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Speaker: No New USPS International Rates in 2003

BOSTON — International rates for business mail will not increase in 2003, though they are scheduled to rise the following year, according to Robert E. Michelson, manager of international marketing at the U.S. Postal Service.

Speaking at a meeting sponsored by the International Mailers Action Group at the Fall 2002 National Postal Forum here Sept. 22, Michelson said rates are based on scheduled increases in terminal dues, which are charges paid by postal administrations to each other for the delivery of international mail.

Michelson also gave an update on a USPS agreement with Consignia, the UK postal service. Under the deal signed by the two agencies last year, the USPS sends all Global Express Mail and Global Air Parcel Post packages in Europe to Frankfurt, where Consignia takes delivery. General Logistic Systems, Consignia's pan-European parcel company, then is responsible for delivering the packages throughout Europe.

The partnership lets the USPS use a single point of contact for Europe, but the postal service has experienced problems, including with on-time delivery and duties and fees that were higher than expected.

Michelson said the USPS gave Consignia until September to fix delivery problems resulting from the agreement.

“Most of the problems have been resolved,” he said. “It can still get better, however, and we are working on that.”

Michelson also said the agency is working to enhance tracking functionality of USPS Global Express Mail and Global Air Parcel Products for customers who have an International Customized Mail agreement with the postal service. The ICM provides the terms and conditions of the discounts. The size of the discount varies by the customer's volume or revenue and is adjusted quarterly based upon the actual volume mailed by the customer during the preceding quarter.

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