Post Office keeps Saturday package delivery to support retailers
By Jay Keller
The U.S Postal Service said Wednesday that Saturday letters are a thing of the past and announced a new delivery schedule to help counter poor financial performance over the past several years.
Beginning Aug. 5, 2013, letters to street addresses will only be delivered Monday to Friday but the shipping and delivery of packages will continue on a six-day schedule including Saturdays.
USPS says the decision to keep Monday-Saturday package service is driven largely by customer demand spurred by a steady growth in e-commerce.
“The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits,” said Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe in a statement.
The demand for package delivery since 2010, according to the Postmaster’s report, has grown by 14 percent to the tune of $3.5 billion through 2012.
The Postal Service says eliminating Saturday mail will save taxpayers approximately $2 billion each year including a workforce reduction of approximately 45 million, the U.S. Postal Service says.
The Postmaster plans to release a detailed implementation plan on in early March with follow-up communications specific to residential and business customers and a host of webinars and FAQs through August 2013.
USPS says the new schedule meets customer needs in preserving Saturday package delivery and Post Office access with an emphasis on preserving the “affordability of mail.”
USPS also says that Postal Reform Legislation is needed since the delivery change is part of a larger strategy and more flexibility is needed to support a “sustainable business model.”
First-Class, single-piece letter volume has seen a steady decrease of 37 percent since 2007.
The financials haven’t been in favor of the U.S. Postal service after it reported a $15.9 billion loss in 2012.
Additionally, the Postal Service exhausted its borrowing authority, has very low liquidity and defaulted $11.1 billion to the U.S. Treasury for retiree health benefits.
Nearly 70 percent of Americans supported the switch to five-day delivery as a way for the Postal Service to reduce costs in its effort to return the organization to financial stability, according to market research conducted by the Postal Service and independent research by major news organizations.
This strategic shift will likely garner more public support since the move includes keeping the six-day package delivery in place.
UPS and FedEx use the U.S. Postal Service as an overflow workforce during peak shipping periods.