Formulated by UNI AproPost and Logistics Sector
1. Post Office transformation in Lithuania. July 23, 2020.
Croatia Post to roll out parcel locker network.
3. USPS announces new ESAS delivery initiative test.
July 21, 2020.
4. 'Highly irregular': Australia Post discloses security program.July 20, 2020.
5. DPD makes bumper truck order.July 17, 2020.
July 23, 2020
Lietuvospaštas (Lithuanian Post) is continuing its post office modernisationprogramme.
The Lithuanian postal operator is renewing 41 post offices under this current transformation programme, with more post offices around the capital earmarked for a fresh look in 2020.
This week a new-look post office opened at Totorių g. 8 in Vilnius. (Photos below.) Many of its features will be familiar to those of us in the post office world: a fresh counter with four serving positions (without counter-to-ceiling security screens), an electronic queuing system, a non-postal complementary retail range, and racks for storing parcels awaiting customer collection.
The new post office also hosts a sorting hub for letter and parcel delivery. Posties from three other Lietuvospaštas offices will now work out of this one premises.
This particular post office branch was previously located in a nearby historic building, and had been considered the central post office for Vilnius. The building is too big for modern post office needs, so a new location had to be found.
The building that hosts the new post office was formerly the site for a supermarket – which means convenient parking for customers and space for sorting staff.
Opening hours will be 9am to 7pm weekdays, and 9am to 2pm Saturdays.
And yes, a bank of LP Express parcel lockers will soon be installed near the post office!
2. Croatia Post to roll out parcel locker network
3. USPS announces new ESAS delivery initiative test
July 21, 2020
In a letter dated July 16, 2020, the Postal Service informed NALC of a new delivery initiative test titled Expedited Street/Afternoon Sortation (ESAS). Rather than discuss this concept with NALC in the Joint City Delivery Task Force, USPS chose to test it unilaterally without NALC participation. USPS states the purpose of this test is to determine if the Expedited Preferential Mail (EPM) program can be enhanced to assist in reducing the morning office time for city letter carriers by enabling them to get on the street earlier. EPM is a long-time program established in Handbook M-39 and Handbook M-41 that involves casing non-preferential mail in the afternoon after completing street duties.
USPS believes that their new version of this program will enhance customer service by providing more consistent delivery times. The test is scheduled to begin on July 25, 2020, and anticipated to continue for approximately thirty to sixty days in 384 selected sites. The list of test sites can be found here.
This unilateral test of ESAS should not be confused with the EPM program outlined in the handbooks. EPM is a long-established program in which letter carriers normally case only preferential and time-value mail in the morning. The casing of non-preferential mail and markup work is done in the afternoon when the carrier returns from the route. This is designed to move the majority of carrier casing time to the afternoon. In an EPM office, city carriers would clock-in, withdraw and case only preferential mail, obtain and process accountable items and small parcels and rolls (SPRs), pull-down, obtain parcels, load their vehicles, and leave for normal street delivery.
After completion of street duties, city carriers would perform normal return-to-office functions and then begin casing all non-preferential mail. After all non-preferential mail has been cased, the mail will be left in the case until the next morning.
Several guidelines related to the EPM program are contained in Handbook M-39, USPS handbooks can be found on the NALC website.and Handbook M-41, These and other
The ESAS initiative, as described, does not appear to conform to the handbook provisions contained in the M-39 and M-41 relating to EPM and other office activities. The ESAS test requires carriers to clock-in, attend any service or safety talk, perform vehicle inspections, obtain accountable items, set-up their scanner, retrieve the parcel hamper, line up the SPRs, and retrieve the mail cased and pulled down the previous afternoon. Instead of casing their SPRs, carriers will line them up in delivery order prior to pulling their hot case mail and then immediately clock to the street to load their vehicle and begin delivery. Under the test, there is to be no casing of mail in the morning. Letter carriers will withdraw hot case preferential flats and are expected to route them in order of delivery on the street. Upon returning to the office, carriers will complete the normal return-to-office afternoon duties. After completion of these duties, carriers will then case and pull down all mail distributed to the route in preparation for the next day’s delivery.
As previously stated, this test as communicated to NALC, is not fully compliant with Article 19 of the National Agreement related to the applicable handbook provisions. NALC representatives are discussing the issues we have with this initiative with USPS representatives at the headquarters level. Shop stewards and branch officers should monitor the test process, review applicable contractual and handbook provisions, and file appropriate grievances where contract violations occur. Please contact your National Business Agent’s office for guidance, assistance, and communication regarding the test.
4. 'Highly irregular': Australia Post discloses security program
July 20, 2020
Australia Post is paying for a confidential security program to protect its sensitive information amid a series of leaks that revealed the company was considering slowing letter delivery times and replacing post offices with automated kiosks.
The revelation comes from a Senate inquiry into the future of Australia's postal service, which received government permission to lower its service and save money as letter volumes plummeted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Under grilling from Labor Senator Kim Carr during a Senate committee hearing on July 8, Australia Post's chief executive Christine Holgate was repeatedly asked whether the government-owned company was monitoring senior staff members, including by sweeping for bugs and checking phone records, after leaks to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Ms Holgate deferred her answers but in responses to questions on notice Australia Post said it had "a risk-based security program – including to preserve the integrity and security of confidential and sensitive information – that takes into account best practice standards". It said details of the program were commercial-in-confidence and that, if the details were to become public, it would hurt Australia Post.
Senator Carr said the company's response was a "lawyer's weasel words" for confirmation the company was allegedly surveilling its staff, which he said would be "highly irregular". A spokeswoman for Australia Post declined to comment while the Senate committee inquiry, which is due to report in August, was under way.
The Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union, which represents postal workers, said Australia Post should give a "straight answer" to questions about staff surveillance. "The fact that Australia Post is avoiding answering simple questions about whether or not they have surveilled their staff is very concerning," said the union's national president, Shane Murphy.
As more businesses let their employees work from home, monitoring software to check productivity and keep sensitive information secure has become more common and is generally not unlawful. Major companies including Google, which denied the allegations, have been accused of spying on their workers in recent years.
Senator Carr also took aim at Australia Post's claim of "commercial-in-confidence" to limit its answers to questions about a leaked 2018 strategic review of the company from consulting firm PwC. The draft review included options like increasing letter delivery times, which resemble some of the temporary changes the government has made to help Australia Post through the pandemic.
"The claims of commercial-in-confidence are spurious given the strategic plan has been given widespread public media coverage," Senator Carr said.
In general, information cannot be withheld from the Senate under a "commercial-in-confidence" claim unless the claim is made by a minister and includes reasons. Despite making the commercial-in-confidence claim, Australia Post did provide limited responses to Senator Carr's questions. Australia Post has repeatedly said the delivery changes, which are set to last until June next year, are not permanent. In another written answer, it said while there were "conceptual similarities" between a set of recommendations in the strategic plan and some it pursued during the virus, they were not the same.
Letter volumes dropped 15 per cent in April at the first peak of the pandemic compared to the same month last year. The number of parcels sent through Australia Post jumped 37 per cent between March and April this year.
5. DPD makes bumper truck order
July 17, 2020
The surge in demand for courier services since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK has seen DPD add an extra order of 100 Mercedes-Benz Actros tractor units to its original 2020 requirement of 50 units.
The company said that all will be 4×2 variants with Active Drive Assist technology. DPD has been running since late last year 25 new-generation Actros vehicles featuring the first Level 2 autonomous driving system to enter series production.
Even before lockdown restrictions were announced in March, the UK public’s increasing reliance on online shopping had resulted in soaring demand for DPD’s services, a trend it says shows no sign of slowing, as established online retail customers experience a sales boom and new customers develop their own online propositions.
DPD has responded to the ‘new normal’ by announcing its intention to invest £200m (US$252m) this year on expanding its next-day parcel capacity, with half of this sum going toward new vehicles. The company has not been able to easily rent the low-height tractor units it needs, so over recent years it has kept trucks in storage then pressed them into service ahead of its peak period, the eight-week run-up to Christmas. That has not been possible this year, though, as the surge in demand has meant it has every asset working flat out.
DPD explained it operates a ‘line haul’ fleet of approximately 1,150 tractor units, which pull double- and single-deck semi-trailers between four hubs in the West Midlands – a fifth is scheduled to open in Hinckley before the end of the year – as well as its network of depots and customer locations.
Formulated by UNI AproPost and Logistics Sector
1. Amazon Air starts operations at LAL regional air hub.
July 23, 2020.
2. Union wins concessionary payout for PO product specialists.
July 22, 2020.
3. House Democrats press U.S. Postal Service on plans to delay mail. July 21, 2020.
PostNord: Although the uncertainty remains high, we handled the difficult situation well in the second quarter.
5. “China Post” Zhengzhou-Europe regular all-cargo airmail flight launched. July 13, 2020.
1. Amazon Air starts operations at LAL regional air hub
July 23, 2020
Amazon Air has commenced operations at its new regional air hub located at Lakeland Linder International Airport (LAL) in Florida, US.
An Amazon Air flight, which departed from Sacramento International Airport, is scheduled to arrive at the LAL regional air hub later today.
The carrier said the flight marks the first of daily services to and from the facility.
Sarah Rhoads, vice president of Amazon Global Air, commented: “We are excited to launch our Amazon Air operations at LAL so we can continue to deliver the fast, free shipping our customers in Florida and across the country depend on during this time.”
The development of the regional air hub received “ample support” from LAL, state and local economic development partners and elected officials.
Governor Ron DeSantis, said: “I’m pleased to welcome Amazon Air as they begin operations at their new facility at Lakeland Linder International Airport. This new location represents Amazon Air’s largest facility in the Southeast and will drive increased investment and commerce in the region and create hundreds of jobs.
“We look forward to collaborating with innovative companies such as Amazon to provide continued opportunities for growth and prosperity in our state.”
City of Lakeland mayor Bill Mutz added: “We anticipate this community partnership will benefit central Florida with enhanced technology and growing commerce. The City Commission and I are grateful for the exemplary work performed by our airport team, numerous city departments, and our partners at the FAA and Florida Department of Transportation for making this project a reality.”
In May this year, Amazon Air announced plans to open a regional air hub at San Bernardino International Airport (SBD).
The 660,000 sq ft facility is being built through a partnership with the airport and developer Hillwood Enterprises.
The e-commerce giant has also announced a series of cargo hub developments over the last few years as it looks to support its rapidly growing air cargo network.
These cargo hubs include Chicago Rockford, Baltimore/Washington International, Miami,Dallas and its main hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
Additionally, in June this year, Amazon said it will expand its cargo capacity by leasing 12 Boeing 767-300 converted cargo aircraft from aviation leasing firm Air Transport Services Group (ATSG).
When delivered, the 12 leased aircraft will join Amazon’s existing fleet of 70 aircraft, bring its total number to 82 aircraft.
Amazon said that one of the new aircraft started operations in late May and the remaining 11 will be delivered in 2021.
All 12 of the aircraft will be leased to Amazon for 10 years, with options for Amazon to extend the leases for three additional years.
2. Union wins concessionary payout for PO product specialists
July 22, 2020
Despite their key target products having been withdrawn throughout the Covid-19 crisis, Post Office product specialists will still receive a nominal sum at the end of this month, in lieu of the scheduled bonus, following representations from the CWU.
“Travel insurance and bureau de change are the key drivers of the product specialists’ bonus scheme,” explains assistant secretary Andy Furey, “but of course both of these products were effectively withdrawn from sale due to the Coronavirus restrictions.
“So our hard-working members were faced with the complete loss of their bonus payment through no fault of their own. But despite the fact that, strictly speaking, it seemed a fait-accompli, we were absolutely determined to find some way of getting at least some extra cash onto these members’ pockets – in view of the fantastic efforts they’ve made over this recent period.”
Following discussions with Post Office senior management, a short-term interim agreement has been reached so that all product specialists receive a special payment of £62.50, which will be paid into July salaries.
“I’m pleased to have concluded this agreement and, although of course it’s not the sort of sum our product specialists would normally be expecting to earn – I do stress that this is an interim arrangement, purely aimed at getting them something now.
“We have agreed to have further discussions with the Post Office in September – when we’ll be able to have a detailed look at the complete figures for the whole quarter – and looking at issues around retrospective payments, calculating criteria and, hopefully, facilitating some good top-up payments for our members.
“And once again, I want to say on record what a superb job our product specialists – and all Post Office grades – have been doing during these extremely difficult times.”
3. House Democrats press U.S. Postal Service on plans to delay mail
July 21, 2020
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senior Democrats on a House of Representatives oversight committee wrote to the new postmaster general on Monday to press him on reports the service was prepared to delay mail delivery if needed to cut costs, a move that could affect mail-in ballot results.
The U.S. Postal Service’s losses have soared even as it has become more critical to the U.S. economy as consumers, confined to their homes because of the coronavirus, shop online. A determination to avoid crowds will also mean that voting by mail will be more popular this November.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump appointee who took office in June, has detailed changes to the service that include eliminating overtime, even if it means that mail delivery is delayed.
“While these changes in a normal year would be drastic, in a presidential election year when many states are relying heavily on absentee mail-in ballots, increases in mail delivery timing would impair the ability of ballots to be received and counted in a timely manner — an unacceptable outcome for a free and fair election,” wrote Representative Carolyn Maloney, chair of a government operations subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Reform.
The letter was also signed by Representative Gerald Connolly, chair of a national security subcommittee, and Representatives Stephen Lynch and Brenda Lawrence.
In a statement, Postal Service spokesman Dave Partenheimer said the agency was working on a plan to ensure it was financially stable. “It will certainly include new and creative ways for us to fulfill our mission,” he said.
The Postal Service has been struggling as email and social media have replaced letters and after a 2006 law required it to pre-fund employee pension and retirement health care costs for the next 75 years. It is funded through services and postage.
President Donald Trump has frequently criticized the post office, saying it charges too little to deliver packages sent by online retailers such as Amazon.com, whose founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post.
4. PostNord: Although the uncertainty remains high, we handled the difficult situation well in the second quarter
Highlights from the second quarter 2020
· Net sales SEK 9,328 million (9,514), + 0.3 % at fixed exchange rates for comparable units
· Operating income (EBIT) SEK 517 million (-70)
· Net income for the period SEK 262 million (-171)
Highlights from the first half of 2020
· Net sales SEK 18,832 million (18,985), + 0.2 % at fixed exchange rates for comparable units
· Operating income (EBIT) SEK 831 million (92)
· Net income for the period SEK 525m (-115)
Annemarie Gardshol, President and Group CEO said: “Nothing was really the same in the second quarter of the year, neither for society at large nor for us at PostNord. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic affected our customers, our partners, our suppliers and ourselves in a very real way. Although the uncertainty remains high, we as a company handled the difficult situation well in the second quarter. We have shown an ability to handle major changes in volume at a high level of delivery quality, while continuously focusing on our improvement programs.
“Overall, sales for the quarter were in line with the corresponding period last year, at SEK 9,328 million. On the other hand, the relative shares of our various businesses changed substantially. Parcel volumes rose by all of 15 percent and a total of 49 million parcels were handled during the quarter, on par with the record set in the seasonally strong fourth quarter 2019. The number of home deliveries and similar delivery arrangements increased sharply in all markets, although this was partly offset by falling demand for deliveries to stores. Letter volumes fell due to digitalization and reduced import volumes due to the pandemic. On the other hand, sales of stamps, pre-stamped parcels and postcards (Real Postcards) showed an increase. This is probably because in the pandemic, it has been more difficult for people to meet their loved ones, and therefore a physical greeting in the form of a letter or postcard has become particularly important. All in all, this shows that PostNord plays an important role in society, not least in troubled times.
Operating income improved sharply to SEK 517 million (-70). The improvement programs progressed successfully. At the same time, price increases had a positive effect on income. Additional costs arising from the pandemic were offset by corresponding government compensation.
During the quarter, several strategically important steps were taken. Deliveries to corporate customers via DigitalLOCK was introduced in Sweden. An agreement was concluded regarding the sale of properties in Norrköping, Sweden, and a decision made on a new terminal in the Tampere area, Finland. Major agreements were signed with, for example, Nordic Nest, Varner, Internetstores and Coop Danmark.
Preparations are ongoing for transition to two-day distribution of letters in Sweden. In Sweden and Denmark, dialogue with politicians concerning a long-term financially sustainable letter business continues. The current agreement between PostNordDanmark and the Danish government was extended for another six months, until the turn of the year.
PostNordDanmark receives compensation for the extra costs involved in the universal service obligation. However, it is assessed that the compensation does not offset the costs we incur in Denmark.
Despite the many challenges that ensued from the coronavirus pandemic, we maintained high delivery quality. In both Sweden and Denmark, we are clearly at a level above the legal requirements for letters. Delivery quality for parcels declined slightly, but still amounted to 94.7 percent for the Group as a whole.
I am proud of our employees and how well they handled a turbulent second quarter. Despite increased sick leave and a sharp change in demand, we have delivered on our mission with commitment, high delivery quality and good efficiency. At the same time, the future is unusually uncertain, both in the short and long term, so it is with both humility and confidence that we approach the second half of the year.
5. “China Post” Zhengzhou-Europe regular all-cargo airmail flight launched
July 13, 2020
At 12 a.m. on June 23, a plane carrying 4,727 bags of mail with a total weight of 85 tons took off successfully from Zhengzhou, capital city of Central China's Henan Province, to Frankfurt, Germany, marking the official opening of “China Post” regular all-cargo airmail route from Zhengzhou to Europe. This is the third international airmail route opened in Zhengzhou the year, following those from Zhengzhou to Seoul and to Tokyo. Up to now, China Post has opened direct airmail routes from Zhengzhou mail port to 47 cities in 36 countries (regions).
On the morning of the same day, the opening ceremony of the dedicated route was held at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport. Present at the ceremony were officials and executives from Henan Provincial Development and Reform Commission, Henan Provincial Postal Administration, Zhengzhou Customs District, Zhengzhou Station of Exit and Entry Frontier Inspection, Henan Province Airport Group, Henan Postal Branch and other organizations.
The airline of charter flights is operated by flight D4904, a Boeing 747 freighter, and it is scheduled to fly 3 regular flights per week. The opening of this airline brings more stability to the time limit for inbound and outbound international mail between Henan Province and Europe, and it can further guarantee the service and operation of express and logistics. Moreover, the outbound international mails from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other domestic postal ports to the 14 European countries like the UK, France, Germany, Spain, can be transferred to Zhengzhou and dispatched abroad via this charter flight. This way, the transportation time can be reduced by one or two days. Meanwhile, on its way back from Europe, the capacity of this charter flight will be used to carry inbound international mail items, e-commerce goods, electronic products, cold chain food, etc.
Therefore, it bears great practical significance for further enhancing the strengths and status of Zhengzhou air port as an international mail hub in China, and accelerating the development of manufacturing clusters and large air hub in Henan Province.
The opening of “China Post” Zhengzhou-Europe regular all-cargo airmail route is a fruit produced by the comprehensive implementation of the strategic cooperation agreement signed between the Henan Provincial Government and China Post Group in 2015. It is also a significant initiative of China Post to build an independently controllable international aviation network and ensure the stability of the international supply chain.
In recent years, focusing on the related requirements of the CPC Henan Provincial Committee and the Provincial Government for pushing forward the development of the synergy of the Five Zones (airports, free trade zones, innovation demonstration zones, cross-border e-commerce integrated pilot zones, big data integrated pilot zones) and the coordination of the Four Silk Roads (land, maritime, air and cyberspace silk roads) and better integrating into the Belt and Road Initiative and expanding opening-up, Henan Postal Branch has been striving to build Zhengzhou port into an international airmail hub and facilitate the development of hub economy and port economy in Henan Province.
At present, Zhengzhou mail port, with direct mail routes to 47 cities in 36 countries (regions), has played an important role in unblocking the major arteries, improving the micro-circulations, and promoting the construction of the "Air Silk Road" in Henan.
Especially since the outbreak of the pandemic, Henan Postal Branch has fully leveraged the flight resources of Zhengzhou airport, and successively launched regular charter flights from Zhengzhou to Seoul and to Tokyo, having transported over 3200 tons of outbound mail items transferred from mail ports of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other cities to Europe, the United States, South Korea and Japan.
Batches of urgently needed medical supplies have been transported to all parts of the world through the postal channel, which has effectively guaranteed the normal operation of the international supply chain and the smooth flow of international mail routes. As a result, the postal port of Henan has become a major junction for mail distribution nationwide.