UPU Emergency Information System Message – Canada Post Shutdown of Major Exchange Office and Key Domestic Hub Imminent

We expect Canada Post Corporation (CPC) to shutdown its international office of exchange (IEO) and one of its three domestic operations hubs in Toronto this week due to COVID-19 pandemic impact on the workforce.

Message n° 36/2021

26 January 2021 / 26 janvier 2021 à 13h32( CET)

Further to EmIS 638/2020, the designated operator of Canada, Canada Post, asks us to inform other Union member countries and their designated operators that a number of cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in one of the three shifts at its Gateway East processing plant in the Greater Toronto Area. 

Following guidance by the regional health authority, Canada Post has temporarily closed this shift to prevent further spread of the virus. The Toronto exchange office, located in a separate area of the Gateway plant, continues to operate, albeit with a reduced workforce. Given this situation, disruption to normal operations and reduced processing capacity and clearance within customs operations are to be expected.

As further staff shortages are expected during this time, in addition to measures to protect the health and safety of workers, member countries can expect delays in the processing and delivery of both inbound and outbound mail items.

Canada Post is evaluating and adapting existing contingency plans to keep postal items flowing with minimal delay, triaging where appropriate, and will keep member countries updated via EmIS as this situation evolves. Unless designated operators are specifically requested to dispatch to the Montreal or Vancouver offices of exchange, Canada Post requests that dispatches not be diverted or rerouted.

Canada Post has operated with safety protocols in place following the guidance of public health officials since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 and will continue to follow their expert guidance and recommendations.

Canada Post thanks all Union member countries and their designated operators for their understanding during this very difficult time.

Description: cid:image001.jpg@01CACBFB.00F07970

Biden to Sign Buy American Order for Government Procurement

Will this knock Turkish automotive firm Karsan out of contention for the USPS delivery vehicle fleet contract? The bigger question mark is – can Workhorse deliver?

1. Biden administration campaign promises to accelerate U. S. climate change initiatives – They are Big! – http://reut.rs/3qQvtFL

2. The USPS delivery fleet is in “Zombie mode’!

3. The Postal Service has a very strong history as a technology innovator and adopter, especially for the sorting and transportation of the U S Mails, e.g., the US Airline industry was built on the US Air Mail service, Rural Free Delivery, RFD, the Railway Mail Service and Parcel Post services drove the expansion of B2C commerce in the US. And the Postal Service was an early pioneer in the development of Optical Character Reader, OCR, technology for high-speed mail sorting in the 1970’s. Yes, the 1970s! We saw them in operation in NYC. You can view and download a video of an early OCR here.

The headwinds are also strong –

1. No proven track record in delivering large scale fleets of commercial delivery vehicles

2. No proven track record in delivering viable Electric commercial delivery vehicles that can operate in all climates and delivery environments on the scale that the US Postal Service requires.

3. No proven track record in pre-market maintenance training and support

4. No proven track record in providing aftermarket support for parts and service

5. The vested interests of the U. S. petroleum and automotive sectors to maintain status quo are very big!

Automotive sector Annual lobbying – http://bit.ly/3a4vUFA

Automotive sector Annual campaign contributions – http://bit.ly/2LUKxn7

Petroleum sector lobbying – http://bit.ly/3iLTI58

Petroleum sector campaign contributions http://bit.ly/2KMJiFT

BUT! Do NOT Ignore History…

Whether it’s Workhorse, or another eVehicle newcomer, just as the US Air Mail Service was the foundation for the U S Airline industry, we believe a 180,000+ Electric delivery vehicle fleet order will jumpstart the United States’ transition to electric, and other alternative, environment friendly transportation modes.

UPDATE – And while Workhorse looks like the obvious choice, could the USPS scrap the solicitation and re-solicit it opening the door to new vehicle companies that have come on the scene since the original RFP? Stay tuned – https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/biden-administration-usps-ev-electric-mail-carriers-grumman-llv/

Western Union Partners With Walmart!

January 19, 2021

Western Union services will roll out in more than 4,700 Walmart stores starting this spring. A leapfrog over the competition, or a ‘Hail Mary pass’? – https://bit.ly/3pbAfgo

And further to the discussion where in the world is the US Postal Service’s “Sure Money® (DineroSeguro®)”. Yes, the service has been around since the mid 1990’s but have you seen it advertised lately? The USPS has about 30,000 retail outlets versus Walmart’s 4,756 stores.

And why didn’t USPS partner with Walmart? Walmart’s footfall and customer demographic are a natural fit. “Has the USPS lost its business development mojo?” Stay tuned for the next installment – “Retail Self Service Kiosk – What Took So Long?” #USPSLostBizDevMojo

the CEP Group Joins MDPI

 the CEP Group Joins MDPI

the CEP Group has joined MDPI, a pioneer in scholarly open access publishing based in Basel, Switzerland. MDPI fosters open scientific exchange across all disciplines through 209 diverse, peer-reviewed journals supported by over 35,500 academic editors.

The CEP Group will focus on logistics including last mile delivery models and returns, integrated supply chains, remote sensing, robotics, and vehicles, aircraft and vessels including autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs), and alternative fuels, and customer value chain analysis (CVA). We will provide the latest research and thought in these areas for our clients.

the CEP Group Continues U.S. Federal Government System for Award Management (SAM) Support in CY 2021!

the CEP Group is pleased to announce our continued participation in the U.S. Federal Government’s System for Award Management (SAM) for CY 2021. SAM is the official website of the U.S. government that companies must actively register in to do business with the Federal Government. 

Our expertise in national postal operator (NPO) contracting spans four decades including work on US Postal Service Contract Postal Units (CPUs), USPS fleet purchasing for the national accounts program, multiple projects for www.usps.com including development and launch of the Post Office Locator, the re-engineering design contract for the USPS website, development of the affiliate marketing program for www.usps.com, and special reports for the USPS office of Inspector General, OIG.

Beyond the US Postal Service, the CEP Group principals have led extensive alliance projects for commercial integrators with national postal operators (NPOs) for co-branded products, integrated cross border and domestic first mile – last mile delivery networks, and global mail transportation networks

We are proud to continue our tradition of expert consultation, special projects, and custom research for the Courier, Express, and Postal sector worldwide

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Announces Proposal Covering Drone Operations

WASHINGTON — January 15 2019

The U.S. Department of Transportation is prepared to issue a new proposed rule that will allow more freedom for people operating drones, according to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Secretary Chao delivered her remarks at the January 14th Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting. She announced that the forthcoming proposed rule would allow drone operators to fly their machines at night, and over the heads of people without special waivers with certain conditions. Conditions include the operator a.) Has received appropriate training, b.) Has completed approved testing, and c.)  Has equipped the drone with anti-collision lighting.

The proposed rules will be published soon in the Federal Register for public comment.

Source: Transport Topics

Austria to end De Minimis as of 1 January 2020

The Austrian Government has decided that online orders from third countries will be fully taxable, with no de minimis.

Currently, the import tax exemption limit is €22, which is used in particular by Asian online retailers. The new regulation should come into force from 2020, anticipating the entry into force as part of the EU VAT Ecommerce Reform.

By 1 January 2021, a new simplified customs and VAT procedure will be introduced for all postal items with a value of less than €150 (i.e. “Low Value Consignment [LVC]”).

This procedure will be applied to all economic operators (designated/national postal operators, as well as non-designated operators). To send commercial items cross borders, the use of electronic advanced data will be mandatory when sending the items.

According to figures made public by the Austrian retail association (Handelsverband), every year 560 million cross-border parcels from China are sent via dominant Chinese mail order companies to the European Union. 97% of these shipments are fully customs and VAT free in the EU and a large part of the remaining 3% enters the EU without customs fees.

source: Ecommerce Europe

the CEP Group Updates its Membership in the Reverse Logistics Association, RLA

23 June 2021

the CEP Group updated its membership information with the the RLA this month, and added a link on the Industry Affiliations page.

The Reverse Logistics Association promotes best practices related to reverse logistics. RLA is a member-driven, global trade association for the returns and reverse industry. The association offers information, research, solutions, and facilitates networking introductions for manufacturers, retail companies, and third-party providers. Their mission is to educate and inform reverse logistics professionals globally and be the voice of the reverse industry

Evolution of a Medium, or it’s decline and fall?

The U S Postal Service ramps up its marketing for Direct Mail – using the medium to showcase the message. The ‘current’ campaign uses a highly sophisticated direct mailpiece (see description below). Based on our experience developing integrated direct marketing campaigns for Express Mail in the USPS Northeast Region in the mid-1980s, the current campaign is likely targeting SMEs with a list built from a.) In house customer account files, b.) Respondents from prior marketing campaigns, and c.) Purchased lists based on USPS criteria for market segments for direct mail.

The mailpiece itself combines several interactive elements to engage the audience’s senses including sight – the visual elements of design; touch – the physical mailpiece itself, a hard copy Business Reply Card to mail back for more information and featured publication, and the interaction of rubbing the ‘cookie images’; smell – to release the aroma of the cookies, as well as digital interaction with a QR code to scan in order to obtain a copy of publication the “Evolution of a Medium”

The one glaring flaw of the campaign is its timing, as evoked in the copy and artwork; i.e., a tie in to the Holiday Season as referenced by the scratch and sniff holiday cookies. And most interestingly, the direct mailpiece image that was scanned in the Informed Delivery ® service is hot linked to a USPS response microsite – Uncover the secret ingredients with USPS. | USPS Delivers, in effect serving as a demonstration of the service, and an example of an integrated marketing medium.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Postal Service cannot deliver even its own mail on time which is particularly poignant amidst its latest existential crisis. Somehow, delivering mail months late (yes, we are still receiving holiday cards from friends and family as of this month, birthday cards mailed to family members that would have been delivered within the normal First Class Mail standard time frame of 2-3 days nationwide never showed up, and checks mailed to professional industry organizations in January have disappeared.

So, the question remains, is this the Evolution of mail, or the decline and fall of a Postal Service?

New Blog Series; “Everyone Is An Expert, None Have Worked There”©

The Postal Service is, again, at a crisis point as we read daily news stories about Mail backlogged for months, if not disappearing entirely, Congressional hearings with the PMG and the Board of Governors, calls for their removal, and a potential network crash centered on a key node in Chicago.

As we are now approaching our third episode dealing with the U. S. Postal Service under the informal rubric of “Everyone Is An Expert, None Have Worked There”, we have decided to formalize the series. Follow us over the next several weeks as we explore the current crisis.