USPS to End Saturday Mail Delivery
The United States Postal Service (USPS) today announced a new delivery schedule that will affect businesses and consumers across the country. Starting in August, the USPS will end Saturday mail delivery to U.S. residents. Packages will still be delivered Monday through Saturday, as will all mail addressed to P.O boxes, but letters to home and business addresses will not be arriving on weekends. The USPS estimates this change will save the beleaguered service up to $2 billion annually.
Today’s announcement comes as little surprise to most industry analysts. The postal service has been losing money for years, due in part to an increased use of Internet services by consumers and competition from UPS and FedEx. The USPS lost $5.1 billion in 2011 and $15.9 billion in 2012, and it is estimated that the operation loses $25 million daily. The service has also repeatedly defaulted on payments to its retiree funds totaling more than $11 billion.
“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 Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO. “We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings.”
The postal service has been advocating an end to Saturday delivery for years, an initiative that picked up steam when it was endorsed by President Obama in September 2011. Although parcel shipments would have been cut for Saturdays, the USPS has decided to keep package delivery a six-day service, citing a 14 percent increase in volume since 2010.
Over the past two years, the USPS has taken several measures to stop hemorrhaging money and stave off insolvency: closing mailing centers and eliminating jobs; offering to buy out contracts; increasing shipping rates; slowing first-class mail service; and increasing the price of stamps in 2011 and 2012. More than 200 mail processing centers have closed since 2006, and nearly 200,000 postal service jobs have been cut.