U.S. Postal Service Again Posts Parcel Gains, But Overall Loss

The U.S. Postal Service reported operating revenue of $17.7 billion for the second quarter ended March 31, an increase of $788 million or 4.7% over the same period last year. The increase was primarily due to an 11.4% gain in shipping and package volume as well as pricing changes.

After holding off a year ago, the USPS instituted parcel and mail price increases this year, which have hit some ecommerce shippers particularly hard. A shipping power panel at MCM’s recent Operations Summit 2016 told attendees that published USPS parcel rates were negotiable, adding merchants should work with their representatives to gain some relief.

The USPS has been consistently posting 10%-plus gains in parcel volume, as it gains share from UPS and FedEx and picks up ecommerce business, but can’t get out from under its massive retiree pension debt. Net loss for the quarter was $2 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2015. The change was mostly due to a $547 million hit from a workers’ compensation expense as a result of interest rate changes.

Controllable income for the quarter – after backing out pension costs – was $576 million, up 84% from $313 million in the year-ago period.

“While we have been successful in achieving controllable income during the quarter, we are still reporting net losses and contending with long-term financial challenges,” said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan in a release. “We continue to focus on improving operating efficiencies, speeding the pace of innovation, and increasing revenues for the Postal Service.”

Mike O’Brien is Senior Editor of Multichannel Merchant

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