On J.W. Wescott, the Mail Boat

The New York Times took on the postal beat this weekend, writing about postal ship J.W. Westcott II, which it called “the only floating ZIP code in the United States.”

Much like the rest of the postal system, package deliveries are healthy but first class mail are down.

First-class mail volume is down these days, said the owner, Jim Hogan. Most ships have wireless internet — so, like everyone else, sailors use email. “But our packages, express and priority, are up.”

While the J.W. Westcott company remains successful – delivering mail to 100 ships in the Great Lakes — it is also watching the drone revolution with unease.

Sailing two months on and one month off, “sailors on contemporary merchant ships are basically trapped,” said Mr. Hogan, sitting in front of black-and-white family photos and hockey posters in his office. He recently read that Maersk, the largest container shipping company in the world, was experimenting with using drones to deliver to its ships. But drones are expensive and small, so Mr. Hogan is confident that it will always be cost effective to deliver bulky, low-value cargo like coffee or paper towels by boat.

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