USPS reports dismal 2017 annual figures

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The American national postal service USPS has reported some very lack-lustre annual results to Congress in its required report.

USPS reported revenue of $69.6 billion for the fiscal year 2017, ending on September 30th. That’s a decrease of $1.8 billion compared to the previous year. Reduced revenues were driven largely by an accelerated decline in first class and marketing mail volumes.

In 2017, mail volumes declined by 5.0 billion pieces, or 3.6%, and package volumes grew by 589 million pieces, or 11.4%, continuing the trend of declining mail volumes and increasing package volume. While mail volume declines for the year were somewhat offset by growth in package volume, overall volume has declined by 4.9 billion pieces.

The report says: “The growth in our Shipping and Packages business provided some help to the financial picture of the Postal Service as revenue increased $2.1 billion, or 11.8 percent. However, that growth was offset in our financials by the decline in mail volumes discussed above, as well as a $1.1 billion 2016 noncash change in accounting estimate and the 2016 roll-back of the exigent surcharge mandated by the Postal Regulatory Commission which further reduced revenue by $1.1 billion from what it otherwise would have been.”

The US Postmaster General and USPS CEO Megan J. Brennan says of the figures: “Our financial situation is serious, though solvable. There is a path to profitability and long-term financial stability. We are taking actions to control costs and compete effectively for revenues in addition to legislative and regulatory reform. We continue to optimize our network, enhance our products and services, and invest to better serve the American public.”

To a great extent the problems at USPS reflect those of the UK national postal service Royal Mail. They both have responsibilities that are expensive and are also required to keep focussed on letters rather than parcels in the first instance. But the future is parcels.



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