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

USPS Will Begin Nationwide Reduction in Mail Processing Equipment Due to Falloff in Mail Volume

Facing an ongoing falloff of letter and flat mail volume that is further accelerating due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the national economy, the Postal Service plans to significantly reduce the number of Advanced Facer Canceler Systems (AFCS), Delivery Bar Code Sorters (DBCS), Automated Flat Sorting Machine 100s (AFSM100), and Flat Sequencing Systems (FSS) in its mail processing facilities. This loss of production capacity may signal an irreversible degradation of service and the inability of the service to recover during an economic upturn.

The subject reduction is anticipated to take place over the next several months. For further analysis of the impending reductions, including the affected mail processing facilities and service areas and potential impacts on the business mailing sector please contact us for a one on one consultation.

Where Will Amazon Turn Next?

We think the Zoox acquisition will integrate very deeply into Amazon’s ecosystem to the point where it will be a Prime+ benefit, providing not ride hailing but self contained transportation for Prime members to a number of Amazon ‘properties’ including the grocery marketplace (Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods, et alia), Amazon Retail experience (JCPenny, Sears, Kohl’s, et alia, Macy*s ?), Amazon Healthcare Centers (amazon.care), and Amazon entertainment (Amazon/AMC theatres), just for starters.

Brazilian Government and Airlines at Odds Over Aid Terms

This will rattle Brazil’s eCommerce market, ranked in the top 5, or 10 worldwide, depending on who is counting and how they measure. The CEP Group uses its 40+ years of eCommerce experience, both nationally and cross-border, XBeC, combined with Amazon’s focus. Note: this does not mean that Amazon is currently successful in a market, e.g., China, only that they recognize it is a priority.

USPS Publishes 2020 Web Tools Release Notes

The Postal Service has distributed its 2020 Web Tools API Release Notes, Version 1.5. They note that the May 21st release details are included. Updates for future releases will be distributed as details are finalized. Further information can be found at the USPS Web tools Portal – https://www.usps.com/business/web-tools-apis/welcome.htm.

Please contact webtools@usps.gov for additional information. A copy of the Release Notes is also available here –

JAPAN POST: “OUR TRANSPORTATION PERFORMANCE HAS SIGNIFICANTLY DECLINED”

Japan Post has announced a temporary suspension of the acceptance of international mail from 126 countries for EMS and Air Mail, and for all types of mail from 27 countries. 

Japan Post has posted on their website as of April 1, 2020 – “The novel coronavirus pandemic has caused many countries/territories to take measures such as stopping acceptance of inbound postal items as well as considerable suspension and reduction of flights from/to Japan. Accordingly, our transportation performance has significantly declined. Therefore, acceptance of international mail items, mainly EMS and parcel-post/letter-post items by air and SAL, will be temporarily suspended from April 2. For details, please see the attachment (PDF16KB).

Items which have already been accepted and cannot be dispatched to their destinations will be returned from the delivery offices to the senders in order. In addition, because of the global reduction of flights, considerable delivery delays are expected for outbound mail items to other countries/territories.

For additional details see- https://www.post.japanpost.jp/int/information/2020/0401_02_en.html