Congress Forces USPS To Delay 5-Day Delivery Plan

Apr 10, 2013 4:17 PM  By

The U.S. Postal Service has delayed the implementation of its new five-day mail delivery schedule until legislation is passed that provides the USPS with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule, according to a statement from the USPS on April 10.

Congress has prohibited the implementation of a new national delivery schedule for mail and packages, which would consist of package delivery Monday through Saturday and mail delivery Monday through Friday, which would have taken effect in the beginning of August, according to the statement.

According to the press release, the U.S. Postal Service Board of Directors said congress has left it no choice but to delay this implementation at this time.  Should the transition taken place, according to their statement, it would have generated $2 billion in annual cost savings and is a necessary part of a larger five-year business plan to restore the Postal Service to long-term financial stability.

According to an article in Yahoo News, the USPS has lost $16 billion last year and said it wanted to switch to five-day mail service to save the $2 billion.

In February, direct-to-customer merchants who mail catalogs told Multichannel Merchant they were fine with five-day delivery plan.  The new delivery schedule, catalogs and other forms of mail will no longer be delivered on Saturdays, according to an article on MultichannelMerchant.com.

Catalog mailers and others in direct-to-customer said in February they thought the savings would be passed on to them in the form of fewer future rate increases, according to the article on Multichannel Merchant.com.

Terri Alpert, founder and CEO of Stony Creek Brands, said in February if going to five-day delivery is essential to aligning USPS costs with its declining revenues, then it is essential for the sustainability of the mailing industry and the economy.   Stony Creek Brands mails the Uno Alla artisan gift catalog and The Artisan table, formerly known as The Cooking Enthusiast and Professional Cutlery Direct.

The USPS has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages, according to Multichannel Merchant.  However, recent strong growth in package delivery- a 14% volume increase since 2010 and projections of continued strong package growth throughout the coming decade led to the revised approach to maintain the package delivery six days a week.

“I am disappointed that the Postal Service has backed away from plans to implement a modified Saturday delivery schedule that polling indicates the American people understand and support, said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif in a statement. ”This reversal significantly undercuts the credibility of Postal officials who have told Congress that they were prepared defy political pressure and make difficult but necessary cuts.

The Board has directed management to seek a reopening of negotiations with the postal unions and consultations with management associations to lower total workforce costs and take administrative actions necessary to reduce costs, according to the statement from the USPS.

According to Yahoo News, some lawmakers who support five-day delivery plan said there will still be some room for it to change its delivery schedule. The language requiring six-day delivery was vague and does not prohibit what products it delivers on Saturdays.