Rounding up the biggest stories of the week in mail and express – with culmination of the UPU’s Congress in Doha, Australia Post’s big investment plans and cost-cutting at FedEx…
UPU adopts new strategy, elects Bishar Hussein as DG
This week, it was World Post Day and the culmination of the 25th Universal Postal Union Congress in Doha, Qatar, where the world’s postal administrations pledged to improve efficiency and connectivity in the global postal network.
A new four-year postal strategy was adopted by the UPU, taking us through to the next Congress, with ambitions for postal operators to diversify their activities while improving core letter and parcel services.
The week also saw election of Kenya’s Ambassador Bishar Hussein and Switzerland’s Pascal Thierry Clivaz as respectively UPU director-general and UPU deputy director general from January.
Australia Post announces biggest-ever investment in network
Australia Post revealed plans to invest more than AUD $2bn ($2.05bn USD) to transform its national logistics network into a “world class” parcel delivery network and a “universal digital platform”.
Its managing director and CEO, Ahmed Fahour, said the move will provide modern communication services in response to current customer trends.
Investment in the parcels network would boost automation levels and expand Australia Post’s footprint through the whole country, the company said, with more convenient parcel delivery options for both consumers and business.
FedEx promises investors $1.7bn improvement in profits
FedEx Corp said it is planning more cost-cutting, having warned investors earlier this year that share earnings would not be quite as strong as previously hoped.
The Memphis-based integrator held an investors’ summit where CEO Frederick W Smith promised a $1.7bn improvement in its annual profits by fiscal year 2016.
After a relatively strong 2011, the company has been suffering from the tough global economy this year, with clients shifting away from premium express delivery services, towards economy options, with more freight switching from air travel to ground and ocean-going alternatives.
Royal Mail wants volume clause in Access contracts
Royal Mail is starting discussions on changing the service terms for its Downstream Access contracts, stating the need for “fundamental reform” to help its universal service obligation.
The company said changes were needed in the light of significant declines in letter volumes and the fact that around half of all UK mail is now Access mail, passing through the hands of another mail processing company before being entered into the Royal Mail network.
It now wants to add a volume commitment to contracts for Access customers that want a uniform national price for mail delivered across the country, to cut the risk of unexpected drops in mail volumes. In return, lower prices would be offered to those customers committing to certain volumes.
USPS files for rate increases from January 2013
The US Postal Service proposed increasing its mailing and shipping rates by an average of 4% from 27th January, 2013, but needs regulatory approval before making the changes.
USPS filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission seeking an average 2.6% increase in letter and direct mail rates, the maximum allowed by US postal law. But its shipping products will see more significant price rises, particularly for retail and international customers.
USPS is also launching some new product lines from January, and during the year will be running six promotional events offering discounts to encourage certain uses of the mail.