First Class Volume Slips, Standard Is Up

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The U.S. Postal Service's revenue and expenses rose in the first three months of 2006 versus the year-ago period, acting chief financial officer Robert Pedersen told the agency's Board of Governors at its meeting in Washington last week.

From Jan. 1 to March 31, revenue was up 7.7 percent while expenses rose 4.5 percent, Mr. Pedersen said. For the first six months of the fiscal year, revenue is up 2.9 percent while expenses have climbed 4.2 percent.

Also for the fiscal year to date, First Class volume is 1.3 percent below the same period last year while Standard Mail volume has grown 1.5 percent and Priority volume is up 7 percent. Transportation costs, including fuel-related expenses, are 11.7 percent higher.

At the meeting, the board approved $101 million to fund design and construction of an 831,000 square-foot mail processing center in Oklahoma City to replace the 40-year-old structure now serving customers in the Oklahoma District. The project includes construction of a 29,000 square-foot vehicle maintenance facility and a 12,000 square-foot warehouse.

The governors also approved funding to buy additional Delivery Bar Code Sorter equipment for sorting letter mail in the sequence in which mail carriers deliver it. This purchase consists of entirely new machines and stacker modules for existing Delivery Bar Code Sorters. It will reduce the manual sorting of letter mail required today for new addresses that have been established since the last DBCS equipment deployments were completed.

Funding to buy 148 Automatic Induction Systems for retrofit onto existing Automated Flat Sorting Machine 100s also was approved. The systems include automatic feeders that induct flats (oversized pieces of mail such as catalogs) directly into the machine. This lets the USPS reduce operating costs.

In other business, the board received the results of the 2006 Privacy Trust Study of the U.S. Government from Zoe Strickland, USPS chief privacy officer. The study, published by Ponemon Institute LLC, measures the confidence Americans have in the government agencies that routinely collect and use the public's personal information.

For the second year in a row, Americans rated the USPS as the No. 1 agency they trust to protect their privacy. It was also one of the few federal agencies to increase its customer satisfaction and trust scores from the year before.

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