October 31, 2013
Fleet Owner: For the second time in recent months, a trucking company is in trouble with the law after it’s alleged that the firm shipped contraband cigarettes to New York City residents as part of an illegal shipping network. LaserShip, a Virginia-based last-mile package delivery service, has been sued by New York City Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo, Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley, and Finance Commissioner Beth E. Goldman, for its role in the delivery of “untaxed” cigarettes. Shipping and delivering cigarettes that are untaxed is illegal under the federal Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act (CCTA), the federal Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT), federal racketeering statutes, and New York state laws. According to the complaint, LaserShip worked within a broader delivery network that avoided the requirements of the PACT Act. Under the PACT Act, cigarette sellers are required to assure all taxes are paid on the cigarettes shipped to consumers.
If the Postal Service wants total freedom to price postal products as it wishes, it should simply suspend the monopolies over the carriage of mail and its deposit in mail receptacles.
Roll Call: Just minutes after the swearing-in of New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker, the Senate dove headfirst back into a standoff over executive and judicial branch nominations. Republicans filibustered President Barack Obama’s pick of Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., to become the top housing finance regulator, and Patricia Ann Millett’s nomination to fill one of three vacant seats on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. Watt was blocked on 56-42 vote for cloture, while Millett failed on a 55-38 vote. Sixty votes are needed to avoid a filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., voted “no” to preserve his right to reconsider the vote. The votes drew a quick rebuke from the White House and revived talk of using the “nuclear” option to get around filibusters. [EdNote: Here we go again.]
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
Dead Tree Edition: The U.S. Postal Service's public relations department responded last night to a recent Dead Tree Edition article. We are publishing the response in its entirety, without comment, except to note that article was based on a combination of verifiable facts and readers' opinions. We also note that many postal employees -- supervisors and "suits" as well as worker bees -- have complained vociferously about USPS's organizational structure. And that a significant overhaul of that structure would probably face legal hurdles.
The Warsaw Voice: Polish postal services operator Poczta Polska (PP) plans to launch an internet platform which will combine all digital services offered by the company. The new service, called Envelo, will allow for printing stamps and sending letters and postcards, which will be printed and delivered by postmen. The new service is expected to be operationally stable in 2015 and to become profitable in 2017, PP management board member Janusz Wojtas says.
PRWeb: When the Royal Mail introduced the small and medium parcel pricing bands back in April, Davpack was the first major packaging supplies company to be in a position to offer its customers specially designed postal boxes to match the new size restrictions. Since then, Davpack’s Small Parcel Saver Postal Boxes have proved a real hit with its customers, helping them stay within the new guidelines and avoid excessive and unnecessary delivery charges in the process.
Mondaq: The postal industry is changing. Many national postal operators face falling demand as consumers switch to electronic communications and as competition within the industry grows (often from firms serving only part of the market, e.g., bulk mail). These challenges threaten the sustainability of the universal postal service, as well as the financial viability of existing postal businesses. Will privatization help secure the future of the universal service? Holder and Smith (2012) examined the potential benefits from privatization, drawing on evidence from a range of other regulated industries. This paper revisits this evidence in the light of recent developments. We present reasons why a privately owned firm might perform better than a publicly owned firm, and assess the available evidence across a wide range of regulated industries. We consider how these insights can be applied to the UK postal industry.
From the Federal Register:
Postal Service NOTICES Product Changes: Parcel Return Service Negotiated Service Agreement , 65392–65393 [2013–25807] [TEXT] [PDF] Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement , 65393 [2013–25810] [TEXT] [PDF] Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement , 65393 [2013–25812] [TEXT] [PDF]
October 30, 2013
Digtriad: As technology advances, and this is an everyday occurrence, criminals are finding new ways to steal your money. That's why 2 Wants To Know and postal inspectors want to help you keep it safe. U.S. Postal Inspector Carla Menendez said, "The bad guys are calling in with all the personal identifying information of the victims." Once they do that, they essentially can get access to your credit card account. They can add themselves as users get their own card with their name on it and start going on a shopping spree on your account. "Postal inspectors seized many large ticket items purchased in one scheme including big screen TV's and video game systems. In one case, losses totaled $120,000. But inspectors got a big break. Menendez said, "The bad guy wasn't very smart in this case. He purchased two MoneyGram money orders from a local merchant and when he went in to purchase the money order, he actually wrote his real name and his real address down on the money order." That led postal inspectors to the suspect's home and they found the victim's credit card in the suspect's trash. And this is one of many cases. Account takeover fraud was up dramatically in 2012 totaling $4.9 billion, which is a 69 percent increase over 2011.
WRVO: Sen. Charles Schumer says lifting a ban on the U.S. Postal Service shipping alcohol will help both the struggling postal carrier and New York’s growing beer and wine industry. Private carriers like UPS and Fed-Ex can deliver mail-order alcohol. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, is pushing for the USPS to be able to do the same. The ban against it transporting alcohol dates back to Prohibition.
New York Daily News: Uptown mailboxes are trying to take a bite out of crime. The U.S. Postal Service has outfitted an undisclosed number of bins with teeth-like contraptions across upper Manhattan after a rash of letter thefts, said agency spokeswoman Donna Harris. Inwood and Central Harlem residents told postal workers gangs of money hungry bandits descended on the boxes during the summer using glue traps to fish out envelopes stuffed with cash and checks. "Once the postal service found this out we went out to make sure the boxes were tamper resistant," Harris said.
Independent Retailer: Under a proposal by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), first-class postage stamps could rise to 49 cents, or by 6.5 percent, and pricing for other mail, including postcards and packages, would also rise on Jan. 26, 2014. The increase would raise about $2 billion in additional revenue a year, and will require approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement: “The rate increase poses a direct threat to the 8 million private-sector jobs that are part of the mailing industry as businesses shift from paper-based to electronic communication and mailers are priced out of business.” Among multi-channel retailers that rely on mailing everything from full catalogs to postcards to prospect for and draw customers to stores or ecommerce sites, the proposed rate hike could drive many to evaluate less expensive alternatives.
PostCom welcomes its newest member: Sutherland Global Services 11921 Freedom Drive, Two Fountain Square Suite 550 Reston, VA 20190-5635 represented by Teresa Weipert, Senior Vice President, Government Solutions
Reuters: Workers at Britain's newly privatised Royal Mail postal service called off a planned November 4 strike on Wednesday, saying that the union and company had made progress in talks over pay and working conditions. Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said they were now committed to finalising an agreement by November 13, which would include an improved pay and reward offer, as well as a separate pensions agreement.
NO-MA-14-001 Voyager Card Program for Highway Contract Routes – Unidentified and Unrecovered Fuel Overpayments: From Robert J. Batta Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Mission Operations to Megan J. Brennan Chief Operating Officer And Executive Vice President Joseph Corbett Chief Financial Officer And Executive Vice President U.S. Postal Service: "We estimate that the Postal Service did not properly identify and recover about $9.9 million in fuel overpayments to HCR suppliers for fuel year 2009-2010. It failed to collect these overpayments because the HCR Voyager Card Program reconciliation process was not reasonably conducted and documented. . . . "
Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee: BUSINESS MEETING Wednesday, November 6, 2013 10:00 a.m. SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building AGENDA Nominations * Hon. Tony Hammond to be a Commission, Postal Regulatory Commission;* Hon. Nanci E. Langley to be a Commission, Postal Regulatory Commission. Legislation S. 1486, Postal Reform Act of 2013.
Federal News Radio: It was announced Wednesday morning that the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, for 2014 will rise 1.5 percent.
Stars & Stripes: South Korea's customs agency said Wednesday it has thwarted two attempts this year to ship marijuana through the U.S. Forces Korea mail system following implementation of more stringent measures to detect military drug smuggling. Sniffer dogs found 944 grams of marijuana concealed in coffee products at the Joint Military Mail Terminal at Incheon Airport in January and nearly 204 grams of marijuana and marijuana-laced cookies inside female boots in April, according to the Korea Customs Service.
Wall Street Journal: U.K. lawmakers plan to call Goldman Sachs and UBS to a parliamentary committee over the pricing of the Royal Mail privatization in a hearing scheduled for next month.
Evening Times: Postal services are expected to grind to a halt in Glasgow and the rest of the UK with strike action threatened by thousands of workers at Royal Mail and Crown Post Offices.
The Baltics Today: Estonian state-owned logistics and postal company Eesti Post posted a net profit of 1.3 mln euros in the first nine months of this year while the company's business revenue amounted to 39.8 million euros or 9% more than at the same time last year
Republican & Herald: About 500 quarterly garbage bills for Pottsville residents sent out by Oct. 1 never reached their destinations, and the United States Postal Service plans to find out why.
CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:
Two privately run companies want to compete with the Norwegian post if the residual monopoly in the letter market is abolished.
The Hungarian government initiated a partial sale of Magyar Posta. 25% minus one share will be sold to Takarekbank at market price and in cash.
The reorganisation of the polish post, which was started back in 2008, is still dragging on. A spokesman for the ministry of administration and digitalisation told daily news »Rzeczpospolita« (22.10) that Poczta Polska won't be privatised in 2014 for this reason. Only after the completion of the comprehensive package of measures, that were initiated to realise annual savings of around 130m euros, the post could go public, no earlier than 2015.
A former human resource manager of French La Poste has published a study against the company and raised serious allegations. According to Astrid Herbert- Ravel, responsible human resource manager in Ile-de-France until the start of this year, bullying employees was part of the post's fundamental management concept.
Upon request of news agency »sda«, the Federal Office for Buildings and Logistics (FBL) disclosed, that it is currently reviewing how the conversion of the post into a listed company affects public procurement. And the Cantons are also determining whether they have to solicit a quotation from private service providers or if they can just award contracts to the post like before.
China and Russian Post plan to extend their collaboration. In the course of a state visit by Russian prime minister Medvedev in China, both postal operators signed a memorandum of understanding. As far as it is known, China Post wants to set up a straight railway connection until the end of this year and to expand the currently existing airmail route.
eBay acquired British Shutl Ltd. ('the Online Delivery Revolution'). Shutl connects offers from online traders with the services of local courier companies via its platform. The start-up company, which was launched in 2008, counted venture capital firm Hummingbird Ventures, e.ventures, a subsidiary of mail order group Otto, and the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund among its investors. With the takeover, eBay apparently places emphasis on interweaving online and offline trade and plans to deliver goods that were ordered online within 90 minutes with its eBay Now service. By the end of 2014, this service is to be available in 25 cities across the globe.
In the course of the announced increase of its B2C business DPD now relies on a pan European standardised parcel shop network. Last week, the company disclosed that it plans to deploy around 15,000 parcel shops by the end of 2013 already. 'From DPD's point of view, parcel shops are an indispensable requirement for sustainable growth in the parcel business with private recipients', said DPD CEO Arnold Schroven.
Switzerland's regulatory authority has established an arbitration board for the postal industry. The board's task is to mediate in conflicts between consumers and service providers. The prerequisite for this: The consumer has to claim damages and has to prove she unsuccessfully tried to come to terms with the service provider.
Pitney Bowes appointed a new President of E-Commerce and Shipping Solutions. Christoph Stehmann will assume his newly created position on November 1 and is due to expand this area that is 'critical to our growth'.
The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)
Clarksville Online: With the continued draw down of forces and equipment along with the holiday season at the door, postal personnel take the necessary steps to prepare for current and upcoming challenges during this critical time in Afghanistan. Postal workers in Afghanistan gathered, October 19th-21st, 2013, at Bagram Air Field, to address postal operations, trends, initiatives and lessons learned throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility during the 1st Sustainment Command's (Theater) 310th Human Resources Sustainment Center's 2013 Theater Postal Conference hosted by 101st Special Troops Battalion, Task Force Lifeliner. "This conference's goal is to get all the postal leadership together to discuss the postal issues in theater we already know about that are 6-12 months down the road and that we're going to be dealing with. This is due to what's already being laid out for the operational plans of the theater," explained Lt. Col. Scott M. Kerr the chief of postal operations division with the 310th Human Resources Sustainment Center.
Transport Intelligence: Swiss Post has announced further plans to develop its electronic services by introducing a pilot service to its ePostOffice online platform. The pilot service will allow recipients will be able to choose whether they want to receive their mail physically in their private letterbox or digitally. The pilot is expected to begin in November. The pilot comes as Swiss Post responds to changing customer requirements. The company has been implementing hybrid solutions to support and supplement its core business since 2006. These services combine requirements of the physical and digital worlds, including solutions for printing and sending digitally processed data.
Politico: Don't expect the budget negotiating committee convening on Capitol Hill Wednesday to arrive at any sweeping resolution that tackles long-term government spending, entitlement programs or the Tax Code. If anything happens — which is highly uncertain — it will be because members of the negotiating panel want to go small and avoid the pitfalls that have left Washington gridlocked for several years by trying to tackle all of the problems at once. [EdNote: In other words, don't expect to see a postal reform rider on this bill.]
From the Federal Register:
Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 65016–65017 [2013–25665] [TEXT] [PDF] 65015–65016 [2013–25666] [TEXT] [PDF] 65014–65015 [2013–25667] [TEXT] [PDF]
ChannelOnline.tv: Jersey Post say they're making 'alternative arrangements' for the proposed Royal Mail strike. The Communication Workers Union confirmed UK postal staff will stage a 24 hour walkout on the 4th of November. Jersey Post say they'll work with other delivery partners to ensure Islanders don't suffer. All post from Jersey to the UK goes via the Royal Mail.
Seeking Alpha: New algorithm could save UPS a cool $50M per year UPS (UPS) claims a new automated routing system will help the company reduce fuel expenses and other costs.The tricked-up algorithm created by a team of 500 tech-savvy UPS employees will help drivers become more efficient on their daily routes.Savings of as much as $50M a year can be realized if every UPS driver cuts the length of their route by just a mile a day.
October 29, 2013
The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers has announced that USPS exec Stephen M. Kearney will take over as the Alliance's executive director when current exec Tony Conway retires at the end of this year.
Stuff: Rural communities can heave a sigh of relief with the knowledge they will be served by a five-day-a-week postal delivery. The decision came last week after discussions between the Government and NZ Post to update their Deed of Understanding, which will limit some urban areas to a three-day delivery by June 2015. Earlier this year NZ Post's proposal to cut back mail deliveries from six to three days a week had out-of-towners fearful of losing what some called "lifelines".
Postal Technology International: Russia Post has signed a collaborative agreement with its Khakassia branch to improve the quality of postal services in the south-central Siberia region.
Dead Tree Edition: "17 More Ways USPS Is Not Like a Real Business" [EdNote: But while we're at it, let's note another few ways in which the Postal Service is NOT like a real business. (1) The Postal Service has not one, but two, statutory monopolies that prohibit competition in the delivery of printed matter to homes and businesses around the nation. (2) The Postal Service is NOT subject to the nation's antitrust laws. (3) The Postal Service is given a pass on many state and local laws governing the operation of motor vehicles. (3) The Postal Service does NOT pay any tax on income earned over costs. (4) Congress has never established any mechanism that could lead to significant adverse consequences for any postal official who fails to perform at the level the nation requires--and that includes the Governors and the Postal Regulatory Commission. (5) When employees refuse to work, there's no such thing as a lock-out. . . . We could go on, but by now you get the point.]
Business2Community: I feel foolish. You see I just bought some "forever stamps", and while the stamps may be forever the post office may soon go the way of the Pony Express. I'll miss the postal service for sentimental reasons. It conjures childhood memories of running to the mailbox to find a birthday card with a dollar bill tucked inside. It reminds me of how the post office saved Santa Clause from the rubber room in The Miracle on 34th Street. And who can resist all those sweet stories of errant love letters that finally reach their destination 50 years after having been sent? But things change. As I grew older grandma stopped putting currency in my birthday cards, and I was more likely to find a water bill or a notice for jury duty in my mailbox. Today, my mom sends e-greetings for my son's birthday and the customary cash bonus comes via "Pay Pal." My direct deposit appears alongside Rolex offers and Facebook posts in my inbox. Yes, dear BtoB marketers, I believe direct mail ultimately will disappear from our quiver of tactics. Thus, we must adapt or we too will perish. [EdNote: And there's nothing like a nice, fat, greater-than-inflation exigency increase in postal rates to push more mail right out the door.]
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
October 28, 2013
FEDweek: An arbitrator has decided certain postal workers represented by the American Postal Workers Union are entitled to back pay for time postmasters or supervisors performed craft duties beyond what's outlined in the union's collective bargaining agreement with USPS. "This decision will result in back pay for union members who were denied work opportunities as a result of contract violations," said APWU director of industrial relations Mike Morris. "I hope postal managers take note of the cost of their failure to honor the contract."
Capital NewYork: The Nation emailed subscribers a note today asking for $120,272 in donations, a hefty chunk of change the journal will owe as a result of the "impending postal rate hike crisis," as the note puts it. "Tea Party–backed conservatives helped force the US Postal Service into requesting an emergency rate hike — one that will cost The Nation an additional $120,272 every year. While corporate media can handle this kind of a bill, The Nation can't foot it alone," President Teresa Stack wrote to the nonprofit publication's readers. The Nation isn't the only magazine bracing for an emergency rate hike as the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service scrambles to offset falling mail volume and fund employees' retirement benefits. Mary Berner, C.E.O. of the Association of Magazine Media (and C.E.O. and President of Reiman Media, for her day job), spoke for the magazine publishers in attendance at last week's American Magazine Media Conference when she lobbed insults at the USPS and its congressional enablers: "I mean, who thinks raising rates on its best customers is a remotely sane idea for a business whose revenue is already in free fall? It's like raising prices on shoe laces when everyone is using Velcro," Berner said, the New York Post reported.
Investor Place: U.S. Postal Service: Time to Go Public? Here are the pros and cons for following the Royal Mail's lead.
The USPS in May 2013 began working with key industry associations representing flats mailers to develop an updated strategic plan for flats. We have posted a working draft of the flats strategic plan on the Industry Outreach page on RIBBS located in the Industry Alert and Notices section. This working draft represents preliminary information around the current state of flats, including a wealth of information about flats operations and equipment, as well as recent strategies aimed to reduce flats costs. It is not yet a fully-formed strategic plan, however, because more discussion and work are needed (you will note there are some sections not yet written in the draft). While the ink is not dry on this first working draft, we are continuing to work with these key flats associations on enhancements. Subsequent drafts will include revisions suggested by our core working group, including an overall strategic vision statement, an executive summary of key strategies, outline of our future collaborative process, a definition of "flats," outline of supply chain partner support strategies, a more in-depth analysis of flats industry segments and trends, outline of service improvement strategies, and a more focused discussion of cost reduction and product growth strategies.
If flats are a key part of your business, we encourage you to review this first working draft and provide us with your feedback. Please submit feedback in either of the following formats: (1) Contact the key associations (listed in Page 2 of the draft document) you belong to and provide them with your input.(2) Send a message to IndustryFeedback@usps.gov with the subject line "Flats Strategy."
The Mirror: Crunch talks to avert a nationwide strike by thousands of postal workers were stepped up today. Royal Mail managers are due to meet the Communication Workers Union throughout this week to discuss a row over pay, pensions and job security in the wake of the postal giant's recent privatisation. Today's negotiations gained added weight after the CWU gave Royal Mail formal notice of a 24-hour stoppage next Monday. The strike threatens to be the first of many which could disrupt deliveries in the run-up to the busy Christmas period.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
Redrawing the Battle Lines for Last Mile Delivery. We are entering an exciting period for the US small parcel market. Driven by double digit growth in eCommerce, Business to Consumer (B2C) shipping is approaching 50 percent of the market, up from just 20 percent just 10 years ago. There are several major changes in the p>
Cyber Awareness: Protecting the High-Tech Side of Mail -- On July 26, 1775, all you needed to deliver the mail was a strong back and a fast horse. In 2013, the tools required to move 40 percent of the world's mail sound more at home in science fiction. Robots, supercomputers, 23 petabytes of digital storage (that's 24,117,248 Gigabytes), and one of the world's largest computer networks help deliver letters and parcels across the globe. Like any organization of its size and profile, the Postal Service regularly sees malicious activity directed at its network. The Office of Inspector General's Computer Crimes Unit (CCU) works closely with the Postal Service's Corporate Information Security Office to investigate and prosecute threats to Postal Service networks and information resources. Information security is a shared responsibility and we need your help to keep the Postal Service network secure. So as we close out National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we share some simple steps that go a long way toward improving security....
Post & Parcel: Post Danmark has signed another two-year agreement for hundreds of convenience stores to offer its postal services. The agreement will mean Danes can continue to collect their letters and parcels at DSK members including supermarkets like Spar, SuperBest, Kiwi minipris and Rema 1000. Post Danmark provides its post office services through more than 700 agents, about a third of these are DSK members. The national postal operator is expecting under the new deal that there will be a significant increase in the number of packets being handled, as more consumers have items delivered directly to their local grocery store to avoid missed deliveries at home.
The Street: U.S. Bank -- the main subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp -- on Monday announced the rollout of another innovative addition to its mobile banking application: Mobile Photo Balance Transfer. Using the new service, a customer can respond to a balance transfer offer or apply to transfer a credit card balance to U.S. Bank simply by using their smartphone camera to snap a photo of their credit card bill. Considering the change in consumer behavior, with tablets and smartphones continuing to gain popularity, it behooves any financial services company to offer as many mobile service options as possible. For U.S. Bank, the latest mobile offering could provide a nice boost to the bottom line, if the bank is able to compel significant credit card balance transfer activity.
Wall Street Journal: Even if it is huge already, Amazon.com can't help but try to find ways to get even bigger. The e-retailer, selling everything from auto parts to videogames, may eventually become known for pushing kale and cucumbers. AmazonFresh, its grocery-delivery effort, is still in its infancy: After testing it in Seattle since 2007, Amazon brought the service to parts of Los Angeles in June. The grocery business is known for razor-thin margins. And previous attempts at online-grocery delivery have had mixed results.
European Pensions: The pension fund for the Dutch postal services, Stichting Pensioenfonds PostNL, has agreed on the execution and financing of a new pension agreement with its sponsoring employer PostNL and the trade unions. The different parties have had intense negotiations since December 2012, when the new arrangement was proposed. Details of the agreement include an increase of the pension age to 67, a cap on employer contributions, a higher accrual rate and a lower threshold which would increase the amount over which pensions can be accrued. The planned starting date for the agreement is 1 January 2014. Currently PostNL is obliged to plug any deficit up to an unlimited amount, but this will be limited in two phases.
Huffington Post: Britain's departure from the European Union could see the country descend into economic "protectionism" that would hurt business, warned Phil Couchman, UK head of the German logistics giant DHL's 'Express' business. Speaking to the Huffington Post UK, Couchman said: "If something went dramatically wrong with the trading relationships between the UK and the EU, it would affect us and a lot of businesses." "If a parting regressed into protectionism towards the rest of Europe, then that would be a bad thing and a backward step."
Daily Mail: The two biggest private investors in Royal Mail have between them made more than £80 million profit on the shares since the postal service was privatised earlier this month. Hedge fund TCI, which emerged last week as the largest single investor, has made a profit on paper of more than £57 million according to calculations by The Mail on Sunday. Meanwhile GIC, the Singapore government's investment fund, is showing a profit of more than £24 million on its stake in Royal Mail declared last week.
Bloomberg: UPS CFO: Obamacare Will Deter U.S. Business
Wall Street Journal: TNT Express NV Monday reported a 25% drop in third-quarter net profit amid a slump in revenue, and the Dutch parcel-delivery company said it would take further steps to improve its business as market conditions continue to be challenging. TNT said net profit came in at €6 million ($8.28 million), down from €8 million in the same period a year earlier, as revenue fell 6.6% to €1.62 billion amid pricing pressure at TNT's key European business and higher provisions.
Washington Times: Rain and other severe weather may not stop the nation's mail carriers "from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," but managers at one post office in New Jersey took the pledge a little too literally, and required employees to come into work during Hurricane Sandy last year. A report by the U.S. Postal Service's inspector general on the service's hurricane response said managers at that post office told employees they must report for work on the day the massive, devastating storm hit, despite the fact that the facility was within a mandatory evacuation zone. Employees complied, going into work despite orders from law enforcement officers, the Postal Service's inspector general said in the report issued last week just ahead of the storm's first anniversary.
Radio New Zealand: New Zealand Post says the idea of using more motorbikes to make postal deliveries is not the answer to saving jobs in the sector. The state-owned enterprise announced last week it will halve deliveries to urban areas to three days a week from July 2015. The rural delivery service will run five days a week. The company had reviewed it services in response to a 30% decline in posted items since 2006. The Postal Workers' Union said a five day service for urban New Zealand could be viable if more motorbikes or electric bikes were used, to cut down on the dead time walking between routes. NZ Post spokesperson John Tulloch said the idea has already been looked at but the problem is with decreasing volumes of post, not dead time between routes.
Transport Intelligence: According to a recent Boston Consulting Group survey, most consumers are more interested in free delivery versus paying for same day delivery. However, will the upcoming holiday season see a shift in thought? It appears many providers are banking on just that.
Transport Intelligence: Evidence of economic improvement in Europe was noted in UPS' third quarter earnings announcement. For the quarter, total revenue increased 3.4% to US$13.5bn while operating profit improved to $1.8bn. This increase in total revenue was attributed to not only US e-commerce but also to European export shipments which were up almost 10.0%. However, despite the good increase in European export shipments, total International package export revenue per piece declined 5.4% because of the shift towards deferred products, lower fuel surcharges and changes in trade lane mix, particularly shorter trade lanes. Overall, International Domestic Package had a 2.5% increase in revenue of $3.0bn. As noted previously, European exports led this increase. Growth out of Asia was flat which may be because of the overall anaemic health of the Asian economy however; Canada and Mexico export shipments were strong. Non-US domestic volume also appeared strong for the quarter, up 6.3% led by Canada and Europe. Within intra-Europe, Turkey and Poland were both up 20%. Meanwhile, US Domestic Package revenue increased 5.0% to $8.3bn while operating profit increased 16% to $1.2bn. B2C and B2B e-commerce were attributed to the 2.3% growth in US domestic volume versus third quarter 2012. While volume increases helped the overall revenue growth, cost reductions and an additional operating day contributed as well. Next day air volume declined 3.3% because of declining letter shipments. Also, UPS noted some shippers had moved their distribution facilities closer to their customers which also slowed air shipment growth but led to a greater use of UPS Ground facilities.
October 27, 2013
Montgomery Gazette: As online marketing continues to grow, direct mail is still a substantial part of the marketing realm, according to a study released this month by the Direct Marketing Association. Traditional offline marketing, including direct mailers, was a $93.6 billion industry in 2012, according to the study by professors John Deighton of Harvard University and Peter Johnson of Columbia University. Online marketing, which includes electronic ads, targeted emails and revenues from selling information to brokers, is about a $62 billion industry, the study says. That many businesses still use direct mail to reach customers is not new to Kenneth Roseborough, owner of Money Mailer of Silver Spring. The company contracts with businesses to help drive customers to them through coupons and ads sent by U.S. mail.
Federal News Radio: The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wants all Americans to have access to the same health program as most federal employees. Rep. Darrell Issa introduced H.R. 3319, the Equal Healthcare Access Act, today, which would open up the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP) to all U.S. citizens. "The Equal Healthcare Access Act offers Americans access to the same health insurance plans long enjoyed by Members of Congress and their families," Issa said, in a release. "This is a free market approach to healthcare with government playing the very limited role of helping small businesses and individuals come together to get a better price for healthcare — much like larger businesses can already negotiate on their own." The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.).
Herald Scotland: I await with interest the promised improvement of the Royal Mail after its sell-off. I have one selfish suggestion: extend the opening hours of parcel depots. The nearest one to me opens at 8am then closes at 10am for half-an-hour. Then it opens again until 1.40pm, whereupon it closes for the rest of the day. Consequently, one often witnesses distressing scenes of frustration, as the recipients of undelivered mail turn up at a normal business hour to find the premises locked, whereupon they have no option but to employ fruity language and bang their heads against the unyielding door.
Wales Online: Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has ripped into Labour after it emerged the Welsh Government made no representations to Westminster opposing the privatisation of Royal Mail. A Freedom of Information disclosure to Plaid has revealed that the Labour Government in Cardiff did not participate in the campaign to oppose the sell-off.
San Diego Union-Tribune: Halloween is still a week away, but retailers are already using free-shipping offers to compete for early holiday sales. While most consumers expect free standard shipping, and 35 percent of retailers say they already offer year-round free shipping, up from 23 percent last year, many are sweetening the deal by offering free speedier delivery earlier in the season.
Wall Street Journal: United Parcel Service Inc. should be elated about the holidays this year. In what has become an annual shipper kick-off to the season – sort of the their equivalent to the tree-lighting in Rockefeller Center — the Atlanta-based package delivery concern unveiled its projections for the holiday shopping season. Like FedEx Corp., which announced its predictions earlier this week, UPS is expecting to break some records. For starters, on Cyber Monday, which is Dec. 2, it expects its delivery army to pick up 32 million packages – 10% more than ever before. Yet whenever the subject came up in the company's third quarter earnings call today, executives hedged the rosy projections. They referred to the "operational challenges" of the season and the risk that came along with its "great opportunities." The concern, it turns out, isn't consumer sentiment or competition from FedEx or government shutdowns or the economy. It's Mother Nature. Thanksgiving is so late this year it has trimmed the shopping season by six days and one weekend. That's made UPS more vulnerable than usual to the weather.
October 26, 2013
Wall Street Journal: Through the shutdown crisis, aides for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) used email analysis software that allowed them to parse out how many of the messages flooding their system expressed concern from individuals and which were the product of mass email campaigns, or "astroturf," according to a senior Republican aide. Government isn't unique in having to wade through a growing volume of incoming messages and social media. Corporations are increasingly using sentiment analysis tools to mine tweets and emails for customer insight. But mass email campaigns directed at members of Congress confront aides with a daunting challenge. Interest group email campaigns, which allow users to send a legislative concern with a few clicks, can bombard congressional members with tens of thousands of nearly identical messages. Those campaigns can easily overwhelm the letters and emails drafted by individual constituents: "How do you separate the signal from the noise?" said Matt Lira, Mr. Cantor's former digital director, who left the post last spring. And that's just one part of the problem. "Congress is so overwhelmed with the amount of communications, the staff is struggling to determine the most basic things in messages, like whether the sender is a constituent, or what bill they are talking about," Mr. Lira said. On a given day, when legislators are debating particularly contentious issues, a congressional member can receive as many as 1,000 messages.
Mirror: The Singapore government is Royal Mail's second biggest private owner, it emerged today. Mega-rich GIC now owns a 4.1% stake of the privatised postal giant, worth nearly £230million.
Daily Mail: Households face a bombardment of cold calls and unwanted post in a new junk mail offensive. Royal Mail, which has just been privatised, is putting barcodes on letters, allowing it to tell firms when their marketing messages have been delivered. Armed with this information, these companies' salesmen can make follow-up phone calls and send text messages.
WEHOville: Rep. Adam Schiff called on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to cancel its plans to relocate the West Hollywood Post Office on Monday, adding another chapter to the local campaign against moving the San Vicente Boulevard office. "This proposed site will not adequately compensate for closure of retail services at the existing San Vicente location and will pose a tremendous inconvenience to the city's residents," Schiff said in a letter sent to postal officials Thursday.
October 25, 2013
Attention Postal One! Users: There will be a PostalOne!® maintenance outage for approximately 5 minutes that will occur during the hours of 2am - 4am CT on Thursday October 31, 2013. During the brief outage, PostalOne! will be unavailable including Mail.XML® and Program Registration. If you have any additional questions please contact the help desk at 800-522-9085. We apologize for any inconvenience.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
Dear Mailing Industry Stakeholders: The USPS Industry Engagement and Outreach team has updated the Industry Outreach page on RIBBS. We are committed to providing communication, interaction, and education for the mailing industry. As valued industry mailing partners we encourage you to visit the site to take advantage of the outreach and engagement opportunities available to you. Some highlights of the site include: * USPS Leadership Forum for Stakeholders and Reception dates, agendas, and presentations * Industry Alert archives * USPS webinar archives and workshops * Easy to access links to Postal Industry groups, business services, industry meetings, and industry notices
Fox Business: UPS (UPS) said Friday its third-quarter profit more than doubled amid stronger package revenue for domestic and international shipments. The Atlanta-based company logged net income of $1.1 billion, or $1.16 a share, well above the year-ago period's $469 million, or 48 cents a share. Adjusted per-share earnings last year, which excluded pension restructuring costs, were $1.06. Revenue jumped 3.4% to $13.52 billion. UPS beat Wall Street earnings expectations by a penny, as consensus estimates called for $1.15 a share. Analysts projected slightly better revenue of $13.6 billion.
The Postmaster General has annouced that Kristin Seaver has been appointed Vice President, Area Operations, Capital Metro, effective immediately, reporting to the Chief Operating Officer. Kristin has been acting in the role since October 3, and also previously served on a detail as Vice President, Area Operations, for the Eastern Area. From September 2011, until this appointment, she served as Northeast Area Manager of Operations Support, a position she also previously held in the Eastern Area. As the Postal Service continues efforts to improve efficiency and operational performance, Kristin's experience will serve the organization well. She is Green Belt-trained and certified and Black Belt-trained in Lean Six Sigma. She has held a variety of positions including Manager, In-Plant Support; Senior Plant Manager; Manager, Processing and Distribution Center; Industrial Engineer; and Manager, Remote Encoding Operations. Kristin holds a master's in Business Administration and a bachelor of science degree in Industrial Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She began her Postal Service career as a Professional Specialist Trainee in Albany, New York, in 1991.
DMM Advisory: Domestic and International Mailing — Price Change. Yesterday and today the proposed International and Domestic Market Dominant Price Change Federal Register Notices for the January 2014 price change were posted on the Federal Register web site. We look forward to customer feedback before November 25, 2013. Please note that the draft January 2014 postage statements and proposed pricing files are also posted on pe.usps.com under the January 2014 Price Change Information header in the left navigation bar.
Associated Press: Portuguese postal workers opposed to the national mail service's planned privatization are walking off the job for 24 hours, marking the start of a series of strikes by labor groups angry about reforms and austerity measures. The government has announced plans to sell up to 70 percent of the state-owned mail company CTT-Correios de Portugal. Trade unions fear layoffs and a loss of entitlements.
Associated Press: On this, GOP budget guru Rep. Paul Ryan and top Senate Democrat Harry Reid can agree: There won't be a "grand bargain" on the budget. Instead, the Wisconsin Republican and the Nevada Democrat both say the best Washington can do in this bitterly partisan era of divided government is a small-ball bargain that tries to take the edge off of automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.
From the Federal Register:
Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act , 64037 [2013–25350] [TEXT] [PDF] Postal Service PROPOSED RULES New Mailing Standards for Domestic Mailing Services Products , 63915–63929 [2013–24980] [TEXT] [PDF]
Fleet Directory: Postal firm TNT Post has signed a deal for one of Europe's single biggest orders to convert HGVs to an alternative fuel. One of the country's biggest postal companies, the firm has commissioned Prins Autogas UK to convert 80 of its 120 strong fleet, including all of its articulated HGVs, to run on LPG autogas fuel. Southampton-based Prins Autogas estimates that TNT Post will save around 8-10 per cent on its fuel costs thanks to the conversions to its Diesel Blend dual fuel system, that allows their vehicles to run on LPG or diesel.
Office of the Inspector General: A report on "Vacant Land Parcels" Full Report | Highlights
Reuters: Deutsche Post DHL won a small legal victory on Thursday in a years-long battle with the European Union over state aid allegedly received from the German government.The European Court of Justice said on Thursday it was asking the European Union's second-highest court to review its 2011 decision to reject a challenge by Deutsche Post DHL against the reopening of a probe into possible state aid. Deutsche Post, Europe's biggest mail and express delivery company, had tried to have shut down an investigation the EU Commission started in 2007, but the General Court of the EU said in late 2011 that the challenge was inadmissible because the investigation really related to a probe that has been going on for 12 years
The Guardian: Investment bankers, when pitching for flotation work, perhaps behave like estate agents: they wave attention-grabbing figures in front of the seller to try to win the business, and only later say what they really think. Even so, the £10bn that JP Morgan thought Royal Mail could be worth deserves further investigation. One has to deduct Royal Mail's borrowings to get a true comparison with the £3.3bn at which the company's equity was priced. But, since the debt was only about £1bn, the numbers still imply a gulf in valuations. The best solution here would be to summon the relevant JP Morgan banker to appear before the select committee inquiry into the sale of Royal Mail.
Scoop: Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams has today announced that the Government has reached agreement with New Zealand Post on changes to the Deed of Understanding, to ensure the postal service remains viable. Under the agreement reached between the Government and New Zealand Post, changes to the Deed will not apply until 30 June, 2015. [EdNote: The Deed of Understanding constitutes New Zealand's definition of the post's universal service obligation.]
The Postmaster General has announced the appointment of James (Jim) P. Cochrane as Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Executive Vice President, effective immediately. As the Postal Service continues initiatives to add value to the mail for our customers, technology and information products and services are increasingly important to our corporate strategy; and Jim will lead the Postal Service's efforts in these areas. As CIO, he will oversee the integration of technology and innovation in all aspects of our operations. Additionally, Jim will direct the advancement of new mail intelligence, engineering systems, information technology systems, payment technology, and corporate information security to meet the changing needs of today's marketplace.
The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:
October 24, 2013
Universal Postal Union: Unbanked people including the poor, less educated and unemployed are more likely to get their financial services from a post office than a bank or other financial institution, confirms a global analysis by the Universal Postal Union and the World Bank. The study Financial Inclusion and the Role of the Post Office also shows that the postal network's reach and size can significantly boost account ownership among the less privileged. The findings were presented today during a global forum on financial inclusion for development organized by the Universal Postal Union in Geneva, Switzerland.
New York Times: They were once major symbols of civic pride and influence, often situated in the heart of the city, and nearly equal in stature to nearby city halls, courthouses and other major public buildings. But increasingly, many of the buildings that served as newspaper headquarters in cities around the country are being put on the market, as a struggling industry searches desperately for ways to increase revenue. In recent months, The Washington Post put its downtown headquarters and three warehouse buildings in Alexandria, Va., up for sale, and the Tribune Company has hired a veteran real estate executive, who is expected to help that company sell some of its holdings. As a reflection of the print industry's sorry state, the physical plant in which the paper is produced is likely to have a far greater value than the paper itself, especially when situated in a gentrifying neighborhood. [EdNote: Another sign of the impact of digital disruption on printed communication.]
TechNewsWorld: eBay on Tuesday announced a set of initiatives -- including the acquisition of Shutl -- designed to help it offer speedier deliveries and a more personalized shopping experience. Shutl uses couriers to deliver goods within a few hours of their online purchase. The company is currently operating in Chicago and New York, as well as throughout the UK. eBay did not elaborate on how it plans to integrate Shutl beyond saying that its technology, talent and expertise would help it expand its local delivery services. Shutl will continue to serve its UK and U.S. retail partners as it rolls out to more sites worldwide. eBay has been experimenting with its same-day delivery service, eBay Now, in the New York and San Francisco areas and said Monday that it plans to expand it to 25 new cities by the end of 2014.
Financial Times: The National Audit Office is to carry out a value for money examination of the Government's privatisation of the Royal Mail. The announcement from the spending watchdog came amid a continuing row over whether the postal company was sold off too cheaply.
The Motley Fool: This Christmas shopping season will show the least retail growth in years, according to ShopperTrak, whose forecasts last month indicated that sales will rise by just 2.4% this year, compared to 3% last year, 4% in 2011, and 3.8% in 2010. Moreover, total retail store traffic will decrease slightly compared to last year. While ShopperTrak's data also finds that well over 90% of all retail transactions will still be made in-store, it does suggest that the online shopping experience will continue growing in importance. Although certain e-tailers will be natural beneficiaries of this trend, the surprise winner this holiday season could be Big Brown: package delivery specialist UPS
Washington Times: Spare change is hard to find at the U.S. Postal Service nowadays. The nation's mail service started October by defaulting on a payment due to the U.S. Treasury and is down to less than 10 days of cash on hand. The USPS is expected to muddle through the crunch, but its financial problems won't go away. The mail delivery business is in long-term decline. Without substantial change, the Postal Service inevitably will fail, leaving taxpayers holding the bag. Some deny this grim reality, arguing that the financial crisis is a result of congressional requirements that the USPS pay about $5 billion annually to pre-fund retiree health care. But the USPS has not made those payments for three years. Even without counting this debt, the Postal Service is awash in red ink, losing some $15 billion over the past four years. The problem with the USPS is not pension funding, but a fundamental shift in technology. The Internet and other communications technologies are rapidly displacing physical mail.
Direct Marketing News: Saying she is "troubled" by the Postal Service's request for a 4.3% above-the-CPI rate increase, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) fired off a letter to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) last week maintaining that the filing violated the letter of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) she coauthored in 2006.
13WHAM: Head to the Mobil gas station on Bay and Ridge Roads in Webster and you'll find a store with convenience. Inside, instead of candy bars, the shelves are stocked with letters and boxes. "This is pretty much a full-blown post office," said Frank Ranalletti, owner of the gas stations. Two years back, representatives from the U.S. Postal Service asked Ranelletti if he'd be interested in operating a Contract Postal Unit, which is a satellite post office placed in private businesses.
Nationwide Analysis of Tier 1 Network Distribution Centers – Postal Vehicle Service Operations Full Report | Highlights
From the Federal Register:
Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products , 63519–63520 [2013–24895] [TEXT] [PDF] 63520–63521 [2013–24897] [TEXT] [PDF] Postal Service PROPOSED RULES International Mailing Services: Proposed Price Changes – CPI , 63433–63434 [2013–24929] [TEXT] [PDF] Proposed Price Changes – Exigent , 63434–63435 [2013–24931] [TEXT] [PDF] NOTICES Product Changes: Parcel Select and Parcel Return Service Negotiated Service Agreement , 63521 [2013–24930] [TEXT] [PDF]
Bloomberg Businessweek: FedEx Corp. projects its busiest shipping day this holiday season will be Cyber Monday, Dec. 2, with online retailers driving an 11 percent increase from 2012 to produce the company's highest volume in history. FedEx, operator of the biggest cargo airline, forecasts more than 22 million shipments will move through its global network on Cyber Monday, according to a statement today. The Dec. 2 date is the earliest peak day since at least 2007, the company said.
Radio New Zealand: The Postal Worker's Union says New Zealand Post employees would not be facing such significant job losses if there had been better regulations relating to private mail companies. Mr Maynard says one of the major factors is a clause in the Postal Services Act 1997 allowing private companies to collect and deliver mail. However, he says only New Zealand Post is required to provide a national service at a standard rate, so private companies are cherry picking the most profitable areas. Mr Maynard says that equates to an unfair subsidy to private companies, which disadvantages New Zealand Post. He believes private companies have taken 10% of the mail volume, and says if that had not been allowed to happen, the job losses would not be so serious, so quickly. New Zealand Post disagrees, saying the fundamental driver for change in the postal market is not competition, but declining letter mail volumes spurred by electronic alternatives.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: The Postal Service just published its 2012 Household Diary Survey.
The Household Diary Study: Mail Use & Attitudes in FY 2012
October 23, 2013
The 2014 National Postal Forum registration is now open! Come join us at Gaylord National for the 2014 National Postal Forum March 16-19 in the Washington DC, Metro area. Create your profile by going to the Forum web site. Just click the registration button. If the timing isn't right to register today, this new system enables you to register when it is convenient for you. Simply log back in to your personal profile and register, update your information, or change the registration that you already submitted…it is that simple! Create a Profile and Register now for 2014.
The Courier: Employees with the downtown Conroe post office allege U.S. mail delivery at the W. Dallas location is deliberately being delayed, with some mail left to accumulate in undelivered six-foot piles at the facility for times as long as a week. "We've been told — ordered, since last Tuesday to curtail delivery of the mail, because they want carriers to be back in (under) eight hours," an employee with the downtown Conroe post office said under condition of anonymity. Management at the downtown Conroe post office have been, allegedly, pressuring workers to cut mail delivery hours, threatening disciplinary action or even termination, all ultimately at the expense of mail service, the postal employee said. Mail delivered in the past on extended delivery routes, which regularly can take an expedited mail carrier as long as 10 hours — known as "over standard" in postal service terminology — sometimes sits undelivered for added days at a time.
Federal Business Opportunties: This publication constitutes the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General's (OIG) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), to solicit proposals from interested parties on a specific sub-set of OIG services. A formal Request for Proposal (RFP), solicitation, and/or additional information regarding this announcement will not be issued. All applicable solicitation provisions, instructions, terms and conditions are contained in this document. Specific clauses for any resultant contracts will be negotiated at contract award.
The Forecaster: Countless customers have stopped in to Andy's Handy Store this month to buy candy bars, Italian sandwiches and cold bottles of beer. But for the first time in nearly 15 years, they've been unable to purchase stamps or money orders or ship packages. New owner Matthew Williams bought the variety store, a fixture on Main Street since the 1930s, from Tom and Andrea Hutchinson over the summer. But it turned out postal contracts don't just transfer from one owner to the next; the U.S. Postal Service closed its account at the store in late September. "They took my stamps, my scale, everything," Williams said. "But I'm fighting like crazy. I'm bugging the hell out of them to get it back." Business has taken a big hit due to the loss of postal services, Williams said.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Postal Regulatory Commission Budget Justification: Over the last several years the Commission has experienced an extremely heavy, complex and increasing workload because of the significant financial difficulties being experienced by the Postal Service. To ameliorate the large financial losses being experienced, the Postal Service has proposed a wide range of initiatives that would significantly affect operations and service to the public. These proposals have greatly increased regulatory activity by the Commission. Since FY 2009 the Commission's active docketed cases have increased more than 130%. The complexity and number of these cases, particularly those related to nature of service, has also increased, resulting in an unprecedented workload that has required expanding staff hours to produce the required analysis in a timely manner. This workload, which we anticipate to continue through at least FY 2014, has put a heavy strain on the professional staff....The Commission can no longer adequately deal with the workload being experienced without an increase in professional staff. The Commission is therefore requesting a budget of $14,304,000 which will provide a modest increase of two FTE's and further improvement of our electronic docketing system. We will do this within essentially the same funding level approved for FY 2013 by continuing to restructure our workforce as older, more highly compensated, staff members leave. This request is designed to preserve the Commission's capacity to meet our statutory obligations, including timely responses to a growing number of Postal Service proposals. The Commission recognizes that its funding through the Postal Fund comes directly from the postal rates and fees paid by postal customers. The PAEA seeks to ensure the Commission's independence by authorizing the submission of its budget request to Congress separate from the Postal Service.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) recently led a bipartisan effort to forge a compromise to end the government shutdown and avoid a devastating default on our nation's debt. Saying that "the shutdown represents a failure to govern and must be brought to an end," Senator Collins took to the Senate floor on Saturday, October 5th and told her colleagues that "it is time that both sides come out of their partisan corners, stop fighting and start legislating in good faith." Within days, Senator Collins was leading a bipartisan group of seven Republicans, six Democrats, and one independent that successfully negotiated a compromise plan to reopen government, avert the default, and restart budget negotiations on a long-term fiscal plan to deal with our nation's unsustainable debt, among other provisions. Elements of this plan were incorporated into the final plan, negotiated by Senate leaders, that led to the end of the government shutdown. Senator Collins' efforts are being recognized nationwide.
New Zealand Herald: More than 1,000 posties and retail staff could lose their jobs after NZ Post got the green light from the Government to move to three-day-a-week deliveries and replace more Postshops with self-service kiosks. NZ Post yesterday said it had secured agreement from the Government allowing it to move to three-day-a-week letter deliveries from 2015, but rural areas would retain their current services.
Capital New York: Chris Hughes, the Facebook millionaire who purchased The New Republic in 2012, said last night that he thinks his magazine will still be printing ten years from now—"assuming the U.S. Postal Service is still delivering five days a week." "Print is an underestimated technology because it's light, it's colorful, it's cheap, it's all these important things," he said. "There's a reason it's lasted as long as it has. That immersive experience and the consumer who prizes that immersive experience is why magazines, in particular print and tablet magazines, still have a pretty rosy future." [EdNote: Nothing like putting your money where your mouth is.]
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: From Senator Susan Collins -- "I am writing to comment on the Postal Service's recent attempt to revive in this docket the above-CPI ("exigent") rate increase that the Postal Service initially sought in 2010. For the reasons I summarize here, 39 U.S.C. § 3622(d)(1)(E), which was added to Title 39 by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 ("PAEA"), does not authorize rate increases to recover losses caused by electronic diversion of communications from mail to the Internet. As the author of the PAEA, I can speak to the congressional intent of this provision. Electronic diversion and other structural problems have been an ongoing concern of the Postal Service for more than a decade, showing that these predictable circumstances are less than exceptional. An increase in rates is an attempt at an easy out by the Postal Service, rather than maximum efficiencies and cost savings, and will do nothing more than drive customers out of the Postal Service faster than they are already departing. . . ."
CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:
The conflict between the union CWU and the Royal Mail is coming to a head. A majority of 78% of the unionised workers at the British post voted in favour of strike action. The CWU promptly announced a nationwide 24-hour strike for November 4. At the same time, the union wants to hold a new ballot over the boycott of mail fed into Royal Mail's network by competitors via the downstream access.
French La Poste and the Vietnamese post have signed a co-operation agreement on the expansion of the Vietnamese postal bank.
A drastic decline in mail volume marked China Post's performance in the first nine months of the current year. Last week, the regulatory authority, the State Post Bureau, disclosed that the mail volume dropped by 11.6% to 4.97bn items. The parcel business on the other hand achieved a slight growth of 3.3% to around 49m parcels.
Magyar Posta slid back into the red on declining revenues last year.
The Federal Network Agency has granted greater leeway to Deutsche Post to increase its postage. According to the regulatory authority's decision, the post will be allowed to raise its postage up to the inflation rate minus 0.2%. The current regulation allows an increase of up to the inflations rate minus 0.6%. With the widened framework the post got 'enough leeway to maintain an efficient universal service' said Jochen Homann, the president of the regulatory authority.
Spanish Correos plans mass redundancies this year, too. A spokesman for the union Sindicato Libre told journalists that up to 10% of the around 57,000 employees could lose their jobs.
Deutsche Post is currently testing parcel boxes for detached and duplex houses. The goal was to deliver parcels, when the addressee is absent.
InPost is apparently facing massive service issues with its parcel terminals installed in the Czech Republic. The service was even worse than the post's.
The first employee survey at Austrian Post showed a mediocre result only. 24% of the employees did not feel comfortable at the company according to the survey. 'This is a mandate to act', the according brochure read, even though overall satisfaction at Austrian Post was above the average of other companies. Only half of all employees, who took part in the survey anonymously were 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with the post as employer. 20% were 'slightly satisfied'.
The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)
Phoenix Business Journal: U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., faulted fellow Republicans for their handling of the 17-day federal shutdown, expects post offices to close in order keep the U.S. Postal Service afloat and declined to jump on the Washington Redskins name change bandwagon.
Warsaw Business Journal: State-owned postal operator Poczta Polska (Polish Post) will not be privatized in 2014, a Ministry of Administration and Digitization spokesperson has said. Artur Koziołek told daily Rzeczpospolita that the reason for this was that the company is still going through the restructuring process it started in 2008. Mr Koziołek added that Poczta Polska will be floated on the Warsaw Stock Exchange in the future. There is however no decision yet on when this could happen.
Pension Funds Online: The UK Government's plan to wipe Royal Mail's pension deficit clean by taking on its £8bn pension deficit could be in jeopardy, following a challenge from the European Commission. Pension Funds Insider understands that the commission is threatening to block half the bailout if it deems the move to be anti-competitive.
Southwest Business: Cyclists working for an eco-friendly business post service have delivered their 500,000th letter. Docmail Local Post has been operating for two years September 2011 in Bristol and Bath, offering businesses within the postcodes of the two cities an alternative to Royal Mail. The service offers a secure bicycle-based collection and delivery with a consistent service delivering in less than two days, priced at less than the cost of a second class stamp. Docmail Local Post was set up by Radstock-based print firm CFH when it spotted the opportunity for a rival postal service, operating locally. [EdNote: Ain't competition grand? When all the postal monopolies have been abolished, all kinds of things are possible.]
The latest issue of Market Flash, IPC's bi-weekly newsletter providing a comprehensive look at new developments emerging in international postal industry has been posted online. International Post Corporation: TOP STORY Royal Mail shares admitted to London Stock Exchange ■ AMERICAS UPS offers ground service from the US to Mexico ■ FedEx launches programme to repurchase more stock ■ ASIA PACIFIC SingPost aims to be pan-Asian e-Commerce logistics provider ■ DHL invests as Indonesia develops its infrastructure ■ EUROPE POST Luxembourg is unveiled as the new P&T brand ■ B2C parcels forecast to grow in UK by 5%-6% ■ DPD Germany offers e-retailers a returns solution ■ DPD Netherlands offers one-stop collection for parcels and food ■ Quality logistics crucial for food e-retailers ■ GLS expands its parcel shops with Mondial Relay ■ Chronopost wins award for its interactive delivery service ■ La Poste raises letter prices by 3% ■ La Banque Postale tests voice recognition for online payment ■ PosteID secure payment system offered for mobile devices ■ POST Luxembourg offers mobile app for Digicash payments ■ SuisseID verifies online stock trading ■ InPost moves parcel terminals into Romania ■ Postal CEOs endorse the importance of e-Commerce fulfilment TNT Express extends next-morning services ■ Amazon builds logistics centres in Poland ■ DPD Germany will increase prices in 2014 ■ Norway Post seeks banking supplier for rural areas ■ FedEx Express expands in central Germany ■ DPD completes rollout of mobile terminals for Czech couriers ■ Poland to see 20% growth in e-Commerce
The Herald: Postal services provider Zimpost has launched a new money transfer service called Zipcash which allows Zimbabweans to send and receive money locally and internationally through the postal network worldwide.
Associated Press: Mail will soon be delivered to suburban New Zealand homes just three days a week as the country's postal service responds to the rise of smartphones and the decline of letters. On Wednesday, the government agreed to a steep reduction in the six day a week service from 2015 following lobbying from New Zealand Post. The company said reduced delivery days will result in significant job losses. The move could foreshadow similar changes in other developed nations as businesses and residents increasingly move online to communicate and pay bills. In the U.S., the Postal Service has struggled for years with declining mail volumes. The service has tried to end its Saturday mail delivery but has been met with resistance from federal lawmakers. See also the New Zealand Herald.
October 22, 2013
Intelisent: From the Editors Note, inside front cover of the MailPro News for Mailing Professionals Sept/Oct 2013 issue (formerly) mailed by the USPS: Reinventing MailPro In our business, timely delivery is crucial. That goes for the information we provide our customers as well as the letters and packages we deliver for you. When MailPro was launched more than six years ago, a bimonthly publication was a good fit at the time. The pace of change in the mailing industry — and in the world of communications — has speeded up a bit since then, hasn't it? It's time for a fresh approach. Beginning in November, MailPro will transition to an all-digital edition. Let me get this straight. USPS has an informational mailing for Mailing Professionals. They mail it Presorted First-Class Mail using G-10 Permit. Apparently, First-Class mail is TOO SLOW to get information out in a timely manner, so the USPS (an institution claiming they are dying because of electronic diversion) decides to jump on the electronic diversion bandwagon and STOP USING THE MAIL to communicate? That's a real positive motivator for mailing service providers to get out there and sell direct mail as a communications vehicle.
Fierce Government: Though the Postal Service reduced hours in fiscal 2012, USPS still used over 14 million work hours more than necessary to process mail volume, a Sept. 26 USPS inspector general report says. By reducing those hours, USPS could cut costs of about $628 million, it adds. Mail volume has declined but the Postal Service has not adjusted work hours in response, nor achieved all possible efficiencies in mail processing operations, the report says.
Government Executive: The federal government shed 6,000 jobs in September, according to new numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The U.S. Postal Service -- which has seen an overall loss of about 200,000 employees over the last six years -- added 1,400 jobs last month, while the rest of federal agencies dropped a net of 7,300 workers. Including the Postal Service, the federal government ended the month with more than 2.7 million employees.
CNN: Federal jobs are at their lowest level level in 47 years... or 4 years. It depends on how you look at it. Digging deeper into the data shows a massive decline in postal workers is the biggest driver. Since 1999, USPS has slashed more than 300,000 jobs, or roughly a third of its workforce. Why is this distinction important? Since 1971, postal service jobs have not been funded by taxpayer dollars. So what's the real story? The rise and subsequent decline in federal jobs over the last four years is due to the government deploying stimulus dollars amid the recession and then enacting budget cuts shortly afterward. Still, if the aim is smaller government, then the trend is headed in that direction. Not including postal workers, federal government jobs accounted for 1.6% of all jobs in the American economy in September.
MoneyNews: With Congress and the media focused on the government shutdown and how to avoid default on the national debt, little attention was directed toward the U.S. Postal Service which earlier this month defaulted on a required $5.6 billion payment for the healthcare of its future retirees. The third default on the down-payment in just over a year underscores the necessity of much-needed reforms for the beleaguered Postal Service. Rep. Darrell Issa of California told Newsmax that without "the freedom to realign its infrastructure and operations in line with the changing way Americans use mail, the agency will remain insolvent." "Prolonged insolvency of USPS will result in a massive taxpayer bailout and ongoing subsidy, or a sudden disruption in mail service, or both," the California Republican said. Legislative action in this session is unlikely considering the other issues Congress has on its agenda, but Issa spokesman Ali Ahmad says "with the notable exception of labor unions, all key stakeholders are in contact and working on a solution to save the Postal Service and prevent a massive taxpayer-funded bailout." "The unions carry a lot of political weight because they are one of the largest unions and they are out there making a lot of noise, whereas the taxpayers are largely unaware of the situation or the need for reform," says Gattuso, who adds that labor opposition is "somewhat ironic as no one is talking about forced layoffs or drastic renegotiations of union contracts." "The status quo is not sustainable. While some argue that the USPS's losses are due to faulty accounting or a temporary downturn in the economy, that claim is wishful thinking. The market for traditional mail has been shrinking rapidly.
New York Post: The publishing industry has its problems — but that's nothing compared to the US Postal Service. Just ask Mary Berner, the head of the Association for Magazine Media (MPA), who took the opportunity to rail against the country's increasingly dysfunctional mail service in her keynote speech to the magazine industry. "I'm not pissed anymore about where we are and where we are headed as an industry," she said at the American Magazine Media Conference in New York on Tuesday afternoon. "I still get aggravated by the inability of lawmakers to fix the US Postal Service as opposed to making us and other mailers subsidize its refusal to make the hard choices that every other business in this country has made." The magazine industry is bracing for an emergency, or "exigent," rate hike as the cash-strapped Postal Service scrambles to raise prices to offset falling mail volume. "I mean, who thinks raising rates on its best customers is a remotely sane idea for a business whose revenue is already in free fall?" Berner said. "It's like raising prices on shoe laces when everyone is using Velcro. How about incentivizing us to mail more instead of ensuring that we will mail less?"
DMM Advisory: October 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. On October 6 we updated our mailing standards to include the following changes:
Modification of Return Address Requirement for Periodicals Publications.We revised 602.1.5.3 to modify the requirement for a return address on a Periodicals publication in any wrapper to apply to publications that are in an opaque wrapper. We published this information in the September 5, 2013, Postal Bulletin.
Politco: The economy added 148,000 jobs in September while the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 7.2 percent, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. Analysts had expected job growth of about 185,000, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.
Post & Parcel: FedEx Express has launched a new pricing approach in the United States, offering a "flat rate" for consumers and small businesses. However, the new FedEx pricing approach isn't quite as simple as a postal service one-price-goes-anywhere offering, with FedEx taking distance into considering. Deliveries are priced differently if going within 150 miles of origin (called the Local Zone), within 600 miles (Regional Zone) and other parts of the US (National Zone). The FedEx One Rate does include residential, delivery area and fuel surcharges but is subject to other charges including on-call pickup, Saturday delivery, signature options, additional declared value and address corrections. Prices (not including additional charges) start at $7.50 for a three-day envelope sent within the Local Zone, with a small box going across the country costing $10.50 on the three-day service and $104.50 for next-day by 8.30am. An extra large box going nationally on the three day service would cost $37.25, or $168.50 for the overnight by 8.30am service. Essentially, the new pricing approach adds more free packaging options, combines certain surcharges in with the original rate, eliminates the need for weighing items under the 10lb/50lb threshold, and simplifies the distance pricing.
Marketwired: Stamps.com®, the leading provider of USPS postage online and shipping software to over 450,000 customers, today announced that its Chief Legal Officer, Seth Weisberg, won the Los Angeles Business Journal Corporate Counsel Award in the "Public Company (2012 Revenue Less Than $1 Billion)" category. [EdNote: Congratulations, Seth!]
Human IPO: First Bank of Nigeria has entered into a first-of-its-kind strategic partnership with the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) to enhance access to its mobile payment solution, FirstMonie. The bank said the partnership would offer convenient and reliable financial services to the unbanked in Nigeria as well as those that are under-banked. Through the partnership, FirstMonie will provide mobile financial services in communities where there are NIPOST offices and agents.
Postal Service Takes a Leading Digital Role Last month, the U.S. Postal Service awarded the contract for a pilot program for a cloud-based identity management system called the Federal Cloud Credential Exchange (FCCX). Using a closed communications network, or "digital pipelines", the Postal Service will deliver digital packets ("envelopes") of secure identity data between government agencies and private or public identity providers
Silicon Republic: The Irish Government claims Ireland will be the first country in the world to have a public database of unique identifiers for properties. This, it said, will help citizens, public bodies and businesses to locate every individual household, apartment and business in the State. Richard Garry is sales and marketing director at Gamma, the Dublin-based geographic information system (GIS) firm that provides geocoding and address services. He is of the view that dealing with the 30pc of non-unique addresses will be "exciting times" for the Irish GIS community. This is because it will mean all rural areas will be open for comprehensive spatial analysis, according to Garry. With that, new niche industries can spring up on the back of the digital postcoding. Garry said the main benefits will be in making existing service providers more efficient, for example, ambulance and fire brigade services, and even engineering services.
From the Federal Register:
Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Rate Adjustments , 62712–62714 [2013–24580] [TEXT] [PDF] Postal Service NOTICES Product Changes: Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement , 62714 [2013–24335] [TEXT] [PDF]
The St. Petersburg Times: The Communications and Press Ministry plans to double the revenues of state-owned Russian Post to make the company ready for an IPO by 2018, Vedomosti reported Friday. The ministry is proposing to sell a small share of Russian Post to a portfolio investor by 2015 and privatize the mail carrier completely from 2018 to 2021, according to a report that officials recently presented to the government. The price of Russian Post is expected to be 150 billion rubles ($4.7 billion) by the time it is ready for the second stage of the sale. The initial sale of a stake in the mail provider to a private investor will help to make the business more transparent and can be used later as a success story to encourage participation in the next stage of privatization, the report said. Other changes that are planned to help the state company increase turnover include allowing it to provide banking services and reduce the number of unprofitable branches, decreasing the total from 14,000 to 8,500. Up to 80 percent of these remaining branches could later be closed. Russian Post also plans to be more aggressive on the inter city courier market, such as servicing deliveries from online stores. Revenues in this sector are forecasted to grow from 16 billion rubles now to 65 billion rubles in 2018. The report's authors expect that the planned changes will put Russian Post in the black by 2018 with revenues of 291 billion rubles and a net profit of 19.5 billion rubles.
Daily Express: Converted shipping containers that were delivered to a site in Brighton today will provide temporary accommodation for people with a long history of homelessness. The units will provide temporary accommodation for 36 men and women for a period of five years in the city's New England Quarter.
Postalnews Blog: USPS is looking for a few enthusiastic employees to appear in an ad for this year's holiday advertising campaign. commercialLike the ad currently appearing across the country, the new commercial also will feature employees as the cornerstone of USPS.
FCW: There is no such thing as a normal day when you're the guy responsible for managing database and storage services at a major federal agency. So says Dan Houston, who oversees 3,300 databases, 400 applications and all 22 petabytes (and counting) of data collected by the U.S. Postal Service, mainly from its public-facing website and mail-tracking system. Whether he is implementing the latest version of Oracle on hundreds of systems or supporting new business projects for customers, Houston faces new challenges almost daily. And with USPS' precarious financial situation, data and IT have never been more important to the agency's mission. In terms of size and scope, few organizations in the world rival USPS' IT infrastructure, and Houston handles the data at the heart of it.
October 21, 2013
Bloomberg Businessweek: When will Netflix send out its last red envelope? The company is clearly focused on streaming, but executives have long maintained that DVDs, while declining, are going to be a part of its business for years to come. Still, there are some good reasons why Netflix might get out of the DVD business sooner rather than later. Around 7 million customers still pay Netflix to send them DVDs of movies and TV shows via mail. Two years ago, that number was twice as high. Fast-forward another two years, and there could be around 4 million customers left who get their red envelopes from Netflix. Or maybe even less. The decline has stabilized, but those shipping hubs are still closing. Netflix still maintains 39 distribution centers nationwide. The company declined to share any specific numbers around these closures with us, with a spokesperson only saying that "DVD continues to be important to Netflix and we want to offer our DVD customers the best possible service." Previously, Netflix operated as many as 58 distribution centers.
Business Wire: FedEx Express, an operating company of FedEx Corp., is introducing FedEx One RateSM which gives U.S. customers a simple, predictable, flat rate shipping option for their express packages. FedEx One Rate shipping is backed by the reliability, world-class tracking, time-definite delivery and high levels of customer service of the FedEx Express network. FedEx One Rate shipments also are covered by the FedEx Express money back guarantee. "With its simple, predictable pricing, FedEx One Rate takes convenience and flexibility to the next level for our customers," said Raj Subramaniam, executive vice president of Marketing at FedEx Services. "For consumers and small businesses alike, FedEx One Rate pricing allows customers to plan and control their express shipping costs more easily. They can add to the box without adding to the cost."
ITBusiness.ca: DMTI Spatial Inc., a Canadian provider of location-based data solutions, has announced Neopost, a European mailroom equipment provider, has acquired it for an undisclosed sum. In an announcement on Thursday, DMTI Spatial said it'd be joining Neopost's data quality business unit, assisting with the company's customer and address solutions by providing geo-spatial data. Neopost is looking to ramp up its services in customer communications management and data quality and shipping solutions.
STA: National postal services operator Pošta Slovenije generated EUR 1.08m loss in the first eight months of 2013 due to a EUR 2.3m impairment related to shares of NKBM bank. Sales revenues in the period reached EUR 633m, the company said Monday.
Post & Parcel: Dutch postal service PostNL is raising its retirement age to 67, as part of a raft of changes to its under-funded pension system. The company has reached agreement with trade union negotiators on the arrangements, along with the PostNL/TNT pension fund Stichting Pensioenfonds PostNL, after "intensive" dialogue since December aimed at a "future-proof" approach to the pension deficit.
Washington Post: For Josefina Castellanos, it was a simple request to the D.C. tax office: Send the property tax bills for her rental home in the District to her new house in Virginia. But the mail never came. Instead, the tax office sent her bills to a wooded lot across from a strip shopping center five blocks away. By the time she discovered the mistake in 2010, a tax lien investor was already moving to foreclose in court. "Think about this: I was about to lose my house," she said. "You trust the government to do the right thing." Despite warnings from internal auditors, District tax officials are using property records riddled with errors, preventing bills and critical notices from reaching owners who have fallen behind on their taxes, The Washington Post found. Using the agency's address records, The Post mailed notices to more than 1,800 delinquent property owners this summer and found that nearly 400 — one in five — were returned as undeliverable. In some cases, the tax office had incorrect house numbers or missing unit numbers. In other cases, the owners' primary mailing addresses were long out of date. All of the owners had liens on their properties for sale at the July auction, with 171 sold on those with flawed addresses. [EdNote: Duh. Has anyone told the District about the practice of address hygiene? Helloooo Postal Service.]
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Docket No. R2013-10 -- "The American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO (APWU) hereby objects to the methodology used by the Postal Service in calculating workshare discounts in this price adjustment. The Postal Service has now split the single piece letter rate into a stamped letter rate and a metered letter rate and is calculating the discounts from the lower rate. The effect of this change is to adversely affect rates and services provided to users of postal services who do not take advantage of the discount rates. These discounts are, therefore, in violation of Sections 3622(e)(2) and 3622(e)(4)(C) of the Act. "
ITWire: Australia Post has announced record financial results. It ascribes the numbers to a continued growth in the digital economy – delivering products ordered on the Net.
Newsday: The U.S. Postal Service is proposing price increases next year including a three-cent hike in first-class stamps to 49 cents, the largest increase since 2002. The news comes on the heels of the Postal Service's recording a nearly $16-billion loss last year and expectations that it will end this fiscal year with a roughly $6-billion loss. The increases could put a crimp in the budgets of companies that do a lot of direct-mail marketing, requiring them to become more focused and targeted in their approach, say experts.
Codewit News: The Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) has concluded all arrangements to hold the third Nigerian Courier Summit in Lagos, where courier regulatory issues among others, would be addressed.
The Postal Regulatory Commission has adjusted its procedural schedule for the public to participate in proceedings surrounding the Postal Service's exigent rate increase proposal. The Commission issued Ruling No. R2013-11/1 outlining the new schedule.
Date Action Thursday, September 26, 2013 Filing of Exigent Request
Thursday, October 24, 2013 First Technical Conference- Taufique Thursday, October 31, 2013 Second Technical Conference* Thress Friday, November 1, 2013 Third Technical Conference - Nickerson. Friday, November 8, 2013 Deadline for filing suggested questions to be asked of the Postal Service during the public hearing (39 CFR 3010.65(c)) Monday–Wednesday Nov. 18, 19, 20, 2013 Public Hearings (39 CFR 3010.65(b)) Tuesday, November 26, 2013 Deadline for filing initial comments (39 CFR 3010.65(f)) Friday, December 6, 2013 Deadline for filing reply comments (39 CFR 3010.65(g))
October 20, 2013
Charleston Gazette: What if the Postal Service went belly-up, and the ubiquitous blue boxes and white trucks were gone for good? The idea is so sensitive that representatives of business and government were reluctant to discuss, even hypothetically, what a post-Postal Service world might look like. But some spoke of the difficulties that could arise - particularly in a state where many people still don't use the Internet. In July, a federal study showed that more than 35 percent of West Virginia households don't have a computer - the second-lowest rate of computer ownership in the United States. Just 59 percent of West Virginia households subscribe to high-speed Internet, according to the "Exploring the Digital Nation" study. "Many people want to see their bills arrive in the mail and their bills go out in the mail. Others prefer to get their bills online. Communications have changed over time," said Frontier Communications spokesman Dan Page, who said he still prefers to get paper bills delivered to his home.
The Independent: Vince Cable will appear before a powerful committee of MPs for an urgent hearing, following growing concerns that the coalition has privatised Royal Mail on the cheap. The Liberal Democrat Business Secretary will again face members of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee after they felt he had given "incredibly superficial" answers over the pricing of Royal Mail shares.
The Telegraph: As Britain enters week three of the great Royal Mail float farrago, it is worth remembering that when it comes to decisions in business and politics it is not a choice between the reality and Shangri-La. It is a choice between reality and the alternative.
Sunday Mail: You've got email... so when was the last time you wrote a letter? Read this brilliant account of a lost art...and weep.
October 19, 2013
New York Times: Over the past few months, the discoveries of two engineers have led to a steady trickle of alarms from the Department of Homeland Security concerning a threat to the nation's power grid. Yet hardly anyone has noticed. The advisories concern vulnerabilities in the communication protocol used by power and water utilities to remotely monitor control stations around the country. Using those vulnerabilities, an attacker at a single, unmanned power substation could inflict a widespread power outage. Still, the two engineers who discovered the vulnerability say little is being done.
The West Australian: Stamp prices are set to rise after Australia Post lost $187 million on traditional mail services. Australia Post says the number of letters delivered dropped by 263 million to 4.5 billion in the past year. An Australia Post spokeswoman said it costs more than 60 cents to deliver a letter, which contributed to the price hike. "The current price of 60 cents to send a letter anywhere in Australia is not an accurate reflection of the true cost for it to be delivered, nor in keeping with inflation," the spokeswoman said. "Losses in the letter business are expected to increase and we will continue to address ways of limiting the losses. An increase in the basic postage rate would naturally be part of this plan as we look to secure a future for our letters business, while ensuring we maintain all our Community Service Obligations (CSOs)."
The Motley Fool: Wall Street may be ignoring the continuing labor negotiations between the United Parcel Service and the Teamsters, but investors should keep a very close eye on these negotiations as they unfold. There remain 12 supplemental contracts still to be voted on, and if they can't come to an agreement, the national contract will not go into effect. Further, if these contracts don't pass after a third vote, it could lead to a strike in those specific locations.
BBC: The government ignored two banks that valued Royal Mail at £5 billion, far more than shares were sold for, the Financial Times has reported. At least two banks canvassed on the sale said shares would be worth up to £5 each, the FT claims. It was common practice to see government sell-offs priced at around 20% below full value so early investors are not penalised. [EdNote: Hmmm. It didn't work that way with Facebook.]
Statesman Journal: Following a handful of volleys, back-and-forth salvos involving Aumsville residents, the United States Postal Service and the city, the outcome is – status quo. USPS spokesman Pater Hass affirmed on Thursday, Oct. 17, that changes thought to be forthcoming in the Aumsville postal delivery have been tabled. The city's residents who receive their mail via free post-office boxes will continue to do so. Potential changes that evolved over the past several months indicated differently; either the postal service would deliver mail to clustered boxes on the street or charge residents $44 per year for a PO Box.
CBS2Iowa: In early August, representatives from the United States Postal Service (USPS) held a public meeting to announce plans to downsize and move the Iowa City Main Post Office at 400 S. Clinton to a smaller, less expensive location. They have now announced their top two site selections: Pepperwood Plaza on Highway 6E, east of K-Mart, is the preferred site, while 1925 Boyrum Street has been chosen as the alternate in case an agreement is not able to be reached for the Pepperwood location. A public comment period has been launched by the City of Iowa City to allow members of the Iowa City area community to submit feedback on the site selection.
The Park Record: Park City leaders in coming weeks are expected to decide how mail will be delivered in a section of Old Town, including the possibility of putting up so-called gang boxes in the neighborhood that would serve multiple households. City Hall and the United States Postal Service have held a lengthy discussion about mail delivery in the neighborhood and appear to be preparing for a decision. According to Matt Cassel, the Park City engineer and the staffer who has represented City Hall in the talks, the postal service has deemed a swath of Old Town as being eligible for home delivery. That part of Old Town has traditionally not received home delivery, making a free post-office box available to those households. As a result of the change, the households will not eligible for a free post-office box, he said, leading to the upcoming decision.
The State Journal-Register: Residents of this small Christian County community now have a new place to buy stamps and mail a letter. The Village Fast Stop, a convenience store at 315 W. Arch St., started operating Friday as the first Village Post Office in the county. The regular post office in Mount Auburn is still open, but the convenience store has longer hours and will be able to take care of basic postal needs.
The Vicksburg Post: The U.S. Postal Service is planning to place cluster mailboxes in Vicksburg residential areas and at retail centers in a measure meant to save time and costs.
From the Federal Register: Postal Service NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act , 62364 [2013–24723] [TEXT] [PDF]
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
Financial Times: Royal Mail was valued by investment banks at up to £5bn in June, 50 per cent more than the price at which the UK postal operator was sold to the public a week ago. The revelation will intensify criticism of the government's handling of the controversial flotation. MPs are preparing to grill its main adviser, Lazard, on the conduct of the £3.3bn offering at a hearing next month, in the wake of a public outcry and accusations by the opposition Labour party that a prime state asset has been sold on the cheap.
October 18, 2013
Fall Mailing Season Gets Rolling: This is the time of year when retailers, nonprofit organizations, and other mailers step up their holiday advertising mailing campaigns. Volume spikes in this period, known as the fall mailing season, which then gives way to the even-busier holiday mailing season, when personal correspondence and packages spike. The U.S. Postal Service makes most of its money for the year in the period between Labor Day and Christmas. Commercial mailers work closely with the Postal Service to help it prepare, but the fall mailing season has always presented operational challenges. In some ways, it is highly efficient because facilities are staffed for busy times. But postal equipment, including mail tubs, trays, mail transporting equipment, and pallets, have to be in the right places at the right times. In past years, commercial mailers have complained about shortages of mail equipment. Ideally, mail sorting equipment should run at optimal throughputs for maximum efficiency, and the online system mailers use to set up mail entry appointments should work seamlessly. Still, mail delays can occur for a variety of reasons, including mail processing errors, inefficient use of automation equipment, congestion on the facility floor, and working from incomplete operating plans. The Postal Service's fall mailing season plan attempts to eliminate roadblocks to swift processing and delivery. This year, it has ordered extra mail transport equipment and looked at ways to shift volume from heavily used equipment to under-used processing equipment. The Postal Service is also relying on the increased visibility from the Intelligent Mail barcode as a diagnostic tool to uncover bottlenecks. These tools helped it reduce mail delays in fall 2012 by showing "pinch points" and helping managers act on that information to reduce mail cycle times. This year, however, could prove especially challenging as the Postal Service continues with its network consolidation implementation. It has completed more than 150 facility consolidations and has moved more than 700 pieces of equipment in support of the consolidations. With the late date of Thanksgiving this year, the end of fall mailing season pushes right into the peak mailing season for the holidays.
New York Times: With the government reopened and a debt default averted for now, Congressional negotiators on Thursday plunged into difficult budget talks to avoid a repeat crisis within months, and quickly agreed to lower their sights from the sort of grand bargain that has eluded the two parties for three years. After approval late Wednesday of the agreement ending the standoff, the deal-making mantle shifted overnight from the leaders of the Senate to the Budget Committee leaders, Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, and Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, two less senior lawmakers who nonetheless could make very effective salespeople since they command loyal followings in their parties. The political pressure lifted as well, for now. The question of what a new House-Senate budget conference can deliver by its Dec. 13 deadline — in time for Congress to act by Jan. 15 on funding to keep the government open — remained the subject of deep skepticism, well earned by past failures at reaching so-called grand bargains for deficit reduction and spending investments in the past three years. With the scope of the talks narrowed for now, on the table are ideas left over from past, failed bargaining: possible reductions in other programs — like farm subsidies, federal pensions, the Postal Service and unemployment insurance — and relatively minimal tax loophole closings, possibly as little as $55 billion.
Wall Street Journal: Swiss Post traces its roots to 1849, when the Swiss Confederation replaced disparate cantonal postal organizations with a unified national postal system. By Swiss law, the group must provide both postal and payment transactions services. Reorganization has characterized much of the group's recent history. In June of this year, the group announced that postal and financial functions would be demerged into two public limited companies and that as part of that demerger, PostFinance would receive a full banking license. Pascal Koradi, chief financial officer of Swiss Post, told Risk & Compliance Journal how the group changed its approach to risk management in preparation for the banking license.
Financial Times: Barack Obama made a big mistake when he designed his healthcare programme. The president put his faith in computers – and as anyone of a certain age should know by now, these whizz-bang gizmos aren't all they're cracked up to be. Sure, they're great for kids' stuff. But if you are doing something adult – something for which you are paid money, for instance – doing it with a cell phone, a tablet or another contraption with software inside is an invitation to frustration and the inevitable advice from someone in the know to turn the thing off and then on again and see if that helps.The problem with Obamacare is that its creators couldn't resist putting the whole kit and caboodle online. We could cure much of what ails Obamacare today by simply turning back the clock and using old-fashioned methods. All the information about insurance plans and applications for medical coverage could be printed on paper, delivered by the US Postal Service, filled out by hand, processed by people and stored in secure metal filing cabinets in sturdy office buildings.
Australian News Net: Australia Post has delivered the federal government a $244 million dividend in 2012/13, but warns a decline in regular mail bodes badly for the business. The postal agency's $312 million after-tax profit, up 10.9 per cent on 2011/12, came via strong growth in online shopping, the purchase of the StarTrack parcels service and cuts to running costs.However, mail volumes continue to fall as more people turn to email. Australia Post now delivers one billion fewer letters per year than we did in 2008 due to the shift by both businesses and consumers to digital means of communication.
The Sudbury Star: Canada Post is expected to lose half its workforce in the next 10 years, due to attrition, and will need to cut costs to adapt to a rapidly changing market for mail delivery. The Crown corporation has around 60,000 employees across Canada, but half are due to retire in the next 10 years, and most will not be replaced. "Our revenue is declining quite a bit, but we still have the same cost structure," said Doug Jones, Canada Post's senior vice-president of delivery and customer experience.
Dead Tree Edition: For the first time I can remember, the U.S. Postal Service issued a formal response today to a Dead Tree Edition article, USPS Comes Up With Yet Another Way to Discourage Early Retirement. The response was submitted as a comment on that article.
Direct Marketing News: In an exclusive interview with Direct Marketing News, Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman expressed a firm belief that postal reform can be enacted by Congress in the coming months and that a 4.3% exigent rate increase can be averted. Extraordinary forces are aligning in the turbulent 113th Congress, noted the Capitol Hill veteran, that favor quick passage of postal reform.
TechVibes: Canadians now have the option to access their epost account through a free iPad app, Canada Post announced this week. The new app adds a greater degree of choice in how Canadians can access their epost account, through which they can receive, view and organize their bills, and statements, accordinng to Canada Post.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
Kokomo Perspective: Postal Unions against Carper-Coburn Bill Bill aims to phase out door-to-door delivery, eliminate Saturday delivery The postal bill that was introduced this summer by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has postal workers up in arms. The bill (S. 1418) that's designed "to improve, sustain, and transform the United States Postal Service," isn't going to accomplish that goal, said Pam Jones, member of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 533. "With the postal reform that is presently before Congress, it will affect every American because they want to eliminate door-to-door delivery. They want to eliminate Saturday delivery. It's a bad bill for the American public," she said.
National Association of Major Mail Users: Canada Post will hold its eighth Annual Public Meeting on October 23 at the Corporation's head office conference centre in Ottawa. Meeting registration will take place at 1:30 p.m. and the meeting will start at 2:00 p.m. Mr. Marc Courtois, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Deepak Chopra, President and Chief Executive Officer and Mr. Wayne Cheeseman, Chief Financial Officer, will present at this meeting. For those unable to attend in person, a webcast will take place at the same time. Webcast participants can submit questions by email, and responses will be given during the question period, time permitting. To register for the webcast or learn more about the meeting: http://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/aboutus/news/announcements/publicmeeting.jsf?ecid=murl07001141&LOCALE=en canadapost.ca/publicmeeting The session usually lasts about one hour and members are encouraged to participate as major stakeholders in the future of postal services in Canada. Kathleen Rowe President | email@example.com
October 17, 2013
The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:
At the Postal Regulatory Commission:
Scunthorpe Telegraph: Royal Mail employees in North Lincolnshire are among 1,500 in the DN postcode area to be handed a total of £5 million worth of free shares in the company. Each eligible full-time employee is entitled to 725 free shares, with an initial market value of £3,545.25. But, as The Lincolnite has reported, Royal Mail employees in Lincoln will strike next month as part of a dispute over pay, following the company floating on the stock market.
Progressive Railroading: The world's largest ground package sorting facility doesn't seem all that imposing from the road leading into the suburban Chicago complex. Known as the Chicago Area Consolidation Hub (CACH), the mostly one-story United Parcel Service (UPS) facility appears to resemble a conventional distribution center or warehouse. But a bird's-eye view of the 240-acre complex from the hub's employment office on a nearby hill reveals a gargantuan central building and 10 long and narrow "spokes" that house a seemingly endless row of overhead doors. Ten percent of UPS' entire volume nationwide is handled at the hub, which processes packages that are sent to more than 90 percent of the company's 1,160 domestic facilities and touch every U.S. address. It's an understatement to say the CACH is a vital facility for the world's largest package delivery company, which processes 16.3 million parcels each day using more than 96,000 vehicles, and employs 323,000 people in the United States and 76,000 overseas.
The Epoch Times: If the British can do it, then the Yanks can do it as well. So after the news that the British government would privatize a large portion of the Royal Mail hit, talks of privatizing the U. S. Postal Service (USPS) resurfaced. The real reasons behind the push, however, might have to do with the company's real estate portfolio.
CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:
Royal Mail made a furious debut at the stock markets. On last Friday, the first day of the conditional trade, which was reserved for institutional investors, the share price climbed by nearly 40% compared to the offering price of 3.89 euros.
Now, it is agreed: 70% of Portugal's CTT Correios de Portugal are already to be sold in December this year.
Posten Norge is searching for a new co-operation partner for its postal bank.
After PostNL forwent compensation payments for the provision of the universal service in 2011 and 2012 (among others CEP-News 27/13), the Dutch post now plans to file an application for 2014.
Italy shows how to utilise state-owned companies as political tool these days. To rescue the again crisis ridden airline Alitalia, Poste Italiane is due to invest 75m euros into the carrier in the course of a capital increase.
The Irish government is backing the use of individualised codes for the introduction of postcodes.
With a verdict from the beginning of October, the Krakow appeal court opened a multi-million business for privately run postal operators. In the future, courts and prosecutors are not allowed to include a condition in their tenders concerning registered mail (including an advice of receipt), that the carrier has to proof the despatch process with an official seal.
DPD plans to open own parcel shops in Russia. Logistics portal »Trans-Port« (14.10) reported that DPD plans to set up its own shops, pick-up points and drop-off locations in ten cities initially. The goal was to offer parcel recipients more flexibility given the growth of e-commerce.
InPost, the subsidiary of Polish mail and CEP service provider Integer.pl now launched its service in Romania, too.
A Master thesis at the University of Amsterdam provides a first glimpse on how much consumers are willing to pay for a fast delivery. The author Michel Heikamp concludes in his thesis 'Service delivery pricing in E-fulfillment', that consumers in the Netherlands are willing to pay 2 euros more for a delivery within 24 hours compared to a lead-time of two to five days. Above this amount, a majority prefers a lower delivery time.
As expected, members of the US union Teamsters have approved the new framework collective agreement with DHL.
Austrian Post wants to become the number one on the Turkish market together with parcel service Aras Kargo.
The Russian post could go public within three to five years. This at least is the opinion of communications minister Nikiforov.
French La Poste is apparently testing a programme for the comprehensive introduction of 3D printers.
The announced auction of properties of Spanish Correos will begin on Thursday this week (CEP-News 27/13). Interested buyers can make an offer for one of the 111 properties across the country until November 21.
Malaysia Post's share price soared by nearly 60% since the beginning of this year.
Australia Post will equip all its deliverers with handheld scanners. With these devices, a real-time track & trace service will be available.
The Mexican post plans to make yet another effort to stand on its own feet. Yuriria Mascott, the new general director who just entered her office at the beginning of this year, plans to win customers back from privately run service providers.
The British post's branch network found a partner for the first of the 70 Crown Post Offices to be outsourced. Last week, Post Office Limited announced that book and magazine retail chain WH Smith would take over 16 of the remaining 373 top offices.
The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)
Furniture World: Among multi-channel retailers that rely on mailing everything from full catalogs to postcards to prospect for and draw customers to stores or ecommerce sites, the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) proposed rate hike of 5.9 percent, the largest since 2007, has driven many to evaluate less expensive alternatives. With the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) having up to 90 days to rule on the proposal, the price hike could go into effect as early as January 27, 2014, if approved. In an open letter posted on its site, the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) further warned that the PRC can apply the increase differentially to each class of mailer, which could include a surcharge on Standard Flats used to send full sized catalogs that could be as high as 10-12%. For many multi-channel retailers, simply paying the higher mailing rates is not an option. Instead, early feedback suggests that many intend to reduce catalog circulation and send frequency, or turn to less expensive forms of mailing such as mini catalogs, or digital promotion methods including search, email, display and social media advertising.
The Independent: Royal Mail staff are to strike early next month in the latest chapter of a long-running dispute over workers' rights between the unions and the newly privatised company. Postal workers belonging to the powerful Communication Workers Union (CWU) will strike on 4 November for 24 hours after securing a 78 per cent backing in the ballot for industrial action.
Attention Postal One! Users: On October 20, 2013, the Postal Service will deploy software to enhance the Intelligent Mail Full-Service initiative. We are offering webinars to share key information on the enhancements and how these changes can benefit mailers. Learn how participating in Full-Service can provide you with a waiver on paying the annual permit fee. Gain knowledge on how you can use Postal Wizard to submit Full-Service Periodical and Bound Printed Matter mailings and find out about the significant enhancements in Mail.dat and Mail.XML, for example, mailers are now allowed to submit logical pallet and tray information for presort mailings. Join the webinar to hear details on these exciting enhancements and many more! The webinars will be offered on the following dates:
October 16, 2013
Hampton Roads Pilot: Somewhere in an upstate New York warehouse are piles of colorful postage stamps that may never grace an envelope. Chances are, they're headed for a shredder, all because of idiotic political correctness.
Postal Technology International: Almost one third of citizens in the Nordic countries shop online at least once a month according to PostNord. Denmark tops the list with the most people buying online each month, while consumers in Norway spend the most.
Attention Postal One! Users:
Mobifriendly: The United Nations just released a report that in just a few short months, 40% of the world or 2.7 billion people will have online access, much in part to mobile broadband.
The Verge: Verizon Wireless is ensuring its online customers can get new phones into their hands as soon as possible. The company has announced that a same-day delivery program is now live in Philadelphia, allowing customers to place orders online by 10AM on any weekday, and have their order guaranteed to arrive no later than 7PM that same night.
The Verge: What if sending money was as simple as sending an email? That's the premise of Square Cash, launching today for all debit card users in the US, using any email service. To use Square Cash, all you do is compose an email to a friend, type the amount you way to pay in the subject title, and cc firstname.lastname@example.org. If it's your first time using the service, you're directed to Square's website where you type in your debit card number — and you're done. There are no accounts to create, apps to download, friends to add, surcharges to pay, or bank account numbers to look up.
IFAOnline: Royal Mail shares have fallen in early trading as investors take stock of their positions following the huge surge in the share price of the group over the last few days. Shares in the group are currently down 2.8% or 13.75p at 475.25p, having soared yesterday to a peak of 491p.
ITV: Nearly three quarters of British adults (72%) expect postal services will be more expensive after Royal Mail's privatisation, the ITV News Index carried out by ComRes has found.
Bloomberg: FedEx Corp. (FDX) surged to the highest in more than six years after the operator of the world's largest cargo airline authorized a buyback plan of as many as 32 million shares, its biggest repurchase program ever. The stock jumped 4.1 percent to $120.08 at the close in New York, the highest since February 2007. The shares touched $122.50 in intraday trading for the highest price on that basis since the Memphis, Tennessee-based company's initial public offering in 1978.
Dead Tree Edition: Amidst all of the postal reform proposals that went nowhere the past few years, the one tactic that has definitely worked for the U.S. Postal Service is getting employees to retire early. The tactic would work even better if the Postal Service stopped confusing or misleading potential retirees – by providing them with incomplete or just plain wrong information about what their retirement benefits will be. Just think how much greater the savings would be if the Postal Service could just do what is commonplace among large businesses – provide accurate and timely retirement information to its employees.
The Telegraph: Ms Greene discussed the issue of stamp prices in the wake of the privatisation. Interviewed by Sky News, she compared Royal Mail with other countries in the EU and said its prices were "low to middle of the spectrum". Asked if that meant a price rise was imminent, she replied: "Well, we didn't raise stamp prices last year." Royal Mail is allowed to increase prices of second-class stamps in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation. But there is no such cap on first class stamp, currently 60p. Ms Greene insisted the company had to "retain the loyalty" of its customer base, but also "stay competitive".
New York Times: Yahoo, once the biggest seller of display ads, has been ceding share of the display advertising market for years. This year, its share is expected to fall to 7.7 percent, from 8.6 percent share last year, while Google and Facebook's share of the market is expected to grow to 17.4 percent and 17 percent, according to eMarketer. The market is getting more competitive with the advent of advertising exchanges, which allow advertisers to instantly buy advertising placement across a broad range of Web sites, which pushes down prices that online sites like Yahoo can charge. Even as Yahoo increased the number of ads it sold by 1 percent last quarter, the price per ad declined 7 percent.
The Guardian: The Royal Mail is offering a £300 bonus to any of its 150,000 staff who cross the picket line in any forthcoming nationwide postal strikes. Moya Greene, its chief executive, wrote to all employees before Wednesday's strike ballot result to offer the sum if they continue working while colleagues are out on strike.
The Guardian: Royal Mail boss Moya Greene has called for "protections" from strikes as more than 100,000 postal workers prepare to announce plans for industrial action that could take place as soon as 23 October.
October 15, 2013
Canada NewsWire: Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that the Canadian Union of Postal Workers has paid a penalty of $50,000 and Union Calling Inc. has paid a penalty of $65,000 as part of settlements over violations to the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. The CRTC's investigation found that the Canadian Union of Postal Workers failed to identify itself or provide its contact information in robocalls made to residents of Ontario. The union hired a company, Union Calling Inc., to deliver pre-recorded messages between May 21 and June 26, 2013 regarding the possible closure or downsizing of post offices in certain communities.
Yahoo! News: As the world turns.... The New York Times Co. has rebranded its Paris-based daily, the International Herald Tribune, as the International New York Times — a bid to lure readers abroad amid the upheaval of the digital era facing traditional newspapers. Europe editor Richard W. Stevenson said the rebranding is really about going digital and reaching out to readers abroad.
New York Times: As the world turns.... Hurricane Sandy devastated this barrier island community of multimillion-dollar homes, but in Peter Flihan's view, Verizon Communications has delivered a second blow: the telecommunications giant did not rebuild the landlines destroyed in the storm, and traditional telephone service here has now gone the way of the telegraph. Verizon said it was too expensive to replace Mantoloking's traditional copper-line phone network — the kind that has connected America for more than a century — and instead installed Voice Link, a wireless service it insisted was better. Verizon's move on this sliver of land is a look into the not-too-distant future, a foreshadowing of nearly all telephone service across the United States. The traditional landline is not expected to last the decade in a country where nearly 40 percent of households use only wireless phones.
Save the Post Office: And now, for something completely different....wrong...but different. "The path to postal nirvana: An entitlement program for the mail industry." As you read the article, remember the admonition of Margaret Thatcher -- The trouble with a socialist is that eventually he runs out of his ability to spend other people's money.
Macauhub: Mozambican postal company Correios de Moçambique is about to leave behind the crisis it had faced since 2009 because of a downturn in demand for postal services, said company director Valdemar Jessen cited by daily newspaper Notícias. A focus on diversification of its services had improved the situation in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, the company posted a small loss after investing in the refurbishment of its real estate assets, information and communication technologies a transport.
IFRAsia: The Portuguese government has hired local bank Caixa Geral and JP Morgan to run an IPO of up to 70% of the country's postal service CTT, likely to complete in December. Banks took part in beauty parades at the beginning of the year, with a view to an M&A privatisation. However, Portugal's economy minister Antonio Pires de Lima has told Reuters that Royal Mail Group's successful IPO and that of Belgium's bpost in June of this year has resulted in a strategy shift towards a public markets solution to nationalisation. The minister said that "the public offering will carried out by the end of the first week of December…We have recent signals from other operations in this field of postal services in England and Belgium, which makes this path recommendable".
The Telegraph: Profit for Royal Mail investors as shares soar to a new high on the stock market Royal Mail shares leapt to a new high of 490p as official trading began in the City, valuing the 500 year-old postal operator at nearly £5 billion.
October 14, 2013
Insider Australia: Textbook rental service Zookal has embarked on a joint venture with University of Sydney engineers to deliver parcels via robotic, flying drones. The new company, Flirtey, is currently seeking regulatory approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority with a view to piloting the new delivery service at the University of Sydney next month. Flirtey was co-founded by Zookal CEO Ahmed Haider and Matthew Sweeny of software company Vimbra. A company spokesperson said Flirtey drone delivery would cost businesses $2.99 per delivery, compared to $29.95 for same-day postal delivery in Australia.
2Mercato: Ethiopian Postal Services Enterprise and DHL Ethiopia signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly use delivery networks.
Forbes: Banks face flat-line growth in online banking unless they can persuade customers to do more on their bank sites rather than going to billers Online banking adoption is flat because it is saturated. Banks have been sitting there on legacy services and haven't upgraded. Right now they have to recognize how fast the whole mindset is changing. They have to adapt to providing services not only in mobile, but then they have use what they learn in mobile to reinvent and invigorate their online service. The trouble for bankers is that online doesn't have a clear and attractive return on investment, he added. This is not a new story in banking; each new channel from ATM to drive-through to credit and debit cards and then online and mobile, has added costs without getting rid of other channels.
Forbes: Dueling mobile payment platforms were on display at Money2020 in Las Vegas last week, both offering substantial information to merchants and the ability to deliver coupons to consumers in addition to handling transactions. Participants get a secure SIM card to put in their phone and then they can use it at merchants with contactless (NFC) terminals. Mike Abbott, CEO of Isis, whose Android-based mobile wallet is supported by a partnership of AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, said Isis will make it easy for customers to load their American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa cards into their phones. CapitalOne, which had been part of the partnership has dropped out and Apple does not support NFC.
Post & Parcel: Swiss Post's digital identity service SuisseID is now being used in online share trading activities for the first time. The national postal service in Switzerland has signed the online banking and trading company Swissquote Bank SA to use the electronic proof of identity service it launched back in May 2010. SuisseID will offer a secure login for the online bank's 200,000-plus customers, and will also be used in confirming transactions.
Financial Times: Appetite for Royal Mail shares was still in evidence on Monday, although the wider market remained flat as wary investors awaited signs of a breakthrough in the stalemate in Washington over the US budget.
Interfax: Russian Post could go public in three to five years, Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said on his Twitter account on Monday.
The Guardian: Postal workers push ahead with strike plans over pay and conditions Postal workers union says staff concerns are about longer term issues not Friday's 38% rise in the price of free shares.
Bloomberg Businessweek: If you were ask the average American to invest in the U.S. Postal Service, you would get a puzzled response. After all, the USPS lost $15.9 billion last year. Taking an equity stake in such a business would probably strike most people as a sure way to diminish one's net worth. Then again, it might be quite lucrative. Consider the outcome of the highly anticipated initial public offering of the Royal Mail (RMG:LN) on Friday in the U.K. Investors were so hungry for shares of the 360-year-old postal service that the stock price rose 38 percent on the first day. In short, there is still enormous value in a business most Americans consider doomed.
Post & Parcel: Russian Post has promised to increase the salaries of postal workers across the country in what it describes as the first large-scale pay rise for four years. The federal postal operator said it has started this month with employees in production within 17 branches, including mail carriers, call centre staff, sorting workers, drivers and postmasters. The first pay increases will come in regions where there is the most significant gap between postal salaries and average income in the local labour market. Russian Post is anticipating salaries increasing by at least 15%, extending to about a third of all its staff – more than 100,000 people.
October 13, 2013
Reno Gazette-Journal: Do it already. Close the Sun Valley post office. Three years ago, the Sun Valley branch had 380 box holders. Now it has 200, all of whom qualify for street delivery. The sale of stamps and other services has dropped 40 percent. It's a dying post office and should be put out of its misery. What we really don't understand is opposition to the plan by U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev, who last year voted against a bill that would've helped the U.S. Postal Service avoid closing post offices. Heller seems to want postal cuts in the abstract but not when they affect his own constituents. This smacks of posturing.
October 12, 2013
Yahoo! Finance: Britain's postal service, the Royal Mail, has just joined the private sector as part of an effort by the U.K. government to raise cash to help pay down its debts. By selling a majority stake in the mail to investors through an initial public offering, the U.K. government has transformed a bureaucratic operation into a for-profit company overnight, one that must survive by competing in the market. It also earned at least $2.7 billion on the sale. There's been a lot of talk about doing the same thing with the U.S. Postal Service to help solve financial woes that include $41 billion in losses since 2006 and a business model that's about as current as a 22-cent stamp. It's extremely unlikely to happen, however. "The U.S. Postal Service is nowhere close to being ready to be privatized," says Richard Geddes, a professor in the Cornell University Department of Policy Analysis and Management. "I wouldn't say it's impossible, but it would be well into the future at a minimum." That's because America's postal service has plunged into such a state of disrepair that it is perhaps the most troubled mail service of any developed nation.
The Guardian: Why moan? The Royal Mail flotation went well The shares were priced well, many investors were enticed into the ring and the markets responded favourably
Jamaica Gleaner: Residents of Green Island, Hanover, are expressing displeasure that two years after ground was broken for a new post office in the town, the building is still incomplete and they have been without postal service for more than two years.
China Economic Net: Sanctions against Cuba are causing losses to the island nation's postal services, the official Granma newspaper said Friday. As direct flights to the United States are banned, Cuba has to send mail via a third country even though the U.S. state of Florida is merely miles away, said the paper. Direct mail services between the two countries were canceled in 1963, at a time when Washington decided to tighten economic sanctions against Havana. The two countries have been in contact for the resumption of direct postal links, but not agreement has been produced so far.
Direct Marketing News: The United States Postal Service was recognized for the Digital Communication Innovation of the Year by U.K.-based Postal Technology International in its recently released 2014 Annual Showcase. The annual awards are chosen by a panel of 17 postal executives from around the world. USPS was lauded for incubating growth in digital-hybrid mailings by offering marketers 3% discounts if they included QR codes in their pieces.
Coastweek: Kenya will develop a legal and policy framework to build a competitive postal industry, a senior government official said on Wednesday. Information Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i told journalists in Nairobi that a robust postal and courier network will provide vital linkages between online traders and consumers.
Wall Street Journal: Teamsters union members at some local bargaining units again rejected parts of their master contract with United Parcel Service, prolonging the package and delivery giant's labor headaches as it enters the busy holiday season.
Business2Community: Way, way, way back in ye olden days of yore (2011), Amie wrote about the United States Postal Service and the many terrible things that were happening to it. That particular article posited that most of the difficulties being faced by the Post Office were a direct result of its customer service policies that were – and still are – lacking. Although many things have changed in the world, one thing remains constant: the USPS is still pretty messed up.
New York Times: There was "Touched by an Angel," and now comes "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," so named, presumably, because someone realized that "Touched by a Postal Carrier" might send the wrong message. The film, Saturday night on the Hallmark Channel, is about a group of quirky Postal Service workers in a dead-letter office who do the detective work necessary to deliver mislabeled, mangled and otherwise hard-to-process pieces of mail. When those letters find their mark, the results are life-changing, a sort of divine intervention with a stamp. The movie is already slated to become a series.
Wall Street Journal: Shares in Royal Mail soared on their first day of trading, rising 38% above the U.K. government's original offer price. The rise will likely fuel criticism the government undervalued the company.
The Telegraph: Martin Forsythe, campaign manager for Save Our Royal Mail, says the future looks bleak for the postal service, which he claims may have been undervalued by as much as 80 per cent.
Overview of Market Dominant Pricing Thursday, October 17, 2013 1:00 PM (EDT) This webinar will focus on the recent market dominant price filings. It will cover timelines, key structural changes and provide an overview of the proposed promotional calendar. In addition, we will highlight proposed price changes in First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services, Extra Services and International Mail. Important—this webinar will be repeated on October 18 and 22
Philly.com: Conservatives in the U.S. have to be looking longingly at the English, who earned the equivalent of $2.75 billion this week by privatizing their postal system and then selling its shares in an IPO. Portugal now plans to do the same thing, but hopes to retain a minority share. By comparison with the British, our postal service defaulted last week on a $5.6 billion payment for retiree health benefits, is forcing a 3-cent hike on stamps and wants to end Saturday mail delivery. Is privatizing the U.S. postal service - the same institution the British and then Congress started in this very city with Benjamin Franklin at the helm - the answer to its woes?
October 11, 2013
Attention Postal One! Users: Two PostalOne! October (R36) Release webinars are being offered to our customers. Each session will include information on upcoming changes to PostalOne! along with Support for Full-Service mailings, the Mailer Scorecard, Permit Fee Waiver and Qualification Report enhancements. To attend, either click the link below or paste it into your browser.
U.S. Postal Service: The USPS has published their Jan 2014 price change mailing standards on Postal Explorer.
New York Times: The Financial Times, signaling a tighter focus on digital publishing, plans to stop printing regional editions and produce only a single global daily newspaper. As part of that move, Financial Times reporters are to put increasing emphasis on writing for the news organization's Web site, which has become central to the company's fortunes as more of its readership turns to online sources for breaking news. Falling advertising and revenue, and a decrease in newspaper subscriptions, have prompted publications to find new sources of income.
Print Week: Royal Mail shares began conditional trading this morning at 450p, up more than 36% on their 330p offer price. The CWU, which is currently balloting its members for strike action against the privatisation, staged a demonstration outside the London Stock Exchange this morning, with demonstrators dressed as robbers with swag bags representing "private investors being allowed to steal public assets". CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: "The massive jump in the share price confirms that the government and its expensive city advisors got the pricing structure wrong and have undervalued this treasured national institution. "The taxpayer has lost out immediately and we all now face an uncertain future for our postal services which will be run for profit instead of public service. Privatisation is about greed."
Financial Times: Suzanne Bowen, an elderly assistant at the local pharmacy in Bristol, a gritty town on the outskirts of Philadelphia, leans over the counter and purses her lips when she is asked about the government shutdown. "Service members are not going to get paid but those bastards are getting theirs?" she says. "I blame all of Congress." Republican leaders on Capitol Hill looked to be in retreat by the end of the week as they negotiated with the White House to break the impasse that has threatened a default of US debt and shuttered the government. But it was not just next week's debt ceiling deadline that prompted the apparent change of stance. Americans' growing frustration and anger about the endless bickering in Washington, which is aimed at Republicans mainly, is raising questions about whether the party will pay a heavy price for their aggressive tactics in next year's congressional elections, especially in towns such as Bristol that are seen as bellwethers for the nation.
Post & Parcel: Facing high banking fees and difficult access to bank branches, Canada needs postal banking, according to a new report from the think tank Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. As Canada Post continues to debate its future identity in the era of declining letter volumes, the Ottawa-based policy research institute said that postal banking should be resurrected in Canada because traditional banking was not meeting all the banking needs of Canadians. Providing postal banking through post offices could help millions of Canadians get a better deal out of their accounts and better access to financial services, the report suggested.
Post & Parcel: he Portuguese government confirmed yesterday that the Council of Ministers has approved plans to sell 70% of national postal operator CTT Group. The government said in a statement yesterday that it will float the company through both an Initial Public Offering on the domestic stock exchange as well as a direct sale to a syndicate of financial institutions for subsequent distribution of shares through the capital markets. The plan will see 5% of the shares reserved for CTT employees and joint venture partners. These shares will be made available at a 5% discount from the price set for the general public by the Council of Ministers. The government said yesterday that the Council of Ministers has also approved formation of a new special committee to oversee the privatisation process.
Post & Parcel: All postal workers in Brazil were due back at work yesterday (10th October), after the country's top labour court ruled on a new labour contract. The Superior Labour Court ended a month of partial strike action following a hearing on Tuesday, after two months of haggling over a new collective bargaining agreement. The court forced union groups to accept Brazil Post's latest proposal for an 8% pay increase.
4-Traders: Escher Group recently completed installation of its Riposte software for New Caledonia Post, unifying multiple Post locations throughout the expanse of islands and consolidating all transactions at one data center. With long-time partner OPT, the designated postal operator of the French overseas territory, Escher Group completed the implementation of 180 workstations across 37 branches. Today, Escher Group's software supports over 1,000 OPT employees and services over 245,000 inhabitants of the archipelago.
In These Times: A diverse slate of local leaders pledging to take a firmer hand with management, increase transparency about contract details, collaborate with other postal unions and community groups, and mobilize members has just won national leadership of the American Postal Workers Union. The stakes couldn't be higher for postal workers, who are battling wave after wave of attacks—post offices and sorting plants closing, work privatizing, delivery standards eroding. The latest nasty bill pending in Congress would kill Saturday letter delivery, replace door-to-door with curbside and neighborhood "cluster box" service, and ban workers' time-honored no-layoff clause from future contracts. "We have not seen anybody at this point able to stop the postmaster general," said Szeredy, a local president in Mid-Hudson Valley, New York, who has organized other local leaders to oppose plant closures. Plus, the union made dramatic concessions in 2010—including a three-tier system that funnels new hires into low-paid, perma-temp positions. "It's a regressive contract that takes us back 30 or 40 years," said McKinnon, a local president in Fayetteville, North Carolina. "We have to try to stop the bleeding." The new team will bargain the 2015 contract.
Daily Express: Shares were priced at 330p last night with the firm valued at £3.3billion ahead of the stock entering the market this morning. City analysts said the price of shares could soar to between 400p and 500p due to the huge demand. IG chief market strategist David Jones said: "People have got memories of how well these Government sell-offs did back in the Eighties and Nineties. With those there were decent windfall profits on the first day."
Save the Post Office: The first exigent rate request was turned back by the Commission because the Postal Service had not done enough to explain how much of the losses it had suffered were "due to" the Great Recession — the "exceptional or extraordinary circumstances" cited to justify the increase. The renewed request for an exigent rate increase contains plenty of data addressing how much the Postal Service has lost "due to" the recession — over $50 billion in revenues from 2008 to 2012, nearly $17 billion in 2012 alone. The Commission and the stakeholders will focus a lot of their attention on the lost-revenue analysis and the legal justifications for an increase, but one of the most basic questions about the rate increase is not whether it'ss justified. The question is, will it actually work? Will it succeed in generating more revenue? The mailers argue that higher rates will drive away so much volume that the net result will be less revenue, not more. In the materials submitted with the request for a rate increase, the Postal Service therefore provides a detailed analysis of how volumes and revenues would be impacted in order to show that revenues will increase as predicted.
The Economist: So why is the Royal Mail being privatised now? The British government claims privatisation will give the company access to private capital and improve its competitiveness. The need for more investment is urgent. Changing demand for postal services have transformed its business model. Privatisation also offers the government other benefits. A privately owned Royal Mail would mean that future disputes with the Communications Workers Union over postmen's pay and conditions might cause less political damage to ministers. The sale will also help Mr Osborne meet his deficit-reduction targets; this week's sale will produce up to £2 billion for the Treasury. A privatised Royal Mail would be less likely to be a liability in the future, as it would be harder to justify a public bail-out if it got into financial difficulties.
Heritage Foundation: The United States Postal Service (USPS) is in trouble. The problems are not simply a result of faulty accounting rules for postal pension plans as some have suggested. The market for paper mail is rapidly shrinking, caused by the growth of digital communications, which has eroded almost every category of mail ranging from personal letters to bill payments. Fundamental changes are needed to enable the USPS to survive, including consolidation of facilities and reduction in the number of days that mail is delivered. But Congress is blocking the needed changes. Instead, Congress should lift restrictions on postal reforms, while also lifting limits on competition with this government-owned enterprise. The likely result of inaction will not be the preservation of the status quo, but the collapse of the Postal Service—or massive subsidization by taxpayers.
HPC Wire: The US Postal Service (USPS) is upgrading its supercomputing and big data analytics capabilities once again to boost efficiency and fight fraud. A recent article at Federal Computer Week reports that Maryland-based FedCentric Technologies has been awarded the five-year $16.7 million contract to super-size the agency's computing infrastructure. The USPS already has an impressive 16 terabyte in-memory computing system, located in Eagan, Minn., that checks 528 million mail pieces per day against a database of 400 billion records. The big data system has been a huge success, so much so that FedCentric Technologies was selected to build four more similar supercomputing systems at the Eagan facility, further improving the quality and quantity of data coming through USPS networks. The new big data dynamos will perform some 2 billion scans per day in real-time, comparing package data, such as carrier and routing information, weight and size, against existing records. The current in-memory system provides the USPS with new levels of "visibility, reporting, sortation, fraud detection and deterrence," according to Kolosvary, and the upgrade will boost these abilities even more.
The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:
Mintel Comperemedia: The recent recession caused dramatic changes to the banking industry. While those changes created challenging situations for industry players, it created opportunities for others. Because of rapid technological advancements and new industry players, Mintel Comperemedia is tracking is "alternative banks" entering the market. In the first 8 months of 2013 20% of the checking and savings direct mail was from direct banks, compared to only 4% in 2012. Comperemedia research has also seen significant changes across marketing channels—direct mail, email, online and print—in recent quarters, partially due to activity from alternative banks. Acquisition direct mail volume for new checking and savings accounts is on the rise in 2013, making the marketplace even more competitive than in the past, with mail volume for the first 8 months of this year 26% higher than in 2012.
Yahoo! Finance: A survey sponsored by Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ) and conducted by the Ponemon Institute – the 2013 Cost of Cyber Crime Study – revealed that the rate of cyber crimes and the cost of prevention are on the rise for the fourth consecutive year. Ponemon Institute conducts research on privacy, data protection and information security policies. According to the study, enterprises on an average have spent $11.56 million for cyber crime protection which has increased 26% from the 2012 level. Moreover, the rate of cyber attacks per week has increased from 102 in 2012 to 122 so far this year.
The Verge: During the height of the dot-com bubble, a gaggle of services like Kozmo, Webvan, and UrbanFetch promised to let customers order anything off the internet and have it delivered in less than an hour. It didn't matter whether you ordered five bags of groceries or a can of Coke: there was no extra charge. These companies raised gobs of money, expanded like mad, and went kaput faster than a bike messenger could hand-deliver you a pack of gum. They became a cautionary tale of hubris and excess, the punchline of a startup joke. But in the last year the market for rapid, same-day delivery has suddenly heated up again. Big names like Amazon, Google, and eBay all expanded these offerings to shoppers and even small e-commerce startups like The Fancy, which has just 50 employees, now offer same-day delivery in 100 cities around the globe. A host of companies like Zipments, Postmates, and Deliv have scored more than $16 million in funding to help any business, no matter how tiny, offer the same rapid-fire delivery as the tech titans. And Kozmo rose from the dead after a decade-long hiatus, promising to "fullfil your online order incredibly fast, and on-demand." Is this the sign of another bubble in tech startups or has the technology and infrastructure to deliver this dream finally come of age? Actually, the biggest motivation behind the on-demand delivery renaissance is being driven by a massive change in strategy from the 800-pound gorilla of e-commerce, Amazon.
October 10, 2013 World Post Day
Financial Times: Italy's state-controlled Poste Italiane, the postal services group, has been tapped by the coalition government to acquire a stake in Alitalia in a last-ditch effort to avoid the national carrier going into bankruptcy for the second time in four years.
NASDAQ: Shares in the U.K. postal service Royal Mail will be priced at 330 pence each ($5.28), at the top of end of the government's original guidance.
Indypendent: A diverse slate of local leaders pledging to take a firmer hand with management, increase transparency about contract details, collaborate with other postal unions and community groups, and mobilize members has just won national leadership of the American Postal Workers Union. The Members First Team, headed by now President-Elect Mark Dimondstein, won seven of the nine seats it contested, the APWU announced last night. The stakes couldn't be higher for postal workers, who are battling wave after wave of attacks—post offices and sorting plants closing, work privatizing, delivery standards eroding. The latest nasty bill pending in Congress would kill Saturday letter delivery, replace door-to-door with curbside and neighborhood "cluster box" service, and ban workers' time-honored no-layoff clause from future contracts. "We're at a crossroads," said Dimondstein before the election. "At the core of this whole struggle is whether the post office is going to be decisively privatized and turned over to profit-making entities and low-paid, non-union jobs—or remain a public entity that serves all the people and maintains good-paying union jobs."
Standard: The Postal Corporation of Kenya has set out to leverage technology to face stiff competition from social media and other courier service providers.
Wall Street Journal: Beginning this month, the Postal Service is piloting the use of tablet-based retailing to Post Offices, reducing lines and speeding basic services. In the future, smart mobile post offices hosted on phones and tablets could help mail carriers and consumers transact Postal services "on the go." Someday Postal carriers could potentially provide full "door step" package services like home pickup, on the spot shipping calculation and payment, tracking and "electronic" delivery in a fully paperless environment using automated USPS delivery vehicles.
How Intelligent is your Mail? Tuesday, October 22, 2013 3:00 p.m. (EDT) This webinar will focus on the value that the Intelligent Mail barcode information brings to mailers and marketers. Using real life Case Studies and Best Practices, a panel of industry and postal leaders will explain how to use available data to track mail, meet compliance requirements, know when to send out additional notices, activate call centers or email campaigns and more. Your mail is sure to "get smarter" using the new Intelligent Mail tools! Attendee Direct URL: https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=994755957 WebEx Event number: 994 755 957 Audio: (888) 890-1547 Tele-Conference Audio ID: 83530179
Financial Times: People who bid for large amounts of shares in the Royal Mail flotation are likely to face the prospect of coming away empty-handed after the offer was heavily oversubscribed.
Press Release: UPS® announced the launch of UPS Standard to Mexico, a general service offering that provides customers with a guaranteed economical option for ground package delivery south of the U.S. border. UPS is the only logistics provider in the U.S. to offer to its customers guaranteed, door-to-door, small package ground service to Mexico. This service is also now available from more than 4,300 The UPS Store locations across the United States or by scheduling a pickup through UPS. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, trade between the U.S. and Mexico has increased 113% over the past ten years, with more than $1.35 billion in cross-border commerce taking place every day.
American Postal Workers Union: Press release on the election of a new APWU president.
Postalnews Blog: COO Megan Brennan has appointed Kristin Seaver as acting Capital Metro Area VP. Since 2011, Seaver has served as Northeast Area Operations Support Manager. She held the same role for Eastern Area. She also served on a detail as Eastern Area VP of Area Operations. Seaver holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Post & Parcel: Polish post and parcel delivery company Integer.pl Group has begun installing its automated parcel locker machines in Romania.
Voice & Data: Telstra has said that it has entered into an agreement with Australia Post to provide the national postal network with leading machine-to-machine (M2M) tracking technology. Australia Post will introduce 26,000 hand held scanners across their postal network to improve parcel tracking for its customers.
MSN UK: Who will own the Royal Mail? The government is selling 52.2% of the company to institutional investors and private individuals, putting the value for the Treasury of the privatisation at £1.7bn. More than 100,000 applications have come direct from members of the public, who lodged requests ahead of Tuesday's midnight deadline. Royal Mail staff will be given 10% of shares at no cost, although they will have to hold onto them for up to five years to avoid triggering a tax liability on the sale. The Post Office and its branches are not for sale. Shares will begin full trading next Tuesday.
China Daily: The market value of China's express delivery industry will reach 400 billion yuan ($65.3 billion) by 2020, Ma Junsheng, head of the State Post Bureau, said on Wednesday. The revenue will represent an eight-fold increase on 2010, Ma said, the fastest growing segment of the postal services.
The Guardian Nigeria: The Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) has developed a draft National Addressing System Policy that would help to link every household, irrespective of locations in the country, to a unique identifiable address using international standards.
This Day: The Post Master General of the Federation, Mallam Ibrahim Mori Baba, Wednesday said the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), recovered N23 billion between 2011 and 2012 through interception of physical inspection of mails documents and postal packets transmitted through NIPOST offices across the country. He added that it was worthy of note that the use of NIPOST as a conduit pipe for the movement of drugs, arms and ammunition had become a thing of the past.
This Day: The Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST) Wednesday expressed its readiness to collaborate with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by deploying its vast postal network across the country for effective implementation of the cashless policy. Postmaster- General and Chief Executive Officer, Mallam Ibrahim Mori Baba said that "posts around the worlds are diversifying their products and services to better meet customers' needs for reliability, speed and security. As e-commerce grows, they are positioning themselves as the delivery service of choice for good ordered online. There is no doubt that posts remain important facilitators of national and international trade in this constantly evolving world. "This is a logical step because of the postal network's vast reach. The postal network remains the largest physical network in the world and a fundamental infrastructure that enables large segments of the economy to function", he said.
Daily Trust: Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) yesterday declared that post service remains an important part of business as well as vital facilitator of national and international trade.
International Business Times: Royal Mail has cautioned British politicians that it is likely that the struggling group will employ fewer people following its stock floatation that will push it into privatisation.
Fleet Owner: United Parcel Service (UPS) is planning to invest some $50 million to build nine liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling stations-- which will be additions to its current network of four-- with all the stations expected to be fully operational by the end of 2104.
The Star: Pos Malaysia Bhd's future growth prospects and possible special dividend could be the reasons behind the counter hitting an all-time high last week and registering an almost 57% jump in share price year-to-date.
October 9, 2013
Labor Notes: A diverse slate of local leaders pledging to take a firmer hand with management, increase transparency about contract details, collaborate with other postal unions and community groups, and mobilize members has just won national leadership of the American Postal Workers Union. The stakes couldn't be higher for postal workers, who are battling wave after wave of attacks—post offices and sorting plants closing, work privatizing, delivery standards eroding. The latest nasty bill pending in Congress would kill Saturday letter delivery, replace door-to-door with curbside and neighborhood "cluster box" service, and ban workers' time-honored no-layoff clause from future contracts. "We're at a crossroads," said Dimondstein before the election. "At the core of this whole struggle is whether the post office is going to be decisively privatized and turned over to profit-making entities and low-paid, non-union jobs—or remain a public entity that serves all the people and maintains good-paying union jobs." Past President William Burrus, who retired in 2010, endorsed them. Burrus has been publicly critical of the contract his successor negotiated, especially the reduced wages for the next generation of career employees. Retirees made up about 20 percent of eligible voters. Vital issues facing them, Dimondstein said, include a looming assault on the federal employee health plan and "defending six-day delivery—which all of us need as customers, and the older we get the more we need it."
Bloomberg Businessweek: Donahoe has another problem: a new cadre of employee union leaders who are more stridently opposed to his efforts than their predecessors. Yesterday, the American Postal Workers Union, which represents 220,000 USPS employees, said insurgent candidate Mark Dimondstein had defeated incumbent President Cliff Guffey in a race that the union itself descrbed as "hotly contested." Dimondstein received 26,965 votes, Guffey 21,007. Six other members of Dimondstein's Members First Team were elected along with their leader. Dimondstein and his running mates have called for Donahoe's ouster, accusing him of trying to "destroy" the USPS. They have promised to launch "a national coordinated plan" to fight plant consolidation and post office closures. "We're at a crossroads," Dimondstein told LaborNotes in September. "At the core of this whole struggle is whether the post office is going to be decisively privatized and turned over to profit-making entities and low-paid, non-union jobs—or remain a public entity that serves all the people and maintains good-paying union jobs." It's not clear how Dimonstein thinks the USPS, which lost $15.9 billion in 2012, will survive if it doesn't reduce its costs. Postal worker unions have often said that the USPS's woes are largely the fault of a 2006 law requiring the agency to prepay its retiree health benefits.
Attention Postal One! Users:
BBC: The Irish government is to introduce a new national postcode system by 2015. Under the plan, a unique, seven-character postcode will be allocated to every letter-box in the state. Irish Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said: "The Irish code will be the first in the world to be unique to each individual address." Unlike UK postcodes, the Irish postcode will not only help to identify the area and the street address, but it will also identify each individual property.
American Postal Workers Union: Mark Dimondstein was elected the new president of the American Postal Workers Union in a hotly-contested race that ended Oct. 7. His "Members First" team won most of the offices they sought, defeating incumbents. The newly-elected officers begin three-year terms on Nov. 12. A swearing-in ceremony will be held Nov. 7.
Digital Journal: The reintroduction of postal banking in Canada would offer access to financial services not now available to many Canadians, says a study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). According to the study, by independent researcher John Anderson, the traditional financial banking sector is not meeting the needs of all Canadians. There are many Canadians in large regions of the country not served by banking institutions and an estimated 3% to 15% of Canadians do not have a bank account.
CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:
Royal Mail apparently doesn't have to pay taxes to the Treasury in the next years. According to the recently published prospectus, the post's carried forward tax reliefs amount to 3.3bn euros due to losses over the last years. As the post expects profits in the future 'these tax reliefs will be carried forward and may be utilised in the future', the prospectus reads.
The Portuguese government allegedly plans to partially privatise the post in an IPO. At least 50% plus one share are to be offered in the country's first IPO since 2008.
Japan Post will deploy its first overseas unit in the middle of this month. The Shanghai based subsidiary is aimed at supporting Japanese companies seeking to enter the Chinese market or export their products to China.
Who could succeed Poste Italiane's head Massimo Sarmi? Francesco Caio is often named as Sarmi's potential successor these days. Currently, he is CEO of GE Group's subsidiary Avio Aero. A succession by one of the post's current board members on the other hand is deemed highly unlikely.
Swiss Post apparently has teething troubles with its SMS postage stamp, which was launched around four weeks ago. Using the SMS postage service, customers can request a code via a text message that is then written on a letter or a postcard and serves as proof of payment. However, a test by tabloid »Blick« (06.10) now proved that letters can be sent with fake codes and the post did not demand any subsequent payments.
The Irish post prevailed in the tender for the state-owned lottery licence.
Corruption apparently is firmly rooted in the South African Post Office.
PostNL wants to further stimulate growth in the booming e-commerce with a new service option. Selected online traders will be able to offer the delivery of goods ordered on weekends already on Monday.
Ceska Posta has postponed the introduction of its parcel terminals. According to the initial plan, the test run was scheduled to start in the fourth quarter this year (CEP-News 16/13). Apparently, the post wants to avoid teething problems during the Christmas trade.
60% of Finnish online shoppers are poised to order groceries via the Internet.
DPD wants to co-operate with Hermes regarding the handling of return shipments in the UK. The new Homecall Returns service is available since Monday this week. Thereby DPD customers can drop off their return parcels in one of the around 3,000 Hermes shops across the country.
CitySprint, arguably Britain's largest same day network (turnover 2012: 119m euros, +36.1%) announced yet another acquisition. Last week, the company reported the takeover of Bullit Couriers based in the sea resort Brighton. Therefore, the numbers of acquisitions already conducted this year increases to five.
Now, India Post wants to set up parcel terminals, too. According to a recent tender, the post wants to 'automate the parcel booking and delivery process, thus giving a flexibility to customers to get their consignments booked & delivered at time of their convenience'. The parcel terminals are also to be equipped with a payment function.
The mail volume in Portugal's postal market dropped considerably in the second quarter. Last week, the regulatory authority Anacom reported that compared to the same quarter last year, mail volume fell by 9% to 223.2m items. CTT Correios remained the dominating company with a market share of 94.9%. No other service provider gained a market share above 1%. Portugal's mail market was fully liberalised in spring 2012.
The International Post Corporation's E-Parcel Group, which was founded in 1996, now counts 31 members. Virtually all European postal operators and the US post are organised in the network, which was established to faciliate the exchange of crossborder parcels.
The French post will raise its postage at the turn of the year.
October 8, 2013
The Verge: Some of the biggest names in tech are banding together to help bring affordable internet access across the globe. Tech giants including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and Intel are launching the Alliance for Affordable Internet, a group — also composed of government agencies and aid organizations — that hopes to help the United Nations' Broadband Commission meet one of its most ambitious goals: seeing internet become accessible throughout all developing nations by 2015, while costing no more than 5 percent of their respective citizens' average monthly income.
Financial Times: The Royal Mail flotation is set to become one of the most sought-after state sell-offs since the privatisation of British Telecom and British Gas in the 1980s following huge investor demand that left the offer heavily subscribed at its close on Tuesday night. Despite the threat of strikes by postal workers and criticism by Labour that taxpayers are being short-changed, the coalition is close to selling a majority stake in the near 500-year-old Royal Mail – the fourth attempt to privatise it in 20 years.
Universal Postal Union: On World Post Day, tomorrow 9 October, UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein urges governments to support postal reform efforts to ensure the provision of efficient postal services.
KMPH: A Fresno mail carrier has been fired for throwing away mail. The United States Postal Service says the mailman admitted he threw away letters about "Obamacare." People who live at a Central Fresno apartment complex snapped pictures of the inside of the dumpster filled with mail about "Obamacare". Witnesses say the mail was dumped in the garbage by their mailman.
eCommerceBytes: Asendia USA, the nation's leader in international mail and parcel services, is pleased to announce its partnership with Endicia, the leading provider of postage technology solutions, for parcel processing services. Asendia USA is a trusted USPS PQW (Postal Qualified Wholesaler) and the nation's largest USPS postal consolidator. This partnership allows Endicia users to take advantage of Asendia USA's deeply discounted USPS international shipping services, including IPA, ISAL, PMI, EMI and ePacket, while utilizing Endicia's processing system to prepare and print shipping labels.
PostCom Members! The latest issue of PostCom's Executive Summary of Postal Issues is available on this site.
The latest issue of Market Flash, IPC's bi-weekly newsletter providing a comprehensive look at new developments emerging in international postal industry is now available. Economy express is the new norm says FedEx. Consumers seek more control over e-Commerce deliveries ■ Mailers urged to use data and digital technology ■ Canada Post announces e-Commerce innovation winners Philippe Wahl is the new chief executive of La Poste ■ French e-Commerce sales grow by 16% ■ PostNL optimistic about operating income ■ UPS begins operating parcel shops in Germany ■ Chronopost joins Portugal's SME digital programme ■ DPD UK launches a deliver-to-neighbour option ■ Swiss Post offers free authorisation for third-party parcel collection ■ UK Mail's parcels volume leans further towards consumer delivery ■ Sustainable solutions needed for city deliveries ■ FedEx extends its domestic overnight service ■ DHL UK moves out of domestic same-day delivery ■ Fashion supply chains need to be more sophisticated eBay ■ UK trials click-and-collect service for its e-retailers ■ Swiss Post subsidiary buys direct marketing delivery company ■ Itella Information subsidiary in partnership with SWIFT ■ UK Co-op stores join Hermes' parcel shop network
Dead Tree Edition: What's Weighing Down the Postal Service?
Los Angeles Times: Congress should make up its mind: Either it wants the Postal Service to be a government agency under its thumb, which would require federal subsidies, or it wants a self-sustaining operation, in which case it has to loosen its micromanaging grip.
Yahoo! Finance: "Deutsche Post DHL Supports Indonesia's logistics Vision 2025 with Multi-million Dollar Development Strategy."
Techhive: Pay TV as we know it will be dead by 2025, and this is how it will happen. [EdNote: It isn't just the Postal Service that's had its business disrupted by the internet.]
Reuters: Britain is on track to sell shares in Royal Mail at the top of its range, two sources close to the deal said, valuing the postal service at more than $5 billion (3 billion pounds) on the final day that investors can put in orders. Despite the threat of strike action from delivery staff and criticism from opposition lawmakers, the government is close to completing the sale of a majority stake in the near 500-year-old Royal Mail - the fourth attempt to sell off the postal service.
Macauhub: Portugal's government plans to sell most of the capital of CTT-Correios de Portugal on the stock exchange in a privatisation operation that should be completed by the end of the year, the Portuguese press reports.
The Atlantic: Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, took to Twitter Monday to propose replacing Obamacare with an array of subsidized, state-based, market-driven comprehensive health-insurance options that are not linked to employment and don't penalize people for having pre-existing conditions. If Issa's replacement ideal sounds a lot like Obamacare, it's because so many components of the Affordable Care Act were based on ideas originally developed on the right. Rebuilding Obamacare based on conservative market principles gets you ... something not that different from Obamacare. Issa's plan would be better than the one passed into law in 2010, he insisted, because it would be based on the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan. Yet that plan is far more generous to consumers than Obamacare and would likely cost the government more were it extended to the uninsured population as a whole. [EdNote: Which makes you wonder....So exactly why are we shutting down government, and why can't things be fine-tuned as the need for fine-tuning becomes more apparent?]
October 7, 2013
The Guardian: The government will bow to a mounting outcry and ensure the public do not lose out to banks, hedge funds and other financial speculators in the £3bn selloff of Royal Mail shares. The Guardian understands that ministers are making plans to increase amount of Royal Mail shares available to the public at the expense of those set aside for banks, following overwhelming demand in the biggest privatisation since the sale of the railways in the 1990s. Michael Fallon, the business minister in charge of the flotation, said he would do all he could to ensure "smaller investors get their fair share", ahead of Tuesday's midnight deadline to buy stock.
Gizmodo: Today, nearly half of the world's total population has potential access to some kind of 3G or 4G network, which is five times the level of mobile coverage we were at just five years ago. Unfortunately, not all mobile broadband is created equal—especially where price is concerned. According to a new report released by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that measured the monthly cost of 500MB of pre-paid, mobile-broadband data, developed countries are the proud owners of the most affordable mobile-broadband in the world... sort of. While Austria comes in at a $4.70 per month, the mobile-broadband dark horse of the developed world, the United States, hits a staggering $85. [EdNote: Pardon me as I gasp.]
KLFM: The directors of Royal Mail have declined the offer of free shares to employees after coming under pressure from Government officials, Sky News understands.
Geelong Advertiser: Geelong will suffer slower mail services and lose jobs as Australia Post looks to cut letter delivery costs, unions have warned. The postal service yesterday admitted it was considering centralising processing functions in country areas, a move that could mean Geelong mail is sorted outside the city. The Communication Workers Union says Geelong mail could be diverted to Dandenong for sorting. Australia Post says those plans only apply to "non-local" mail but said it was too early to say whether all letters would also be sent out of the city. The union and Australia Post met in a Fair Work hearing late yesterday as tensions about the planned cost-cutting escalated.
The Independent: The Government is giving up Royal Mail for £600m less than it is worth, according to City forecasts that reveal private investors stand to pocket an instant return of up to 25 per cent.
Campaigns & Elections: "Political Mail is Evolving: Important Changes to Political Mail and Why You Should Add Mail to Your Campaign Marketing"
NJ Today: To support the business community and bolster the local economy, postal officials are hosting a free Grow Your Business Day seminar on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 11:30 a.m. at the Avenel Post Office at 1065 Rahway Avenue. The one-hour session is designed to show local business people how to grow revenue with Every Door Direct Mail, a cost effective direct mail service for marketing products and services to local customers. [EdNote: Yes, the very same EDDM the Postal Service has now discovered is under-priced.]
Postalnews Blog: Linn's Stamp News reports that the US Postal Service will destroy the entire press run of a stamp series aimed at getting children to be more active. According to Linn's reporter Bill McAllister, three of the stamps in the fifteen stamp series raised safety concerns among sports figures on the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. The stamps in question depicted children performing a cannonball dive, skateboarding without kneepads, and doing a headstand without a helmet. The unsafe depictions came to light after USPS Marketing chief Nagisa Manabe asked Michelle Obama to take part in a first day ceremony for the stamps. That was apparently the first time the stamps had been reviewed by the Sports Council.
According to PostCom President Gene Del Polito: "Coburn got it wrong on the monopoly."
The latest issue of Postal Technology International can be found at: http://ukipmemail.com/_act/link.php?mId=B8718884157765539741142542428&tId=163322808
Full-Service Intelligent Mail October Webinar Schedule. Effective January 26, 2014 the use of Full-Service Intelligent Mail is required to qualify for automation prices for First-Class® postcards, letters, and flats, Standard Mail® letters and flats, Periodicals® letters and flats and Bound Printed Matter® flats. The Postal Service is offering a series of webinars which are designed to assist mailers with participation in Full-Service Intelligent Mail. To join the webinars click on the links below no more than 15 mins before the start of the webinar. For additional information about these webinars or Full-Service Intelligent Mail please visit the RIBBS –USPS National Customer Support Center website at ribbs.usps.gov
New York Times: The executives, appearing during the annual conference of the Association of National Advertisers, urged their peers to recognize that the pace and scope of technological and societal changes — described as "crazy" in two presentations — required what one speaker called a "constant reinvention" of marketing. Marketers must acknowledge they are operating in "a new era, a customer era," he added, one in which "the consumer is in control" and decides what hits or misses.
Wall Street Journal: Twitter's data business has rippled across the economy. The site's constant stream of experiences, opinions and sentiments has spawned a vast commercial ecosystem, serving up putative insights to product developers, Hollywood studios, major retailers and—potentially most profitably—hedge funds and other investors. Backed by millions of dollars in venture capital, hundreds of "social listening" firms have emerged.
Wall Street Journal: For some advertisers, 218 million people isn't a big enough audience. Ad buyers say that the short-message service will need significantly more users, and a bigger sales force, to win more spending from their mass-market clients. [EdNote: Hey advertisers! Have you thought about the mail? Guaranteed delivery to every person in the nation. It reaches all of America...and more.]
Wall Street Journal: Everyone is seeing the shutdown through a certain prism, and the best you can do is know the prism is there, allow for it and do your best to keep it from distorting your vision. Both sides made big mistake the past 10 days. Americans are seeing this stuff, and they know who's causing it. Both sides have been hurt: The American people don't want a government that's shut down, they want a government that works. [EdNote: Is that really too much to ask?]
The News Virginian: The biggest threat to newspapers today might be newspapers themselves — or, to be more precise, the companies that own them. This week Gannett's USA Today doubled its cover price from one dollar to two. Can you think of any other struggling business that would raise prices 100 percent? The U.S. Postal Service, similarly threatened by digital alternatives to its core business, is proposing to hike the price of a First Class stamp from 46 cents to 49. How many people, even those who eschew email, would continue mailing letters if the price was immediately doubled to 92 cents? Gannett, along with several other newspaper groups, is effectively throwing in the towel on its printed products. The apparent strategy is to extract as much circulation revenue as possible from a small group of diehard readers, with little regard for the damaging effects to the product itself. Meanwhile, publishers wait and hope for digital advertising revenue to increase beyond current levels.
Financial Times: Royal Mail shares are likely to rise more than 20 per cent on their first day of trading, according to bets placed ahead of the offering, reflecting strong demand for the privatisation.
The Sunday Times: Royal Mail may pay no tax in Britain for the next five to 10 years after building up a giant backlog of tax credits. The expected tax holiday has revived the row over the privatisation of the state-owned postal service. Royal Mail will reveal final details of a £3.3bn flotation on the London Stock Exchange at the end of the week. Tens of thousands of small investors are understood to have applied to buy shares. The tax break is revealed in the fine print of the prospectus, which says that Royal Mail has built up £2.8bn worth of tax losses. It can offset future tax bills against this amount. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing. The practice of using tax relief from previous years' losses is well established.
Yahoo! News: Fears have been raised over small-time investors buying shares in Royal Mail, as big City firms are set to buy the majority of those on offer. Hedge funds and City banks are allowed 70% of the shares being offered in the majority sell-off of the postal delivery firm. City investors have also been tipped to make up to 40% instant profit amid claims that the business has been undervalued by more than a third.
IFA Magazine: The Royal Mail has been undervalued by as much as 1bn pounds in its privatisation, according to Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna. Thousands of investors on Sunday night rushed to buy shares in Britain's postal service ahead of Tuesday's midnight deadline. Investors are expected to reap a profit of up to 40% in the sale. The government is selling just over half of the firm, with 70% of shares reserved for UK banks and institutional investors. A 10% stake in the business has been reserved for Royal Mail employees. Labour's Umunna told BBC Radio 4 that the sale is ‘short-changing' taxpayers.
The Telegraph: Stockbrokers were preparing to open late on Monday and Tuesday — the final day for applications — to cope with demand ahead of the biggest government flotation for two decades. The late surge for shares comes as ministers have been accused of offloading the mail service on the cheap, enabling City speculators to make millions from the sell-off. Royal Mail's shares are priced at between £2.60p and £3.30p each but are expected to be valued far higher than that when trading starts next week. Analysts at Panmure Gordon said the company was worth up to £4.5 billion — well in excess of the current upper valuation of £3.3 billion.
The Scotsman: It's a measure of the chastened times we are in that reaction to the imminent offer for sale of shares in Royal Mail has been subdued and guarded. The razzmatazz that surrounded the giant privatisations of the 1980s is absent. Too many disappointments, too many stock market slumps and too many reports of privatised utility fat cat bonuses have jaded public -enthusiasm. The positives – greater competition, keener attention to customer needs and useful total return gains for pension funds – have been obscured by short-termism, director remuneration feather-bedding and ultimately sell-off to overseas owners of what we were encouraged to regard as important national assets.
October 6, 2013
Moderate Voice: The biggest threat to newspapers today might be newspapers themselves — or, to be more precise, the companies that own them. This week Gannett's USA Today doubled its cover price from one dollar to two. Can you think of any other struggling business that would raise prices 100 percent? The U.S. Postal Service, similarly threatened by digital alternatives to its core business, is proposing to hike the price of a First Class stamp from 46 cents to 49. How many people, even those who eschew email, would continue mailing letters if the price was immediately doubled to 92 cents? Gannett, along with several other newspaper groups, is effectively throwing in the towel on its printed products. The apparent strategy is to extract as much circulation revenue as possible from a small group of diehard readers, with little regard for the damaging effects to the product itself. Meanwhile, publishers wait and hope for digital advertising revenue to increase beyond current levels
Belfast Telegraph: Royal Mail is reportedly expected to enjoy a five to 10 year corporation tax break thanks to building up £2.8 billion in credits from previous years' losses.
October 5, 2013
Corporate Crime Reporter: Ralph Nader wants Senator Diane Feinstein (D-California) to introduce legislation to put a halt to the sell off of United States Postal Service (USPS) buildings around the country. In a letter, Nader calls on Feinstein to "introduce and champion a bill to immediately suspend all sales of postal properties throughout the country." Why Feinstein? As it turns out, Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum, is chairman of the C.B. Richard Ellis Group (CBRE), which has an exclusive contract to negotiate the sale of USPS real estate.
Belfast Telegraph: The Royal Mail has been accused of "desperation" after offering postal workers £300 if they do not go on strike over the controversial privatisation of the company.
DeadTree Edition: The hand wringing about the U.S. Postal Service's broken "business model" doesn't fool us. The "dot com" at the end of "usps.com" doesn't fool us. The nagging of politicians and pundits who say USPS should operate more like a business doesn't fool us. Despite all the talk about the Postal Service being a business, regular people understand it has the soul of a government agency and in fact is not allowed to act in a businesslike manner. Here are nine examples of how USPS is not like a real business.
Post&Parcel: The Universal Postal Union has teamed up with the international non-profit PlaNet Finance to help Posts improve financial inclusion in in West Africa. Most of the funding for the three-year project has come from a EUR 1.5m grant from the European Union, with the goal to help Posts in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Mali develop better money transfer services. The project builds on the UPU's existing electronic postal money transfer platform, using software provided by its Postal Technology Centre. It has been launched officially today in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Around 200 post offices in the four African countries are expected to be equipped with electronic payment terminals under the project. These will allow staff in rural areas to provide money transfers more effectively, instead of having to deal with a call centre at an urban centre. The UPU said it would also be working to improve financial services by auditing post offices to review management procedures.
Financial Times: Camelot Group, the operator of the UK lottery, is part of a consortium that has been selected as preferred bidder to run Ireland's lottery following a bid of €405m for the licence. Camelot, which is owned by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, has partnered with Ireland's state postal company, An Post, and the An Post pension fund to form a joint venture company, Premier Lotteries Ireland. This company will operate the lottery licence for 20 years in a process that will in effect privatise Ireland's 26-year lottery franchise.
Financial Times: Strong demand for Royal Mail shares ahead of its flotation will almost certainly mean that investors do not receive the full stake in the company they apply for. Details of the way the government and advisers will allocate shares if the offer is oversubscribed will not be released until the offer closes next week. But it is expected to involve either a pro rata system or the provision of a flat number of shares per investor.
Direct Marketing News: Last week the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) was given 90 days to decide on the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) request for an 4.3% exigent rate increase, but the PRC stands closed today as part of the federal government shutdown. If the shutdown lingers, the PRC's deadline could be extended, but mailers are at work mulling contingencies surrounding the proposed increase.
October 4, 2013
Fierce Government: Two Postal Regulatory Commission nominees called for Congress to adopt legislation that would reform the way the Postal Service provides healthcare to retirees, during an Oct. 2 Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee confirmation hearing. "There's no doubt legislative changes are needed to put the Postal Service on sound financial footing," PRC nominee Tony Hammond said. And reforming the way the Postal Service pays into the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan would be a big one, he said. PRC nominee Nanci Langley agreed that allowing the Postal Service to set up its own way of providing retiree healthcare would be financially beneficial to USPS because of its unique workforce.
Post&Parcel: The latest new members of the IPC's eParcel Group are Croatian Post, which joined this summer, and Cyprus Post, which joined last month. Brussels-based IPC said today that the group of parcel partners, which includes some of the world's biggest postal operators such as Deutsche Post, Royal Mail and the US Postal Service, has been one of the "success stories" within parcel delivery and e-commerce.
Attention Business Customer Gateway Users: The Business Customer Gateway/eAdmin Release 7.0 will be deployed to Production on Sunday, October 27 from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. CT. The release will be completed in rolling fashion with no planned outages.This release will include additional enhancements in the BCG application. Release Notes for the Business Customer Gateway/eAdmin will be provided prior to deployment.
The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:
Post & Parcel: PostNord Logistics TPL, the third party logistics arm of the Scandinavian postal operator, has signed a multi-year deal to provide distribution for the Prime Wine Group. The parent company of Sweden Post and Post Danmark said the five-year contract extension will see it supporting the "very rapid" expansion of the wine importer's business in the Swedish market.
Financial Times: High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email email@example.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5ec1dba2-2cd7-11e3-8281-00144feab7de.html#ixzz2gkaAzAwb Demand for shares in Royal Mail, the UK's state-owned postal service, is high enough for the government to sell them near the top of its hoped-for price range, potentially valuing the company at up to £3.3bn. Bankers handling the sale told institutional investors on Friday that the range for the flotation is expected to be between 300p and 330p per share, compared with original guidance of 260p-330p.
Post & Parcel: The Universal Postal Union has teamed up with the international non-profit PlaNet Finance to help Posts improve financial inclusion in in West Africa. Most of the funding for the three-year project has come from a EUR 1.5m grant from the European Union, with the goal to help Posts in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Mali develop better money transfer services. The project builds on the UPU's existing electronic postal money transfer platform, using software provided by its Postal Technology Centre.
Post & Parcel: The annual price cap for the US Postal Service and the current regulatory approvals system for postage rates in the United States has been "effective", US lawmakers were told yesterday. As the US Senate held a hearing to confirm two continuing Postal Regulatory Commissioners, Nanci Langley and Tony Hammond, they were told that the world's biggest government monopoly needs independent regulatory oversight to ensure it operates efficiently. The comments came as Langley and Hammond were asked their views on the comprehensive postal reform legislation being developed by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee with the goal of rescuing USPS from its current financial crisis. Yesterday Commissioner Langley agreed it was appropriate to debate the rate-making system as postal reforms are developed, since USPS has not been able to retain its revenues under the present system. However, she warned that many of the monopoly mail services provided by USPS have a "captive audience" who may not have easy access to alternatives, and that in such a situation a price cap was "proven public policy" to provide those customers with protection.
The Independent: It could be a bad heir day for Royal Mail. The postal giant has admitted it may lose the right to use symbols of the monarchy including the E II R royal cypher on post boxes and the crown on stamps after its £3bn privatisation, while Prince Charles' image may never appear on future stamps.
Tampa Bay Times: Evidence does suggest that the old model of a government-run mail service is disappearing. Twenty-five of the European Union's 27 nations have repealed their postal monopolies and set up corporate entities to deliver the mail. Private investors own 100 percent of the Netherlands' post office and substantial stakes in its German, Belgian and Austrian counterparts. We Americans like to contrast our brand of free-market capitalism with the more socialistic European model. In the postal business, the Europeans are way ahead of us in embracing a capitalist solution.
Post & Parcel: Portugal's postal market has seen its volumes drop 9% year-on-year in the most recent quarter, according to the regulator ANACOM. The total traffic of postal services reached 223.3m items in the second quarter of 2013, 12.6% less than the first quarter.
October 3, 2013
FCW: The U.S. Postal Service has tapped an acting CIO to replace Ellis Burgoyne, who retired Oct. 1. James Cochrane, formerly vice president of USPS's product information department, will temporarily replace Burgoyne, according to an announcement from Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. Like his predecessor, the Postal Service's only CIO to emerge internally, Cochrane has already had a lengthy career at USPS.
Attention Postal One! Users:
Seeking Alpha: UPS has been making some significant efforts to remain ahead of its competitors since it started the "Pain in the (Supply) Chain" healthcare survey in 2008 to analyze the growth prospects of its healthcare distributions solutions business. According to the survey, 59% of the 441 healthcare executive respondents will rely on third-party logistics partners since their biggest concern had been product protection during transit. Companies in the forwarding and logistics industry can expect significant revenue from providing healthcare distribution solutions to the healthcare device manufacturing companies.
Wall Street Journal: The government shutdown is worse than bad for business, says Stephen Fenwick, CEO of DHL Express Americas, a unit of Deutsche Post DHL. That's because "great uncertainty is far, far worse than when things are declining or on the way up. Uncertainty makes it very difficult to plan." And he says the problem is a challenge not only for DHL but for all businesses. "At least if you know things will go bad, you can plan for it," the logistics chief says. "Uncertainty is far more of a distraction than an upturn or downturn."
PRNewswire: Evite (www.evite.com), the leader in digital invitations and social planning since 1998, today announced the introduction of Evite Ink, a new service which allows users to create invitations that Evite will print on demand and mail directly to guests. According to results from an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Evite in September 2013, over 67 million* Americans find buying stamps to be the biggest nuisance when mailing out physical invitations. In response, Evite created this service to remove the legwork of party planning so hosts and event planners can have the freedom to invite their friends and loved ones to events however they would like: online, offline or both.
The Garden Island: Newspapers have had to adjust to survive in this world of instant news. The Postal Service must do the same. It must continue to make adjustments. Eliminating Saturday delivery will help cut costs. Closing more post offices will have to happen. Hours can be reduced. Sadly, the workforce, which is smaller than years past, will have to be reduced further. Let's face it. We like our post offices. We like our carriers, too. We all have our share of good feelings toward the Postal Service and what it represents. It's part of our past, our present and we want it to be part of our future. The Postal Service is important. It's a key player in our economy. There is a place for the Postal Service. But not in its current model. It can't continue to lose billions every year.
Post & Parcel: French national postal service La Poste is set to increase its postage rates on average by 3% from the New Year. The state-owned company said the price increase was needed to help it maintain a high quality universal postal service, but falls within its normal price cap as regulated by the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communication and Post (ARCEP). [EdNote: Imagine that. Even the French have a postal rates price cap, and La Poste manages to live with it. Here in America, however, there are those in Congress who would prefer to deregulate entirely a post operated by a government agency under the protection of two statutory monopolies. So....Exactly, who's French?]
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: FedEx Smart Post Inc. is moving its headquarters from New Berlin to Brookfield, leasing an office building that's been vacant for over three years. FedEx Smart Post is now at 16555 W. Rogers Drive. The company will continue to use that facility as a processing center after the offices relocate in early 2014, according to a statement issued Wednesday by FedEx.
Election of Officers and Directors -- Congratulations to PostCom's newly elected officers for 2014-2015: Wendy Smith (Publishers Clearing House), Chairman; Dan Emens (JP Morgan Chase) Executive Vice Chairman; Wanda Senne (World Marketing), Secretary; and Mark Mandell (Intelisent), Treasurer. Congratulations also to those who were elected or re-elected as Directors of the Associaiton: John Campo, Endicia; Brian Cowart, Disabled American Veterans; Lynn Engel, Fairrington Transportation Corporation; Paul Kovlakas, Pitney Bowes Software; H. Don Landis, Arandell Corporation; Kathleen Baker, Sprint; Maynard Benjamin, Envelope Manufacturers Associaiton; Debbie Cooper, Brown Printing; Richard Eaton, Highlights fo Children; Dan Emens, JP Morgan Chase; Charles Howard, Harte-Hanks; Joe Lubenow, Lubenow and Associates; John Medeiros, DHL Global Mail; Richard Porras, Newgistics; Ernie Rojas, Pitney Bowes; Mury Salls, DST; Joe Schick, Quad Graphics.
October 2, 2013
Tech Crunch: Postmaster, the Austin-based shipping API startup that helps its users send and track FedEx, UPS and USPS shipments, announced a number of new features and a new pricing model today that will make the service free for its users who make fewer than 50,000 API calls and send fewer than 5,000 packages per month. Customers who send more pay $0.05 per shipment (with discounts for high-volume shippers) and the service now also features discounted rates for shippers who use USPS.
The Guardian: The privatisation of Royal Mail could lead to a reduction in the number of days that letters and parcels are delivered – despite the government's guarantee of a six-day service, it was claimed on Tuesday. At a Guardian fringe event at the Conservative conference sponsored by Save Our Royal Mail, Mario Dunn, the organisation's campaign manager, said that the privatisation of Royal Mail would lead to a reduced and more expensive service, particularly for people in rural parts of the country, the more challenging areas where deliveries are made.
FCW: The federal government's first cloud-based identity management pilot will be hosted by HP Enterprise Services. Under the subcontract, HP Enterprise Services Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) for U.S. Public Sector will provide the cloud computing horsepower necessary to offer millions of users and organizations secure online access to multiple federal agencies and online services through existing, approved third-party digital identification credentials.
Today, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) convened the hearing on the nominations of Hon. Nanci E. Langley and Hon. Tony Hammond to be Commissioners of the Postal Regulatory Commission.
"The committee will come to order to consider the nominations of Tony Hammond and Nanci Langley to be members of the Postal Regulatory Commission. As my colleagues and those following this hearing certainly know, these are very challenging times for the United States Postal Service.
"This week, while so many other vital federal services are shutdown, the mail continues to be delivered. Absent legislative action, however, the Post Office may face a similar fate unless Congress can get its act together. The Postal Service has maxed out its credit line with the Treasury and is rapidly running out of cash. Despite an improving economy and some positive signs from some parts of its business, its immediate future is unfortunately not very bright. Absent legislative intervention, the Postal Service will likely limp along for a few months unable to invest for the future, with its employees and customers uncertain of what that future holds. It can only limp this way for so long.
"It's up to those of us on this committee and the rest of our colleagues in the Senate and House to do what we need to do to avert a postal shutdown, a shutdown that would threaten the jobs of some 8 million people at the Postal Service and in the private-sector industries it supports.
"Over the past two weeks, this committee has debated some of the tough decisions that will need to be made in the coming months and years regarding the level of service the Postal Service should offer the American people, and the type of workforce we must develop to provide that service. We also discussed how it should price and market its products, and how much it should pay to fund its employees' health and pension obligations. Most importantly, we heard about some innovative ways the Postal Service can make itself relevant to new generations of customers by taking creative advantage of its one-of-a-kind retail, processing, and delivery network.
"In the very near future, we will take what we learned from our hearings and go to work on crafting and refining a legislative response to the very real crisis we face on this issue. But today, we gather to consider two very qualified nominees who the President has put forward to continue their service on the Postal Regulatory Commission.
"The Postal Regulatory Commission has played a key role in recent years in partnering with the Postal Service to develop a rate system that has, since it was implemented following the postal reform legislation signed into law in 2006, has given the Postal Service significant new commercial flexibilities that have helped it weather both a major recession and significant growth in electronic communication. It has also created a venue where postal employees and customers can have their voices heard about the painful but often very necessary changes that postal management has been forced to consider.
"In the coming months and years, the work of the Postal Regulatory Commission will be no less important. I'm pleased, then, that Mr. Hammond and Ms. Langley are willing to continue their service. I have not always agreed the decisions made by the Commission, but Congress, the Postal Service, and the public in general rely on it to efficiently and effectively perform its responsibilities and to be a source of key knowledge and expertise during both good times and bad."
CEP News (Courier-Express-Postal), published by the MRU Consultancy, has reported that:
Apparently, there is huge interest in Royal Mail's shares. After the government published the official prospectus on Friday last week, the shares were oversubscribed after a few hours already.
Mail delivery on Saturdays could be slashed in Norway soon. According to a report by daily news »Nationen« (25.09) a majority of the members of the new parliament is in favour of abandoning Saturday mail delivery after the election at the beginning of September. Newspapers on the other hand are still to be delivered on six days a week.
Opposition against additional workload triggered by selling non postal products is growing among employees of the Czech post.
Blue Post is the new brand name of Australia Post's courier and express business.
TNT Post will deliver mail in the UK outside of London with its own staff for the first time.
Does the Italian post have to search for a new CEO? Several media reported that Massimo Sarmi is supposed to take over the top position of Telecom Italia (turnover 2012: 29.5bn euros) after more than ten years at the head of Poste Italiane.
Swiss Post expands its direct mail and press distribution business. On Monday this week, the company announced that it took over Prisma Medienservice from NZZ Mediengruppe. The acquisition was conducted via the post's subsidiary Direct Mail Company (DMC). Prisma is a distribution organisation for newspapers and addressed and unaddressed printed matters and is primarily active in the eastern part of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
After its withdrawal from the domestic parcel business (CEP-News 01/10), DHL now apparently withdraws from the British SameDay market, too.
Despite continued opposition from privately run courier and express services, the revision of the Indian postal law (among others CEP-News 51/11) seems to come close to being passed.
Amazon apparently wants to increasingly invest in Eastern Europe. According to unanimous media reports, five new logistics centres are to be established in Poland and the Czech Republic.
China's express service operators apparently largely came to terms with the new regulations on the express sector that were adopted at the beginning of this year.
A new postal strike is looming in South Africa. After the South African Post Office and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) were not able to agree on a pay rise, the two parties called upon the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration to mediate in the dispute.
MassLive: What happens when the last resort seems to be the only resort. That's the position the U.S. Postal Service finds itself in once again as it comes hat in hand to the independent Postal Regulatory Commission seeking a 3-cent increase in first class postage as a "last resort" as it cites the agency's "precarious financial condition." What reason is there to believe that the rate increase will help the Post Office face the fundamental problems that confront it? Will the increase stop people from conducting more and more of their correspondence online? Will it make the postal service truly competitive with private delivery services which seem to prosper even though their basic rates are higher? What reason is there to believe that the solution of "last resort" won't again become the only resort next year, or the year after, or the year after that.
Post & Parcel: The Scottish National Party has said opposition to the privatisation of Royal Mail can help the "yes" vote in next year's referendum over Scottish independence.
Roll Call: The government shutdown that began Tuesday morning has overshadowed Congress' dysfunction and inaction on several other major issues. Easy to miss in the hours leading up to the lapse in appropriations was the fact that the U.S. Postal Service missed a required payment to the federal Treasury for retirement obligations Monday. A number of committee hearings and markups on both sides of the Rotunda have already been canceled or postponed indefinitely, and leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee have noticed the lapse. Though the doors to the panel's committee room are closed, Chairman Thomas R. Carper said he would keep trying to advance a long overdue overhaul of the Postal Service. "We're using this time to meet with individual senators — Democrat and Republican — meet with their staffs on postal legislation to educate them, and hear their questions and concerns," the Delaware Democrat said, adding that he will also continue to work on cybersecurity legislation. Ranking member Tom Coburn, R-Okla., also vowed to keep working to revamp the Postal Service, particularly in light of its repeated defaults on health care payments for retirees.
Washington Times: The postal service says it hasn't used taxpayer dollars (for the most part) since the 1980s. That's great, but it doesn't justify the lack of competition in the marketplace. If there were a number of privately owned mail services, I'm not convinced that the post office would be regularly holding out its hand and asking Congress for money and attention. It's hard to understand why the U.S. government is still involved in mail delivery and services. More to the point, why isn't the Republican Party — the so-called champions of the free-market economy and privatization — even talking about it?
From the Federal Register: Postal Service NOTICES Transfer of Post Office Box Section 21412 to Competitive Fee Group , 60928–60929 [2013–23978] [TEXT] [PDF]
Times Online: With the telegram service being stopped, the Postal Services Ministry is to introduce a new messaging service from called ‘ Telemail,'government media reported. Telemail is also a messaging service similar to the telegram service, but more user friendly than a telegram.
Wall Street Journal: United Parcel Service Inc. is caught in a rift between the leadership of the Teamsters union and its rank-and-file members over labor contracts, a development that could unnerve corporate shippers and hurt its holiday shipping business. UPS's labor issues were supposed to be mostly settled in June, when the company's domestic package-delivery employees—a majority of its U.S. workers— approved a new five-year national master contract that included wage increases as well as revised health and pension benefits. But UPS is still negotiating separately with many local bargaining units across the country—over issues like health-care benefits, wages for part-timers and restricting overtime.
U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) will hold two consecutive hearings to consider the nominations before the Committee on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 beginning at 10:00 a.m. in room 342 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. HEARING 2 (To begin immediately following the conclusion of the first hearing) The nominations of Hon. Tony Hammond and Hon. Nanci E. Langley to be Commissioner, Postal Regulatory Commission.
Heritage Foundation: Some blame the Postal Service's financial woes on the very debts it has defaulted on, which are used to pre-fund the USPS's obligations to its retirees. But the root cause goes deeper: the rapidly shrinking volume of mail, as consumers move to electronic forms of communication. Since 2007 alone, the amount of first-class mail has shrunk 30 percent. Another 40 percent may be gone by 2020. The Postal Service itself has long been sounding the alarm on this growing financial crisis. To address the short-term lack of cash, it has requested an increase in postage rates. But more fundamental reform is needed to give the Postal Service a chance at long-term survival.
October 1, 2013
Midsize Insider: Government agencies are not known for innovation. Often, private industry users are the first to adopt new technology, test-run new processes or attempt to leverage resources in new and unique ways. The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG), however, has been busy demonstrating the power of business analytics to combat internal fraud — and with remarkable success. Also, according to Bryan Jones, director of Countermeasures and Performance Evaluation (CAPE), it is not funding that really matters; it is finding the right users.
Post & Parcel: Post Danmark is increasing its postage rates from 1 January 2014, with A-mail letters seeing prices rise by 12.5% to DKK 9. Economy letters, B-Mail, will see rates rise 8.3% to DKK 6.50. The Danish national postal operator said it had held its retail stamp prices in check for two and a half years, while business letter rates have increased by the rate of inflation. However, the company said Denmark was one of the most advanced countries in the world regarding the digitization of its communications, hitting mail volumes. Danish mail volumes are currently falling by about 11 or 12% year-on-year.
Associated Press: "Long-running feud over Obama health care law plunges nation into government shutdown." [EdNote: Yup. Our Congress. Our President. The people WE elected. As the saying goes: "People get the government they deserve." Well....that's a bit harsh. At the very least, we deserve the government WE ELECTED. Think about that the next time you step into the voting booth.]
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Effective October 1, 2013, the Commission will be closed until such time as an FY 2014 appropriation or a continuing resolution for the Commission has been approved. During the shutdown, the Commission's Docket section will not be operational. However, filings may be submitted. All filings submitted during the shutdown will be processed and posted to the Commission's website when the Commission resumes normal operations.
Fall Mailing Season Gets Rolling. This is the time of year when retailers, nonprofit organizations, and other mailers step up their holiday advertising mailing campaigns. Volume spikes in this period, known as the fall mailing season, which then gives way to the even-busier holiday mailing season, when personal correspondence and packages spike. The U.S. Postal Service makes most of its money for the year in the period between Labor Day and Christmas....
PRWeb: The Postal Service has requested an exigent postal increase of 5.9%—more than normally would be allowed. If approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, this increase would take place in January 2014. In opposition of the U.S. Postal Service's proposed postal increase, RevSpring has joined forces with the Affordable Mail Alliance, a coalition of more than 1,000 non-profits, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, major trade associations, consumer groups and citizens to collectively voice their concern. The Affordable Mail Alliance opposes a drastic above-inflation rate hike, on the grounds that it would only compound the USPS's fiscal troubles by reducing volumes, while harming mailers, small businesses and consumers who will bear the brunt of the additional costs. RevSpring recognizes the negative impact rising postage costs have on receivables organizations and is actively investing time and resources to slow this trend.
Business Wire: Companies with less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments moving to and from Canada can ship their products faster using FedEx Freight Priority service. A market study completed on behalf of FedEx has confirmed that FedEx Freight(R) Priority has the fastest published transit times of any less-than-truckload (LTL) service connecting the U.S. and major Canadian markets with a single network.
Wall Street Journal: United Parcel Service Inc. is caught in a rift between the leadership of the Teamsters union and its rank-and-file members over labor contracts, a development that could unnerve corporate shippers and hurt its holiday shipping business. UPS's labor issues were supposed to be mostly settled in June, when the company's domestic package-delivery employees—a majority of its U.S. workers— approved a new five-year national master contract that included wage increases as well as revised health and pension benefits. But UPS is still negotiating separately with many local bargaining units across the country—over issues like health-care benefits, wages for part-timers and restricting overtime. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents about 249,000 employees of UPS's 323,000 full- and part-time domestic workers. About 235,000 of those are covered by the master contract. That contract cannot take effect until 16 supplemental agreements and riders are negotiated and approved.
Wall Street Journal: Congress struggled to resolve bitter divisions over spending and the health-care law late Monday as the U.S. government teetered on the brink of the first partial government shutdown in 17 years. [EdNote: And this is the same group that everyone in postal is hoping will be stricken with a healthy dose of bipartisanship?]
ABC-7: The dry weekend weather means flood waters have cleared across many parts of North Fort Myers, but they're leaving a permanent impact. The U.S. Postal Service sent a letter to some customers saying home delivery will be cancelled on their routes. The letter says, "it is with deep regret that we have to do this, but the safety of our carriers, and the wear and tear on our vehicles has become a major issue." It says the USPS will now install lockable mail box banks at the end of some streets. Mail delivery has been touch-and-go throughout the last several weeks.
WSIU.org: With House Republicans and Senate Democrats still miles apart on a budget deal, the federal government appears headed for a shutdown at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. Here's a quick breakdown of what government agencies and programs would and would not remain operational in the event of a shutdown: The Postal Service would continue to deliver mail on its regular schedule.
Politico: House Republicans passed a procedural motion for a bill to keep the government open while delaying Obamacare and canceling health-insurance subsidies for members of Congress and the White House. The vote continues to put the government on a path to a shutdown at midnight.
Reuters: The U.S. Postal Service on Monday defaulted yet again on a prepayment for the healthcare of its future retirees as its finances remain in the red and legislative reform remains elusive. The agency has blamed the payments, more than $5 billion a year as mandated by Congress to prefund the Postal Service's future retirees' healthcare, for contributing to annual losses of billions of dollars. The requirement was set in 2006 when the agency was still thriving and before the economic crisis. But those massive payments, along with tumbling mail volumes, have since pushed the agency's finances to a precarious position.
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) released the following statements regarding the Postal Service's default on its payment to the U.S. Treasury to fund its future retiree health care obligations:
Chairman Carper: "Unfortunately, today the Postal Service will yet again default on its obligations to the U.S. Treasury. Sadly, this is not the first time the Postal Service has defaulted, nor will it be the last if Congress is unable to come together to pass comprehensive reform legislation. Today's default is another stark reminder of the Postal Service's dire financial situation. We have sat around for too long, watching as the financial challenges facing the Postal Service grow more difficult and the potential solutions become more expensive. It has been clear to me and to others for some time that we must act to save this $1 trillion mailing industry and the over eight million jobs that depend on it. In August, Dr. Coburn and I came together to introduce bipartisan legislation that will make the necessary changes to ensure the Postal Service is competitive in an era of digital communication, and this month we held two hearings that examined our legislation and allowed stakeholders to weigh in on the bill and what the Postal Service needs to survive and thrive in the 21st century. I hope to move our bipartisan legislation swiftly through our committee and onto the Senate floor for a vote as soon as possible."
Dr. Coburn: "Unfortunately, the Postal Service announced today that it will default on yet another retiree health benefit pre-funding payment, bringing its total defaulted payments to $16.6 billion," said Dr. Coburn. "These payments are designed to protect the future benefits promised to postal workers, and short-changing this fund only jeopardizes their future. It is clear the time to reform the Postal Service has come. I am hopeful my colleagues will put the long-term best interest of the Postal Service ahead of parochial interests and will thoughtfully consider our bipartisan bill so that the Postal Service can thrive in the future."
BtoB Online: Direct marketers are about to have a lot more on their hands than marketing, if recent legislative or regulatory activities are any indication. From postal-rate increases to taxes on Internet sales to restrictions on data collection, the fate of direct marketers increasingly seems to be in others' hands. In the short run, increases in mailing costs present the biggest headache for companies that do a lot of mailing. Last week, the U.S. Postal Service announced plans, subject to regulatory approval, to increase postal rates dramatically.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: The Postal Regulatory Commission received two proposals for rate changes for market dominant products, filed by the Postal Service to take effect on January 26, 2014. The Commission has established Dockets Number R2013-10 and Number R2013-11 to consider the proposals. In the coming weeks, the Commission will hold public hearings, receive comments from interested parties and decide to approve, reject, or modify the proposals. Participant comments in Docket R2013-10, which will consider regular CPI-based increases, are due no later than October 16, 2013. Participant comments in Docket R2013-11, which will consider additional "exigent" increases, are due November 6, 2013. A complete schedule for this case is located at the end of Order 1847. Participants and the public may file comments through the "contact PRC" button on the Commission's website, www.prc.gov, and by mail addressed to the Secretary of the Commission at: Postal Regulatory Commission 901 New York Avenue, NW Suite 200 Washington DC 20268-0001
September 30, 2013
PostCom Members: The 2014 price charts for both the CPI price change and the total price change (exigency plus CPI) have been posted on this site.
TechCrunch: Last year, Google acquired Waterloo-based startup BufferBox, which provides shipping locker service to make it easy to get things delivered reliably even when you're not sure where you'll be when they're arriving. The startup built its service on the idea that people never want to see another missed delivery door tag ever again, and began rolling out availability in Toronto, a big consumer market near its HQ last year. BufferBox is now venturing further afield (as teased earlier this year), with a program expansion in San Francisco that takes its kiosk service closer to Google's home territory. The BufferBox model allows local businesses to essentially become a substitute post office, receiving packages on behalf of BufferBox users during business hours when they're guaranteed to have someone on staff to accept delivery. Members then get an email notification as soon as the package as delivered so they know when to go to the local business and grab it.
Attention Postal One! Users: You are receiving this email to inform you that the PostalOne! telephone system is experiencing intermittent outages. Our service provider is currently working the issue and we will update you with our telephone status. The phone issues have not completely prevented calls from coming through, but we wanted you to be aware that there may be extended wait times until the issue is completely resolved. Please also use our email address firstname.lastname@example.org to contact the PostalOne! Help Desk with any issues, should you have trouble reaching us by phone.
The Verge: The days of an ad-free Gmail experience on Android may be coming to an end. According to Android Police, the latest version of Google's email app contains references to built-in advertisements.
Fermanagh Herald: People here have been venting their frustration at the cost of posting a letter from anywhere in the north to south of the border which is almost four times more than to anywhere in the UK. To post a standard letter to anywhere in the UK will cost 60 pence but the same letter will set you back £2.38 if it is sent over the border. Sending a small parcel that weighs up to 1kg from anywhere in Northern Ireland to anywhere in the UK will cost you £4.10, however the same parcel sent across the border will set you back £7.85. Royal Mail class the Republic of Ireland under the ‘Europe' zone meaning locals will be forced to pay the same to post a letter to Croatia as they will to Cavan.
Bloomberg: Deutsche Post AG, Europe's largest postal service, raised a 2 billion-euro ($2.7 billion) credit line as German borrowers take advantage of falling interest rates to refinance bank debt.
The Courier: Workers in hundreds of Crown post offices are staging a fresh strike in a long-running row over jobs, pay and closures. Members of the Communication Workers Union in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and most of Scotland will walk out, followed by a strike in a handful of branches in Scotland on Tuesday. It will be the 12th round of industrial action since Easter, while staff are also taking other forms of action including a sales ban on financial products and services. The union is opposed to plans to franchise or close 75 Crown offices, the larger sites usually found on high streets.
Chattanooga Times Free Press: The solution to the U.S. Postal Service's reduced operating hours at many of its rural offices is sprouting up like dandelions all over the region. Federal officials in Alabama say they were shooting for establishing 20 "Village Post Offices" by today and are nearly there. Tennessee and Georgia also are starting to gain some locations, though not as many so far. A Village Post Office, or VPO, might be found in convenience stores, gas stations, local businesses, libraries and inside other government agencies. They are operated by management of the location, postal officials said. Operator compensation at each location is negotiated. VPOs offer a range of popular products and services -- the ones most used by customers -- including post office boxes, "forever" stamps, pre-paid Priority Mail flat rate envelopes and a mail collection box.
PRWeb: Letter and parcel delivery services have a buyer power score of 3.2 out of 5; the higher the score, the better negotiating conditions for buyers. Weak service differentiation between letter and parcel delivery service providers results in intense competition for most markets; however, lower per-unit operating costs for large suppliers have resulted in a concentrated market. Current major vendors include the US Postal Services, UPS, FedEx and OnTrac. Says IBISWorld procurement analyst Agata Kaczanowska, "The top three suppliers have largely comparable services and many buyers use all three companies as well as smaller regional delivery services." Most buyers are familiar with such delivery services and the top suppliers, so they regularly compare prices and features to get the best deal on letter and parcel delivery services. As a result, intense competition is advantageous to buyers, especially high-frequency and high-volume buyers that have greater leverage.
At the Postal Regulatory Commission: Public Meeting, Wednesday, October 9, 2013, at 11 a.m., Commission Hearing Room, 901 New York Avenue NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20268–0001. Portions Open to the Public 1. Report from the Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations on legislative activities and the handling of rate and service inquiries from the public. 2. Report from the Office of General Counsel on the status of Commission dockets. 4. Report on handling of rate and service inquiries from the public. 5. Report from the Office of the Secretary and Administration. Chairman's Public Comment Period Portion Closed to the Public 7. Discussion of pending litigation. For more information, please contact: Shoshana M. Grove, Secretary of the Commission, at 202–789–6800 or email@example.com
Express & Star: The Dutch-owned firm is to start deliveries in Greater Manchester in November, following trials of its service in parts of London. The company said it aimed to create 20,000 jobs in the next five years in its end-to-end business to consumer delivery service.
Dead Tree Edition: Because of a provision in the recently announced postal rates, mailers and printers have four months to overhaul the way they prepare catalogs, magazines, and other flat mail. The coming changes raise a variety of uncertainties for flats mailers, printers, and the U.S. Postal Service itself. And they will make it difficult for many mailers to project how much the new rates will cost them.
September 29, 2013
The Australian: Malcolm Turnbull has promised postal workers the Coalition has no plans to privatise Australia Post or change the regulations that govern it.
Wall Street Journal: The federal government moved closer to a partial shutdown Sunday as Republican and Democratic lawmakers showed no signs of negotiating through a standoff over the implementation of President Barack Obama's health law. The standoff left little prospect that Congress could reach agreement on terms for funding the government by midnight Monday, when the current fiscal year expires. A shutdown would leave essential services operating but prompt federal agencies to suspend many functions and furlough hundreds of thousands of workers.
Bonney Lake Courier-Herald: A mail thief who broke into locked mailboxes to steal checks and identities was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 44 months in prison and four years of supervised release, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
Yahoo! News: A Singaporean state-backed fund is poised to become a significant shareholder in Royal Mail amid strong overseas demand for the postal operator's shares. Sky News has learnt that the Government Investment Corporation (GIC) of Singapore has placed an order as part of the £3bn privatisation of Royal Mail, further details of which were announced last week.
Greenville Online [Editorial]: Yet another bill to reform the United States Postal Service is being considered by a heretofore obstinate Congress that has steadfastly refused to take any constructive action to fix the privately funded, congressionally controlled agency's financial situation. Even as the proposal is being considered, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told Congress that the Postal Service's situation is desperate, so dire, in fact, that the agency on Wednesday requested a 3-cent increase in the cost of sending a piece of first-class mail. The agency last raised first-class postal rates last January. The proposed increase would take effect this January if approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission. The repetitive exercise of presenting postal reform legislation that goes nowhere is becoming yet another tiresome example of a Congress — on both sides of the aisle — that refuses to take any action that has even a hint of compromise. This is not a path to sustainable government.
Washington Times: Britain announced a new proposal for mail delivery this month. It will privatize its postal service, the Royal Mail. Estimated to be worth nearly three billion pounds ($4.8 billion), the Royal Mail will begin selling shares of stock to potential investors sometime in the next few weeks. The United States should think twice before following Britain's lead. The Royal Mail has problems. It appears profitable on paper — Royal Mail's operating profit tripled in the last year, to just over $600 million — but this is misleading. The Mail would not be turning a profit if the government had not paid off the $6.9 billion deficit in its pension fund last March. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is having an even harder time. Last year, the Postal Service reported a record loss of $15.9 billion. Most of this is due to future health and retiree benefits for postal workers.
The People's Voice: The Postal Service Modernization Bills brought by Peter DeFazio and Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, would allow the post office to recapitalize itself by diversifying its range of services to meet unmet public needs. Needs that the post office might diversify into include (1) funding the rebuilding of our crumbling national infrastructure; (2) servicing the massive market of the "unbanked" and "underbanked" who lack access to basic banking services; and (3) providing a safe place to save our money, in the face of Wall Street's new "bail in" policies for confiscating depositor funds. All these needs could be met at a stroke by some simple legislation authorizing the post office to revive the banking services it efficiently performed in the past.
September 28, 2013
Post&Parcel: US mailers have vowed to fight tooth and nail against the four-times-inflation postal rate increases being proposed by the Postal Service. USPS announced plans to charge businesses 5.9% more to deliver their mail from 26 January, 2014, a 4.3% increase above the rate of inflation. The Postal Service, which is usually limited by an annual price cap to making rate increases averaging the rate of inflation, can only ask for above-inflation price increases if it can show there are "exceptional or extraordinary" circumstances threatening its business.
The latest issue of the PostCom Bulletin is available online. In this issue:
Postal Regulatory Commission:
USPS Webinar Series: Migrating to Full-Service IMb Webinar Series. Effective January 26, 2014, the use of Full-Service Intelligent Mail is required to qualify for automation prices for First-Class Mail® postcards, letters, and flats, Standard Mail® letters and flats, Periodicals® letters and flats and Bound Printed Matter® flats. The Postal Service is offering a series of webinars which are designed to assist mailers with participation in Full-Service Intelligent Mail.
A Full-Service "Open-Line" call is scheduled for every Wednesday from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM eastern time. USPS representatives will be online to answer any questions related to Full-Service Intelligent Mail. Log on and Audio for the November webinars will be provided at a later date. Please log on to RIBBS/Intelligent Mail Services/Education for complete information, updates and links to webinar recordings and presentations.
The Guardian: The government is racing to push through the £3.3bn privatisation of Royal Mail before postmen and women have the chance to walkout on strike against the "great British flog off". Vince Cable, the business secretary, on Friday announced the coalition will sell up to 70% of the 497-year-old postal service on the stock market on 11 October. The announcement comes on the day that more than 100,000 postal workers begin voting on whether to take days of paralysing strike action. But the result of the ballot will not be known until 16 October with the earliest legal strike date not until 23 October.
CBS News: Delivering the mail can be dangerous and costly: dog bites, falling, being "struck by flying objects". How much are on-the-job injuries costing the United States Postal Service (USPS)? According to a new report, it's $3.7 billion. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) looked at 32,213 accident reports from postal workers in 2012, 36 percent of which occurred during mail delivery. The report found that "despite declines in USPS's OSHA illness and injury rate" delivering the mail remains a disproportionately dangerous task.
September 27. 2013
Office of Inspector General: OIG USPS Shutdown Plan to OMB.
Memphis Democrat: U.S. Congressman Sam Graves (MO-06) on September 12th sent a letter to the United States Postal Service (USPS) asking the agency to reassign zip codes for north Missouri residents currently serviced by Iowa zip codes. The present situation has led to difficulties in obtaining health insurance, forwarding mail, and contacting Congressman Graves' office. The counties affected include Atchison (zip code 51640), Nodaway (51630), Harrison and Mercer (50065), Scotland (52542, 52573) and Clark (52626).
Fierce Government: Reforming Postal Service healthcare so retirees utilize Medicare would save USPS money and help keep the agency solvent, USPS Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told a Senate panel Sept. 26. Moving USPS retirees out of Federal Employees Health Benefits plans and into a separate plan that integrates with Medicare would reduce the amount the Postal Service spends on health care from 20 cents of every revenue dollar to 8 cents, Donahoe said at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing.The Street: Shares of Netflix rose Monday despite news that cutbacks at the U.S. Postal Service could lengthen first-class delivery times. Shares of the DVD-by-mail and streaming content company advanced $3.75, or 5.7%, to $70.12, closing above $70 for the first time since Nov. 22. Netflix is a huge customer for the U.S. Postal Service, spending roughly $600 million annually, according to the Associated Press. The company is emphasizing its streaming business but still counted 13.93 million DVD-by-mail subscribers vs. 21.45 million streaming subscribers at the end of the third quarter.
Prensa Latina: Express mail service executives in China are studying the possibility of using unmanned aircraft that can fly at an altitude of around 3,000 feet and move cargo closer to its final destination by means of a navigation system. According to a report by the newspaper China Daily, the test drones are equipped with eight propellers and a cargo bay, and would be used to transfer consignments to remote areas of difficult access or to do pickups from those regions.
Office of Inspector General Blog: Exigent Price Increase Proposed. The U.S. Postal Service's governing body, the Board of Governors, voted this week to request permission to raise postage prices above the inflation-based price cap to generate $2 billion in revenue in 2014. It is asking the regulator, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), to allow the Postal Service to raise the price of a stamp by 3 cents (to 49 cents), which is 2 cents more than the annual inflationary increase. Prices on other single-piece and commercial mail products would also increase. This request is known as an "exigent" price increase because it will exceed the statutorily mandated price cap that is tied to growth in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). What do you think? Share your thoughts on the proposed exigent price increase.
USPS Proposed Price Change Webinar: Tuesday, October 1 at 2:30PM (EST). Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, Executive V.P. Nagisa Manabe and Sales V.P. Cliff Rucker will host a webinar describing the proposed price change which was filed with the Postal Rate Commission. Please join us for this informative webinar. To attend:
Affordable Mail Alliance: Today the Affordable Mail Alliance (AMA), a broad coalition of postal customers and suppliers, announced its deep disappointment in the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors' decision to formally request an "exigent" postal rate increase that, if approved, would result in an average January 2014 postage hike of just under six percent, almost four times the rate of inflation. They also voiced their united determination to oppose the request at the independent Postal Regulatory Commission.
BrownCafe: comScore, Inc., a leader in measuring the digital world, and UPS (NYSE: UPS) today released the global study in the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper™ series, revealing online shoppers are looking for more control over their shipping and delivery experiences. The study includes data from more than 14,000 frequent online shoppers in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia and Mexico. According to the report, shoppers in the U.S. are the most satisfied with online shopping experiences at 83%, while consumers in the Asia Pacific are least satisfied at only 50%. The flexibility around delivery and returns were among the areas with the least satisfaction across the globe.
DeadTreeEdition: All of that inaction makes yesterday's announcement scary for the business mailers that provide the bulk of the Postal Service's revenue. We can see what's coming: Congress members will continue nagging the Postal Service to be more businesslike while forcing it to do something very un-businesslike – raising prices in the face of increased competition and declining demand.
Multichannel Merchant: Catalog mailers may see, on average, a 5.9% postal rate increase based on price changes the U.S. Postal Service has proposed to the Postal Regulatory Commission, according to a statement emailed to Multichannel Merchant by the American Catalog Mailers Association.
Lots of news on the postal price announcement. Here are just a few:
Express&Star: Shares are expected to be priced at between 260p and 330p, giving a market valuation in the range of £2.6 billion and £3.3 billion. Unconditional dealings in the stock will start on October 15, which is the day before voting closes in a ballot by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) over whether to back a campaign of industrial action on the sale. Any strike action would start a week later. Around 150,000 eligible staff will be handed 10% of shares in the largest free stock offer of any privatisation in the UK over the past 30 years. This is equivalent to around £2,000 each at the mid-point of today's offer price range. Also see Washington Post.
GovExec: Lawmakers pledged to deliver a postal overhaul bill through Congress by the end of the year as agency officials and stakeholders debated potential benefits reforms for employees and retirees, during a Senate hearing Thursday. Proposals to shift postal retirees away from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to Medicare to cut health care costs remained a sticking point, with Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe insisting any legislation require all eligible retirees enroll in "wraparound" Medicare packages. Under this plan -- the key piece of the Postal Service's health care reform blueprint to reduce the agency's liabilities and eliminate the need for prefunding -- retirees would depend on Medicare Parts A and B for medical treatment and Part D for prescription drugs, while FEHBP would fill in the voids for expenses Medicare does not cover. Also see Parcel & Post, FederalNewsRadio.
Star-Telegram: A precipitous drop in the volume of mail coursing through the U.S. Postal System will lead to consolidation of urban carrier routes, possibly affecting daily delivery times for millions. And your mailman may not be a familiar face.
Wales Online: Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has intervened in the row over Royal Mail privatisation by unveiling a "Welsh way forward" that would see the UK Government surrender its Welsh postal interests to Wales. Ms Wood says a legal precedent exists for such a move and cited the 1969 Post Office Act, which removed postal services from government departmental responsibility to a public corporation and made provision to surrender postal services to the governments of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
Prague Daily Monitor: Employees of the Ceska posta state-controlled postal company protest against strong pressure exerted on them by the management to sell life insurance, phone cards and other products, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes yesterday. A group of postal employees headed by Miroslav Prokop handed a petition protesting against the improvement of the conditions of their work to Czech Senators on Wednesday. The petition has been supported by more than 11,000 people, the paper writes. The postal unions are now awaiting a public hearing in the Senate.
From the Federal Register:
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