For football fans at IWCO Direct, January has already been an exciting month. Our hometown teams, the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles, will meet this Sunday to decide who will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. The Vikings are eager to be the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium, while the Eagles want to prove they can win even without injured star quarterback Carson Wentz. It’s certainly made for lots of friendly rivalry across our platform (with apologies to our resident Steelers fans).
January is also proving to be interesting for us postal nerds. We are tracking a number of issues on various postal-related topics. Let’s take a look:
Postage Rate Adjustment this Weekend
The Postal Service is raising postage rates for both Market Dominant and Competitive products this Sunday. For Market Dominant products (First-Class Mail, USPS Marketing Mail, and Periodicals) this is the agency’s annual inflation-based rate adjustment and averages around 2% for each of the products. Postage rates for Competitive products (Priority Mail, international mail, and shipping services) are going up a more robust 3.9% on average.
Still have questions about how these postage rate increases may impact your mailing program? Be sure to reach out to your IWCO Direct account team. They can provide guidance on navigating the changes, as well as how to take advantage of our industry-leading postage optimization strategies.
Postal Reform Legislation
The mailing industry and other postal stakeholders continue to work with leaders on Capitol Hill to move H.R. 756, the primary postal reform bill in the current Congress, toward passage. Despite some of the setbacks and distractions of last year, we remain cautiously optimistic that this bill will be passed by both the House and the Senate by this summer. H.R. 756 is a bipartisan, compromise measure backed by a wide range of postal stakeholders, including postal unions, USPS management, and the mailing industry. This bill contains many elements on which all postal stakeholders agree to earn its broad-based support.
Board of Governors Status Update
The Postal Service continues to limp along without the guidance of presidentially-appointed members on its Board of Governors. The President nominated three people to this board in late October, but so far the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has not held confirmation hearings for these nominees. We encourage the Committee to move quickly to review these nominations, as there are actions USPS management cannot take without approval from presidentially-appointed governors, such as offering mailing promotions to drive growth in mail volume.
PRC Rate Review
The proposal put forward by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) as a result of its legally-mandated review of the postage rate-making process remains controversial, with strong objections coming from both the mailing industry and USPS management. Mailing industry associations fear the steep price increases proposed by the PRC will result in significant loss of mail volume, while USPS management doesn’t feel the proposal provides sufficient pricing flexibility. Expect to see a number of alternative options put forward before we reach the March 1 deadline for comments on the proposal.
Jim Cochrane Retires
Postmaster General Megan Brennan has announced the retirement of Chief Customer and Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President Jim Cochrane, after a 43-year career with the U.S. Postal Service, effective February 2. During his 43-year career with the USPS, , Jim has been a strong advocate for leveraging data to better track and manage mail. He has also been a tireless advocate for the mailing industry, and we will very much miss his presence at USPS headquarters. We wish Jim all the best as he begins this new phase of his life.
Keep reading SpeakingDIRECT, and we’ll make sure you know the latest about what’s happening in the postal world. (And, oh yeah, GO VIKINGS!)
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