Slower Mail
by Rockwell Sands @

The Tradeoff Between Slower Mail and Reliable Delivery

USPS executives propose slowing down mail to cut costs, claim reliability is more important than timely delivery

In an address to the Postal Regulatory Commission, USPS executives proposed a strategy to cut costs: slowing down the mail. USPS officials told the PRC they seek to reduce costs by shifting mail volume away from air transportation contractors. According to USPS, the costs of using air transportation contractors to deliver mail have risen due to contractors’ limited schedules and limited capacities. This, coupled with decreasing mail volumes, have made

Slowing Down Mail Would Theoretically Increase Reliability

Cutting costs is not the only reason why USPS executives have proposed slower mail times. They also argue that doing so would reestablish the organization’s credibility in the eyes of the American people. According to their argument, reliability is more important than quick delivery times to Americans, who have grown frustrated with record-breaking package delays. By increasing First-Class Mail delivery to a four or five-day timeframe, USPS hopes it can provide more consistent service. This, in turn, would increase its reliability.

Robert Cintron, the Postal Service’s Vice President for Logistics, said the agency’s core focus of the change is to ensure reliable service standards. When asked about potentially longer delivery times for the mail, he provided the following quote:

“Being reliable means that if we say three days, four days or five days, that we deliver within that span.”

How USPS Plans to Accommodate the Change

If the Postal Regulatory Commission approves the proposed strategy, USPS will work to remove outdated mail-sorting equipment from processing plants. Instead, the organization will focus on processing and storing more packages. Packages are the fastest-growing revenue for the Postal Service, after all. By removing mail-sorting equipment, USPS will also create room for 138 package-sorting machines it expects to have up-and-running before the 2021 peak holiday rush.

Meanwhile, USPS isn’t just planning on slowing down mail delivery timeframes to boost reliability. USPS is also proposing a slower delivery standard for First Class Package Service, which is its most popular service for sending lightweight packages.

All in all, USPS seeks to move away from relying so heavily on air transportation, for both letters and packages. Instead, the organization hopes to deliver more of its mail and parcels through ground transportation.


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