Weakened postal service could further embolden competition

opinions

December 16, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Canada is planning to phase out home delivery of mail over the next five years.
“Community mailboxes” will serve neighborhoods in urban areas and replace delivery to individual residences.
Canada is modeling its approach after Sweden, which delivers its mail to nationwide store centers.
A steady and precipitous decline in letters, bills, cards and other kinds of small mail has led to a 23.6 percent decline in volume over the last five years for our neighbor to the north.
Canada Post delivers five days a week. The change in delivery style also comes with a hefty increase in postage, from 63 cents to 85 cents a stamp.
Though it witnessed a slight profit last year, Canada Post is on target to lose $1 billion a year by 2020, in part because of its pension program that is $6.5 billion short of its obligations. Canadians receive universal health insurance.
The Internet has been a bane to many types of industries since its inception. Hallmark, for example, has been forced to branch out from making only greeting cards. Communication via the Web has forced postal services all across the modern world to rethink their delivery paradigms.
In the United States, the postal service has partnered with the Internet giant Amazon.com to deliver its packages on Sundays.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
As with Canada, the U.S. Postal Service’s finances are in ruin. The USPS is $5.6 billion short in being able to pay for health benefits for future retirees.
Some propose eliminating Saturday delivery as a cost-cutting measure.
Evidence shows, however, the more you sideline a business, the more irrelevant it becomes.

U.S. POSTAL employees should think long and hard before requesting delivery be less timely and more inconvenient.
Such a formula begs for a workaround — from outside competition.
  -— Susan Lynn

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