• ITVI.USA
    15,415.310
    54.710
    0.4%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.761
    -0.007
    -0.3%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
    -0.300
    -1.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,387.520
    55.710
    0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
    0.130
    3.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,415.310
    54.710
    0.4%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.761
    -0.007
    -0.3%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
    -0.300
    -1.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,387.520
    55.710
    0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
    0.130
    3.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
Modern ShipperNewsParcelTop Stories

Fix mail first, then address parcel-delivery opportunities, AGs tell Postal Service

Attorneys general from 21 states say mail, not packages, needs to be the priority

Attorneys general from 21 states have called on the U.S. Postal Service’s regulator to direct the agency to abandon its plans to expand parcel-delivery operations until it resolves its persistent problems with first-class mail delivery.

In a June 21 letter to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the attorneys general said so-called market dominant products like first-class mail are, by law, the Postal Service’s top priority. Parcel services as well as Express and Priority Mail, all of which are classified as “competitive products” because they compete with private-sector rivals, should not take precedence, they said.

In March, the Postal Service unveiled a 10-year plan that effectively prioritizes the agency’s fast-growing parcel business over first-class mail, which has historically been its largest and most profitable service line. The Postal Service has vowed to hit a 95% on-time delivery target for all parcel and mail traffic.

At the same time, however, it proposed to widen the delivery windows for first-class mail, an acknowledgment of the cost and complexity of delivering 52 billion pieces of mail — the volume recorded in FY 2020 — across a myriad of distances and locales, and still hit the two- to three-day target that had been set as the delivery standard for all USPS deliveries in the lower 48 states.

In their letter, the attorneys general said the proposed changes would subject nearly half of first-class mail moving within the lower 48 states to longer delivery times, with more than 30% of mail delivered in four to five days instead of two to three days.

The Postal Service’s new policy “seeks to degrade service in its market-dominant products in order to facilitate growth in its competitive products,” the attorneys general said. Aside from potentially impacting consumers who rely on the Postal Service to deliver life’s vital necessities like Social Security checks and medications, the policy runs counter to the agency’s statutory requirement that it give top priority to the movement of mail, the attorneys wrote. 

“While the Postal Service would soon take up to 5 days to deliver first-class mail in the contiguous United States, it also plans to redesign its transportation network so packages “can reach up to 90 percent of the population in one day and more than 95 percent of the contiguous U.S. population in two days,” the letter said.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was heavily criticized through much of 2020 for implementing operational changes that were designed to boost efficiency and cut costs but instead had a negative impact on mail processing and delivery reliability. The Postal Service redeemed itself with what nearly everyone agreed was a stellar performance in delivering mountains of mail-in ballots during the 2020 presidential election. 

The changes in the parcel portfolio are one component of an ambitious plan to transform the Postal Service from a consistent money loser to a break-even position by 2023 and to modest profits through the rest of the decade, DeJoy said Tuesday. Without the changes outlined in the plan, the Postal Service stands to lose $160 billion over the next 10 years and will likely need a federal bailout, DeJoy said. The agency lost $9.2 billion in its 2020 fiscal year, which ended last Sept. 30, and has lost more than $87 billion over the past 14 years.

Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.

3 Comments

  1. The USPS is a disaster, local first class mail now takes upwards of 3 days.
    No other organization can lose billions yet continue to operate normally. No one ever forces the USPS to tighten up their operations to better serve their customers and eliminate waste. Priority Mail started out as a 2 day product and I recently had a Priority Mail envelope take 6 days to ravel 700 miles.
    Perhaps the best solution may be to cut it apart and sell it off.
    It may be too far gone

    1. The plan is working! Typical “small government” tactic from one party: kneecap an org & prevent it from doing its job (take out sorting machines, run empty trucks, stop mail delivery half the days in some neighborhoods) then point to that poor performance as a reason to sell it off. Man if I could do that with my work… just tell all my employees to not show up for a few weeks, convince my boss to sell the group to me for a few bucks, then just tell people they can work again & go back to the good work they used to do so that I can profit as a private individual!

  2. yea how about equip your post offices with proper equipment to deliver these large , unbalanced, heavy packages BEFORE deciding your the next UPS or FEDEX. 60+ year old carriers lugging 50 pound boxes down rural driveways. OSHA needs to be involved!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We are glad you’re enjoying the content

Sign up for a free FreightWaves account today for unlimited access to all of our latest content

By signing in for the first time, I give consent for FreightWaves to send me event updates and news. I can unsubscribe from these emails at any time. For more information please see our Privacy Policy.