revenue from the mail segment has increased from $386 million to $501 million. The bulk of the revenue came from the Domestic Mail and International Mail sub-segments for the period under study. In particular, it has been International Mail that has driven most of the top-line growth for the segment. But as the above was happening, Singpost was also struggling with declining traditional mail volumes. Overall, Singpost appears to be holding its ground for its mail business at the moment. But, the challenge of managing costs while mail volumes decrease would be something to keep an eye on.
ZIMBABWE: TechZim: From the latest Potraz telecommunications sector report, Zimpost remains a player in statistics that continue to puzzle. Zimpost's remittance service, Zipcash moved over $733 million in transfers in the first quarter of 2015 alone. From the perspective of the average urbanite millennial, it's surprising that Zipcash, let alone Zimpost even exists. Times are different from the days when the only remittance service was registered mail or the bus driver. The introduction of mobile money, higher mobile penetration rates and new modern forms of communication has virtually rendered postal services useless.
LITHUANIA: The Baltic Course: During the first six months of the year 2015, a state-run joint stock company Lithuania Post has earned more than half a million euros net profits according to unaudited data. Company's sales revenue reached 32.7 million euros and increased almost by 15.9% compared with the same period last year, reported BC port's press service. "Lithuania Post's net profits have decreased by 0.2 million euros, regarding increase in expenses, compared with last year. The main reason is ~0.8 million euros spent because of the increase in salaries of the lowest-paid profession employees.
September 3, 2015
PostCom Members !! The latest issue of the PostCom Postal Executive Update is now available online.
Federal Register : Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 53353 [2015–21787] [TEXT]
Roll Call: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that funding the government is the top challenge facing him when he returns to the Capitol next week. The Kentucky Republican said he would work with the White House to come up with budget levels to keep the government open past Sept. 30.
Politico: Our political discourse is shrinking to fit our smartphone screens. Twice before in the last hundred years a new medium has transformed elections. In the 1920s, radio disembodied candidates, reducing them to voices. In the 1960s, television gave candidates their bodies back, at least in two dimensions. With its jumpy cuts and pitiless close-ups, TV placed a stress on sound bites, good teeth and an easy manner. Image became everything. Today, with the public looking to smartphones for news and entertainment, we seem to be at the start of the third big technological makeover of modern electioneering. The presidential campaign is becoming just another social-media stream, its swift and shallow current intertwining with all the other streams that flow through people's devices. This shift is changing the way politicians communicate with voters, altering the tone and content of political speech. But it's doing more than that. It's changing what the country wants and expects from its would-be leaders.
Wall Street Journal: U.S. worker productivity grew much more than initially thought in the second quarter, reflecting a bounce back in economic activity following a slow start to 2015. The productivity of nonfarm workers, measured as the output of goods and services per hour worked, increased at a 3.3% seasonally adjusted annual rate from April through June, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That was the strongest pace since the fourth quarter of 2013, and followed two consecutive quarterly declines. From a year earlier, however, productivity was up just 0.7%, and has been lackluster during the six-year expansion.
Virtual-Strategy.com: PhysicalAddress.com is a USPS-certified Commercial Mail Receiving Agency that gives postal mail a digital life. Every user who signs up with PhysicalAddress.com can select a unique address. Starting at $9 a month, PhysicalAddress.com will scan and upload envelopes and packages to a users' virtual mailbox. Users may then choose to shred, store, scan, trash, block, filter and download copies of mail from inside the Virtualized Mail application. PhysicalAddress.com offers mail forwarding, allowing users to forward mail wherever they choose.
WBNS: "Columbus Postal Worker Accused Of Hoarding More Than 13,000 Pieces Of Mail"
Martha's Vineyard Times: With some regularity, The Times receives telephone calls and emails from patrons of the Edgartown Post Office, asking that we report on the poor service they receive. Last week, a woman called and said she waited almost one half-hour in line expecting to pick up a package that should have been there, but she was told when she finally made it to the window that the package could not be found. A postal employee who was not identified [said] that post office boxholders are served first "because they are paying customers. General delivery is handled after that, and is done for free as a courtesy by the Edgartown Post Office."
eCommerceBytes: The USPS should consider adding functionality to its USPS Mobile app that would allow customers to pay for postal services through the app, according to the Office of Inspector General (OIG). And it should consider creating a new app to allow customers to order money orders through their mobile devices. These and other recommendations were published in a white paper recently released by the OIG. Mobile apps present opportunities for the US Postal Service to attract more customers, generate additional revenue, and improve customer service, the OIG said, and it came up with 10 ideas with the help of a digital-mobile strategy expert and a marketing analysis firm - 5 suggestions for enhancing the existing USPS Mobile app (released in 2009), and 5 suggestions for new standalone apps from the Postal Service. Some appear obvious, such as adding account management to USPS Mobile - customers could store information such as frequently used addresses and post offices, delivery preferences, and payment details, for example. Also a sure-to-please addition: "allowing package recipients to receive alerts automatically when a package is sent to them, giving options to arrange a pickup time at a post office, offering expedited delivery service for an additional fee, or changing the delivery destination." The OIG also suggested that the USPS add payments capability to its current mobile app.
FINLAND: Aviation Today: Finland's mail service, Posti, launched a four-day experiment starting Sept. 2 to test an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) in the delivery of e-commerce. In the experiment, Posti will be testing a robotic helicopter in delivery and transport tasks for the first time in Finland, and for the first time in Europe in an inhabited urban environment. The robotic helicopter will fly in Helsinki, between the mainland and the island of Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The robotic helicopter will carry parcels to Suomenlinna. The flight distance, on average, between the mainland and Suomenlinna is approximately 4 km. This experiment only includes parcels of suitable dimensions. All other mail, such as letters and publications, will be delivered by boat as usual. "New technologies make online shopping quicker and easier for both senders and recipients. We want to experiment with different delivery options which are feasible in Finland and increase the customers' freedom of choice," says Jukka Rosenberg, senior vice president of the parcel and logistics services at Posti.
September 2, 2015
USPS Office of the Inspector General: The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) is conducting a review of political mail. The objective of this review is to evaluate existing political mail strategies and identify opportunities for the Postal Service to grow political mail. The OIG established an Audit Asks web site to provide an opportunity for our stakeholders to comment on our projects. Web site visitors can register comments and upload documents related to our project at https://www.uspsoig.gov/audit-asks/how-can-political-mail-be-more-effective. We will consider and use this information as appropriate during the course of our work. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact me at 636-345-9722 or Chad Stroup, Auditor-In-Charge, at 312-601-3918.
Union Bulletin: Snail mail, while not as popular or crucial at it once was, nevertheless serves an important purpose. Congress needs to take action to ensure the U.S. Postal Service can operate efficiently. Yet, that's not happening as federal mail service is floundering as a quasi-governmental agency. It is expected to operate just like a private for-profit business while also having to follow various government regulations — and restrictions — imposed by Congress. Given that, it's no wonder the Postal Service is doing a lousy job serving its customers.
Yahoo! Finance: Amazon Prime members may end up getting less out of the $99 per year service, depending on where they live. Most people end up getting Prime because they get free two day shipping on so many items. However, some members will now be limited with regards to what "Prime" items they will get in two days. Amazon is testing a program called "Ship By Region". Under this, select vendors get to decide where they are willing to ship items to in two days. Customers who have Prime, but are outside the region sellers are willing to send their goods to with two day shipping will have to wait longer.
NIGERIA: Vanguard: SInce the advent of Information and communications Technology, ICT, the impact on the Nigerian Postal Services Nipost, has not been favourable as the fortunes has continued to nosedive, as a result of huge apathy from the customers towards post services. Apart from the need for a total revamping of the Post occasioned by this development, experts have shared the view on the need for the establishment of a National Postal Commission (NPC) to engender proper regulation of the industry and at the same time check the excesses of the independent courier companies operating in the country.
INDIA: Livemint: More and more e-commerce companies are looking to make use of India Post's wide network across the country in order to increase their rural reach. The latest to join the list is Bangalore-based mVikarsha Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd which has signed a so-called memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Tamil Nadu circle of India Post to provide assisted e-commerce solutions through head post offices and sub-post offices. E-commerce companies, including Flipkart.com, Myntra, Snapdal.com and Amazon.in, already have tie-ups with India Post to provide distribution and cash-on-delivery services. The postal department has an e-commerce and parcel processing centre in Parel, Mumbai, with a capacity to handle 30,000 parcels per day.
KOREA: Korea Times: Korea Post, the state-run postal service operator, said Wednesday it will work with eBay Korea to help local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to run businesses abroad. The company said it will launch an online export support program called "eBay for Business" jointly with the global e-commerce firm from September to April, and encouraged the active participation of local SMEs.
BELGIUM: CEP News: bpost wants to replace all mailboxes in the country with new secured boxes. Last week, the Belgian postal operator announced that 14,000 mailboxes across the country are to be replaced. The new boxes will make it impossible for thieves to snag mail items out of these boxes or get access by a master key.
September 1, 2015
USPS Office of the Inspector General :
Federal Register :
Postal Regulatory Commission:
Direct Marketing News: After the Postal Regulatory Commission gave the U.S. Postal Service nearly everything it asked for in an appeal on the scope of the exigent surcharge, USPS has gone back to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to ask for more. In Order No. 2623 filed on July 29, the PRC answered a court mandate to reassess the cost of the Great Recession by essentially checking off the Postal Service's wish list. It threw out the controversial "count once" rule in accounting the deficit that brought exigency into play, extending the amount that could be collected via the surcharge by $1.2 billion to $3.96 billion. The wish PRC didn't grant, and that the Circuit Court's original opinion also declined, was establishing the 4.3% exigent rate increase as part of the Postal Service's base rate. The new appeal, which simply asks the court to review Order No. 2623, is clearly a move by USPS to keep exigency in play. As the situation now stands, it will be phased out next spring, most likely in April. "I can only make a conjecture that [USPS managers] figure that postal reform may or may not occur before exigency is pulled out, so maybe the best way to keep it going is to send it back to the court that took six months to make the first decision," says Gene Del Polito, president of the Association for Postal Commerce. "They have a whole staff of lawyers that can just file this stuff, so they do it and force the mailing industry to spend more time on the issue. It's another way of leaving the opponent dry."
eCommerceBytes: Only the Postal Service can access your mailbox, and last week, we wrote about an essay written by a UPS executive who'd like to see that change. The USPS has responded, making an argument for why it made sense for the USPS to have exclusive access. "The fact is that exclusive mailbox access isn't some kind of gratuitous privilege," USPS spokesperson David Partenheimer wrote. "Rather, it reflects commonsense ways of helping the Postal Service shoulder its enormous and unique responsibility: namely, delivering mail and packages to every home and business in America at affordable prices, and not just delivering packages to the most profitable addresses or with hefty surcharges." Partenheimer cited three main reasons for exclusive mailbox access: security ("it would increase criminals' opportunities for mail theft, identity theft, and explosive attacks"); efficient delivery of mail (mail carriers would not be able to fit letters, catalogs, and magazines in mailboxes and would be unable to distinguish between outgoing mail and privately delivered items, he said); and universal service at affordable and uniform prices.
KDKA: A delivery snafu with the U.S. Postal Service this weekend had one neighborhood confused as to what happened with their packages and when they saw where the boxes were, some got pretty irritated.
MyPrintResource: As of May 31, each one-ounce metered letter now costs $0.485 to post. Let the implications of that sentence sink in. For the first time in modern history, the public is being charged half a cent for a service, with no opting out or avoiding the potential legal challenges when inexact charges begin appearing on consumer accounts. For those who bill many transactions at one time, the half cent is no problem. Just round up at the end; after all, who cares about half a penny? But for those who bill at the line level, every transaction is losing half a cent, with potential losses in the thousands of dollars—and the financial shortfall being only one of their worries.
Dead Tree Edition: The long-standing controversy over the U.S. Postal Service's money-losing "Standard Flats" mail is apparently being tamped down in true Washington fashion – not by raising prices, cutting costs, or solving a problem, but by changing a definition.
Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers: The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers has told its members that:
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the USPS on Friday, August 28, filed a Petition for Review of Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) Order Number 2623 that a month ago ruled that the exigent surcharge of 4.3 percent could be extended until next spring but then must end. Many expected this move, not because the USPS is likely to have strong legal grounds to overturn a very well done PRC decision, but more for political reasons to support action in Congress that would overrule both the regulator and the U.S. Court of Appeals by making the surcharge permanent. It could take months to resolve.
It is very difficult for customers to realize that with this USPS they do not come first, but rather last. Once again, litigation and legislation come before the organizations and companies that pay the freight and stay with the Postal Service through thick and thin.
Copy of the USPS filing with Court of Appeals for DC Circuit
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday: The Management of the Trinidad and Tobago Postal Corporation and the Trinidad and Tobago Postal Workers Union, on Thursday, signed a memorandum of agreement for the bargaining period January 2011 to December 2013. This agreement addressed employees' salaries and cost of living allowances for two out of the three bargaining units. In a statement to the media, TTPost said it celebrates the milestone in its Corporation's development.
ITALY: Reuters: Italy's market watchdog has imposed a 60,000 euro ($67,620) fine on Poste Italiane, the postal service the government is set to privatise via a stock market listing in October, for behaving improperly in providing investment services to its clients. Poste is cutting back in its costly mail delivery business and expanding in financial services and insurance ahead of the long-awaited share sale that is set to be Italy's biggest privatisation in a decade. But market watchdog Consob said it found in an audit that Poste customers had been directed towards investment products on which the postal service earned large upfront fees and encouraged to liquidate investments to switch into different products regardless of their real needs. "Poste Italiane ... has allowed, at the level of operational relationships with clients, a behaviour that does not comply with a duty to act with diligence, correctness and transparency," Consob wrote in its bulletin.
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