26 September 2023

UNITED STATES: Postal Service still failing to deliver

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Months after an election that thrust the problems of the United States Postal Service into the national glare, the cash-strapped Agency has failed to restore its target delivery times.

In mid-December — awash in Christmas and New Year’s greetings — the Agency delivered as little as 62 per cent of first-class mail on time, the lowest level in years according to Postal Service data.

The rate had rebounded to 84 per cent by the week of 6 March, but remains far below the Agency’s target of about 96 per cent.

In the past 14 fiscal years, the Postal Service has lost $US87 billion ($A114 billion), including $9.2 billion ($A12.1 billion) in the 2020 fiscal year alone. This from an Agency which is supposed to be self-sustaining.

Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy is completing a soon-to-be-released plan to stabilise the Agency’s finances over 10 years that is expected to prioritise reliability and cost-effectiveness over speed.

Mr DeJoy’s report is expected to propose eliminating the use of planes for the first-class mail service to transport letters and other flat mail in the contiguous United States.

It is also expected to propose lengthening the Agency’s standard delivery time for first-class mail, which includes many envelopes and lightweight packages, from within three days to within five days.

Among other ideas under consideration are closing processing facilities and reducing some Post Office hours.

Mr DeJoy told lawmakers last month the plan was part of a concerted effort by the Agency to shift its resources to shipping packages, which has become a growing share of its business as traditional mail volumes have declined.

His proposals are almost certain to prompt resistance from the Democrats who control Congress and the White House.

Mr DeJoy, a former logistics executive and supporter of former President, Donald Trump, had already drawn Democrats’ wrath when he instituted operational changes during an election year with a historic influx of mail-in ballots.

Washington, 23 March 2021

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