U.S. Postal Service Looking For More ‘Experimental’ Delivery Ideas, Cost Savings

The U.S. Postal Service has adapted to a future where we send and receive fewer first-class letters, but need many more packages delivered to our doorsteps. In testimony to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs this week, Postmaster General Megan Brennan told the assembled senators that the postal service is still looking for new things to deliver to make more money, but hopes that the Senate can pass legislation meant to make it less broke.

For years, one frequent idea out of Congress for saving USPS money was cutting Saturday deliveries. For now, the USPS is bringing in more money by doing the opposite of that, making residential deliveries of regular packages on Sundays for Amazon.

What the USPS wants from Congress is to have its obligation to pre-fund retiree health benefits adjusted. Without that requirement, the service actually turns a profit; taking it into account, the semi-governmental agency loses billions of dollars every year.

While Brennan and other witnesses couldn’t give details during a public hearing, there are other options that the USPS is pursuing to bring in more revenue. The Sunday deal with Amazon may not work out in the long term, since Amazon seems determined to take charge of its own logistics in the coming years, but one appealing option is to allow the USPS to handle shipments of alcoholic beverages. The pilot program of having mail carriers deliver groceries has expanded, and could expand further.

Postal Service Looking to Grow Experimental Delivery Business [ECommerceBytes]
Postal reform consensus develops; 5-day delivery dead [Washington Post]
S.2051 – Improving Postal Operations, Service, and Transparency Act of 2015 [Senate]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.