Reducing Door-to-Door Delivery Could Save Post Office

Thursday, 15 May 2014 12:49 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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Scaling back on door-to-door deliveries could be the antidote for the U.S. Postal Service to stop the financial hemorrhaging, according to The Washington Post.

Alternative delivery methods, such as delivering mail at curbside and community mailboxes, have saved 35 percent to 55 percent compared with doorstep delivery, according to an analysis by the Government Accountability Office.

The Postal Service website states that the agency ended fiscal year 2013 with a net loss of $5 billion, the seventh straight year it incurred a net loss.

Reuters reported last week that the Postal Service posted a second-quarter net loss of $1.9 billion, partially attributed to a 4.1 percent decline in first-class mail volume, the post office’s most profitable product. Online bill pay and communicating via the Internet have impacted the post office’s bottom line, according to Reuters.

"Community cluster-boxes" cost the post office less than half of the $380 it spent for each door-to-door delivery in 2012, according to the Post. Curbside deliveries were $240; the cluster boxes cost $170.

Community mailboxes are the new normal in newer residential developments and office parks.

Postal reform has long been a topic of debate in Congress. Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn and Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat from Delaware, have proposed a bill that would convert certain door-to-door mail delivery to curbside and cluster-box drop-offs, according to the Post, but getting it passed may be challenging. Past proposals have died on the vine because they included "service cuts that many members of Congress oppose," the Post reports.

"We're quite obviously in a deep financial hole,"  USPS Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Joseph Corbett last week at a media briefing.

In January, Canada’s postal service announced it would be phasing out door-to-door delivery in cities and suburbs and converting mail delivery to community mail drops. Rural residents will still get door-to-door service, as will all parcels, according to The Motley Fool.

The move is expected to save Canada Post $500 million annually.

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