USPS Approves 3.3% Increase, Posts '99 Spending

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The U.S. Postal Service's Board of Governors last week approved the postal management's proposed average 3.3 percent international mail rate increase, and announced part of its spending plan for FY99.

Rates, which will be implemented on May 30, include a 9 percent increase for USPS' Global Package Link Service, a 5 percent increase for air-letter mail sent from the United States to Canada and a 25 percent rate reduction for International Priority Air Mail. Also approved: a new pricing structure for international rates, a new volume discount program for mailers who send at least 100,000 packages overseas and the March 14 implementation of a national delivery confirmation system for Priority Mail and parcel post shippers.

The proposed changes were published in the Federal Register late last year and were open to public comment for one month. Few companies responded.

"The USPS received no public comments for Global Package Link rates," said USPS spokesman Roy Betts. "As for the traditional services, most of the rate changes were driven by cost changes -- particularly the costs we incur to have our mail delivered in foreign countries -- and we received only two comments for these categories of mail."

The BOG approved capital funding of $20.7 million to purchase and install 37 Small Parcel and Bundle Sorter Feed Systems designed to increase productivity and enhance workplace safety. The funding is part of the USPS' 5-year, $17 billion investment program, which was implemented last year. It expects to spend $4.4 billion of capital commitments this year including $1.8 billion to build and improve facilities, $1.2 billion for advanced mail processing equipment and $294 million for delivery and collection vehicles.

Postmaster General William J. Henderson announced three senior management appointments in operations, labor relations, and consumer affairs effective immediately: Jack Potter, previously senior vice president of labor relations, has become senior vice president of operations. Anthony Vegliante, previously district manager of the Baltimore Performance Cluster, has become vice president of labor relations, and Francia G. Smith, manager of marketing infrastructure, has become vice president and consumer advocate.

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