June was a popular month for postal meetings. It started with the Association for Postal Commerce’s (PostCom) Study Day review of postal policy, followed by the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) spring meeting, during which members of the mailing industry discussed issues of concern with USPS executives, and wrapped up with the Idealliance Postal Operations & Technologies Council (POTC) (hosted by IWCO Direct), which addressed the operational side of industry/USPS interactions. Let’s review some of the most important postal news and issues you’ll want to be tracking:
2020 Postage Rates
It’s getting to be that time of year again, and one of the topics discussed at all three meetings was the postage rate adjustment expected in January. Current projections anticipate the rate cap to be about 2% when the USPS files its proposed 2020 rates in the fall. The cap would be the average increase within classes of mail, and is a good number to use to start 2020 budgeting. Other factors we are watching include any adjustments to the cap structure the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) may make as a result of its review of ratemaking regulations and whether potential postal reform legislation specifically addresses rate setting.
The USPS is reporting strong interest in mailing promotions this year, with the currently running Emerging & Advanced Technology and Tactile/Sensory/Interactive promotions showing a combined 5% growth in participating volume over 2017 (when these promotions were last offered). The new Informed Delivery (ID) Promotion is fast approaching, with both IWCO Direct and the USPS gearing up for the strong interest and large volumes we expect for this promotion as well. Planning to participate? Please reach out to your IWCO Direct account team, so we can start preparing for your ID campaigns now, and we all can be ahead of the game when this promotion launches September 1.
Governance and Oversight
The mailing industry remains hopeful that the USPS Board of Governors will soon be back to a quorum. In addition to the two governors confirmed by the Senate last year, three more nominees (Roman Martinez IV, Ron Bloom, and John Barger) have been cleared by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGA) Committee and are awaiting confirmation by the full Senate. Once two additional governors are confirmed, the board will have again achieved a quorum.
The President has nominated Ann Fisher and Ashley Poling to replace Tony Hammond and Nanci Langley respectively on the Postal Regulatory Commission. Hammond’s and Langley’s terms expire later this year. Fisher and Poling are awaiting confirmation hearings in the HSGA Committee.
Postal News and Issues to Keep an Eye On
Despite the busy month, we’re monitoring a number of issues awaiting resolution:
- The push for postal reform legislation is still very active in Congress, and we could see a bill move in the House later this year.
- The PRC is due to release its ruling; resulting from its review of ratemaking regulations in the fall, which could modify how postage rates are set.
- In early July, USPS management is expected to share with Congress a 10-year strategic plan aimed at charting a stable financial future for the agency.
Stay tuned to SpeakingDIRECT, and we’ll continue to report on the postal news and developments impacting those of us leveraging the power of mail to drive our omnichannel marketing campaigns. If you have a question about postal affairs or postal optimization strategies in the meantime, be sure to contact me.
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