TribLIVE

| Opinion/The Review


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

The postal service's deal with Amazon: A positive harbinger?

Daily Photo Galleries

Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
 

Technological innovation — email and text messaging — has made first-class mail a dwindling, money-losing business for the U.S. Postal Service. But now, logistical innovation — delivering e-commerce giant Amazon's packages on Sundays — points the way toward 21st-century postal service relevance and financial stability.

Indeed, this contract — bringing Sunday Amazon package delivery to the New York City and Los Angeles metro areas for this holiday season, elsewhere next year — begs the question of why the postal service took so long to sign such a deal. Financial terms aren't being disclosed, according to The New York Times, but the contract does capitalize on the service's strengths.

From 2008 to 2012, annual first-class mail volume declined from 92 billion pieces to about 69 million, revenue from nearly $75 billion to $65 billion. But the postal service's package business grew, to about 3.5 billion pieces and $11.6 billion in revenue — and is profitable amid nearly $16 billion in 2012 losses.

The postal service expects similar deals with other merchants. That means brighter prospects regardless of whether Congress lets it end Saturday first-class delivery, raise postage rates or reduce its unique, thrice unmet obligation to pay $5.5 billion annually toward future retirees' health care.

The Amazon contract, the most exciting step the postal service has taken in ages, invigorates an operation too long stuck in the past. Hopefully, it's the first of many innovations to come.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Editorials

  1. The medical device tax: An abject failure
  2. Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
  3. The truth about the VA: Rank dereliction of duty
  4. Those revised gun forms: A full explantion is owed
  5. Drilling laws: Your rights
  6. Saturday essay: Awaiting the peat
  7. Education & entertainment
  8. Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances
  9. Greensburg Laurels & Lances
  10. Unlocking Armstrong County: River journey continues
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.