On April 11, 2017, the Postal Service™ announced the suspension of most mail services to Guatemala. Until further notice, all Post Offices™ and other acceptance locations must not accept any mail destined to the country of Guatemala, other than Global Express Guaranteed® (GXG®) service, which is still available. The suspension affects Priority Mail Express International® (PMEI), Priority Mail International® (PMI), First-Class Mail International® (FCMI), First-Class Package International Service® (FCPIS®), International Priority Airmail® (IPA®), International Surface Air Lift® (ISAL®), and M-Bag® items.

 

  For already deposited items other than GXG addressed to Guatemala, Postal Service employees must endorse them “Mail Service Suspended — Return to Sender” and then place them in the mail stream for return.

   

For any returned item bearing a customs form, as well as any item shipped with Priority Mail Express International service, the Postal Service will, upon request, refund postage and fees on mail returned due to the suspension of service.  

 

For all other returned items not bearing a customs declarations form, the Postal Service will, upon request, refund postage and fees on mail returned due to the suspension of service, or the sender may remail them with the existing postage once service to Guatemala has been restored. When remailing under this option, customers must cross out the markings “Mail Service Suspended — Return to Sender.”

 

Excluding the effects of a $1.7 billion change in its workers’ compensation liability due to fluctuations in interest rates, the U.S. Postal Service posted a net loss of approximately $200 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016).

Controllable income for the quarter was $522 million compared to $1.3 billion for the same period last year, a decrease of $735 million. Operating revenue decreased by $155 million, and was significantly impacted by the April 2016 expiration of the exigent surcharge. If the exigent surcharge had remained in place, the Postal Service would have generated approximately $570 million in additional revenue during the quarter.

The first quarter, which includes the holiday mailing season, is typically the Postal Service’s strongest quarter of the fiscal year. The Postal Service processed and delivered a record volume of packages during the 2016 holiday season, and for the entire quarter, the Shipping and Packages business experienced revenue growth of $701 million, or 14.7 percent over the same period in the prior year.

However, this positive development in the Shipping and Packages business was offset by a decline in First-Class Mail revenue of $568 million, or 7.5 percent, due largely to the exigent surcharge expiration noted above and continuing electronic migration. Revenue from Standard Mail (renamed USPS Marketing Mail, as of January 22, 2017) decreased approximately $224 million over the prior year quarter, again due mainly to the loss of the exigent surcharge. Volume increased in political and election mail, but there was a shift in the mail mix and volume declines in other Marketing Mail products. (See Selected FY 2017 First Quarter Results of Operations table below).

Overall, the Postal Service continues to operate within an unsustainable business model because of mandated costs such as an unaffordable retiree health benefits program that is not fully integrated with Medicare, and an ineffective pricing system.

“Our current financial situation is serious, but solvable,” said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan. “With legislation that contains broadly supported provisions to improve our business model, the Postal Service can generate total savings of $26 billion over the next five years.  When combined with a favorable outcome of the recently initiated 10-year pricing system review by the Postal Regulatory Commission and continued aggressive management actions, the Postal Service would return to financial stability.”

Operating expenses decreased in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. Offsetting the $1.3 billion and $927 million declines in retiree health benefits and workers’ compensation expenses, respectively, compensation and benefits expenses increased by approximately $654 million and, transportation costs increased by $146 million. The growth in labor and transportation costs is largely due to the increase in Shipping and Packages volumes, which are more labor-intensive to process and require greater transportation capacity than mail. Transportation costs also increased to continue the significant improvement in service levels.

“Despite the loss of revenue from the expiration of the exigent surcharge and continued effects of electronic migration on First-Class Mail revenue, we continue to believe there is strength in the postal system, and that there is a path forward for us to return to financial health,” said Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Joseph Corbett.  “However, the Postal Service’s return to long-term financial stability is only possible when our continuing actions to improve efficiency, reduce costs and expand our use of technology are combined with our proposed legislative and regulatory reforms that together will enable us to continue to meet our universal service obligations and invest in the future of the Postal Service and the mailing industry as a whole.”

FY 2017 First Quarter Revenue and Volume by Service Category Compared to Last Year  
The following presents revenue and volume by category for the three months ended December 31, 2016, and 2015:

   

Revenue

 

Volume

 
  (revenue in $ millions; volume in millions of pieces)

2016

 

2015

 

2016

 

2015

 
                   
  Service Category                
  First-Class Mail $

6,988

    $

7,556

   

15,880

   

16,426

   
  Standard Mail (Marketing Mail)

4,693

   

4,917

   

22,355

   

22,075

   
  Shipping and Packages

5,456

   

4,755

   

1,608

   

1,448

   
  International

766

   

792

   

285

   

298

   
  Periodicals

361

   

409

   

1,370

   

1,466

   
  Other

928

   

918

   

104

   

191

   
                   
  Total revenue and volume $

19,192

    $

19,347

   

41,602

   

41,904

   

FY 2017 Changes in Funding for Retiree Health Benefits  
As referenced above, the Postal Service’s first quarter retiree health benefits expense declined by $1.3 billion compared to the same period last year. This was primarily due to changes in the Postal Service’s funding of retiree health benefits that are to take effect in 2017 according to law.

In accordance with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), beginning in 2017, the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund (PSRHBF) is to be used to fund the Postal Service’s share of retiree health benefit premiums. Additionally, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will determine the amount of annual payments the Postal Service will need to make to amortize the PSRHBF unfunded liability. Based on a preliminary estimate of the unfunded liability provided by OPM, the Postal Service estimates that the amortization payments for the unfunded liability will be $907 million annually, and the Postal Service has accrued $227 million in the first quarter for this payment. OPM is not required to determine such amount until June 30, 2017; accordingly, the amount of the annual expense is subject to change.

The Postal Service is also obligated to begin paying the normal costs of retiree health benefits attributable to the service of Postal Service employees during the most recently ended fiscal year, which the OPM estimates is approximately $2.9 billion for the Postal Service’s fiscal year 2017.
The following table details retiree health benefits expenses, including the changes that are taking effect in fiscal year 2017, for the three months ended December 31, 2016, and 2015:

  (in millions)

2016

 

2015

 
           
  Amortization of PSRHBF unfunded liability1,5 $

227

    $

 

 

 
  PSRHBF prefunding fixed amount2,5

   

1,450

   
  Normal cost of retiree health benefits3

742

   

   
  Retiree health benefits premiums4

   

792

   
           
  Total retiree health benefits expense $

969

    $

2,242

   
           
  1 Accrual for one quarter of the estimated $907 million annual payment, as determined by the Postal Service based on OPM’s preliminary estimate of the remaining $18.2 billion PSRHBF unfunded liability as calculated based on OPM’s preliminary valuation of the PSRHBF funded status as of September 30, 2016.  
  2 Accrual for one quarter of the $5.8 billion annual prefunding payment to be paid into the PSRHBF due September 30, 2016.  
  3 Accrual for one quarter of the estimated $2.9 billion annual payment based on OPM’s estimate of actuarially-determined normal cost of retiree health benefits for current employees to be paid into the PSRHBF.  
  4 Expense for one quarter of the amount the Postal Service was billed for its share of retiree health benefit premiums for annuitants by OPM. Beginning in 2017, the PSRHBF is to be used to fund the Postal Service’s share of retiree health benefit premiums.  
  5 The Postal Service remains obligated to fund the $33.9 billion in PSRHBF prefunding payments that it has defaulted on for the years 2012 through 2016. It is anticipated that OPM will also establish a payment schedule as of June 30, 2017 to liquidate this liability that could include a progress payment due in 2017.  

Selected FY 2017 First Quarter Results of Operations  
This news release references operating revenue before the temporary exigent surcharge, which is not calculated and presented in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP).

The following table reconciles these non-GAAP operating revenue calculations with GAAP net income for the three months ended December 31, 2016, and 2015:

  (results in $ millions)

2016

 

2015

 
           
  Operating revenue        
  Operating revenue before temporary exigent surcharge $

19,192

    $

18,777

   
  Temporary exigent surcharge*

   

570

   
  Total operating revenue $

19,192

    $

19,347

   
  Other revenue

9

   

12

   
  Total revenue $

19,201

    $

19,359

   
           
  Total operating expenses $

17,716

    $

19,002

   
           
  Interest and investment income (expense), net

(47

)  

(50

)  
           
  Net income $

1,438

    $

307

   
           
  * The temporary exigent surcharge expired on April 10, 2016.  

Controllable Income  
This news release references controllable income, which is not calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP. Controllable income is a non-GAAP financial measure defined as net income adjusted for items outside of management’s control. These adjustments include workers’ compensation expenses caused by actuarial revaluation and discount rate changes, PSRHBF prefunding expenses and the amortization of PSRHBF, CSRS and FERS unfunded liabilities.

The following table reconciles the Postal Service’s GAAP net income of $1.4 billion for the quarter to controllable income and illustrates the income from ongoing business activities without the impact of non-controllable items for the three months ended December 31, 2016, and 2015:

  (in $ millions)

2016

 

2015

 
           
  Net income $

1,438

    $

307

   
           
  Amortization of PSRHBF prefunding liability1

227

   

   
  PSRHBF prefunding fixed amount2

   

1,450

   
  CSRS supplemental unfunded liabilities expense3

308

   

   
  FERS supplemental unfunded liabilities expense4

62

   

60

   
  Change in workers’ compensation liability due to fluctuations in discount rates

(1,670

)  

(402

)  
  Other change in workers’ compensation liability5

157

   

(158

)  
           
  Controllable income $

522

    $

1,257

   
           
  1 Accrual for one quarter of the estimated $907 million annual payment, as determined by the Postal Service based on OPM’s preliminary estimate of the remaining $18.2 billion PSRHBF unfunded liability as calculated based on OPM’s preliminary valuation of the PSRHBF funded status as of September 30, 2016.  
  2 Accrual for one quarter of the $5.8 billion annual prefunding payment to be paid into the PSRHBF due September 30, 2016.  
  3 Accrual for OPM’s estimated payment amount, based on actuarial valuations and assumptions, to amortize the $16.7 billion unfunded CSRS retirement obligation as of September 30, 2015. Payments are to be made in equal installments beginning as soon as 2017, through 2043.  
  4 Amounts represent one quarter of the accrual for the payment amount, based on actuarial valuations and assumptions, to amortize the $3.8 billion unfunded FERS retirement obligation as of September 30, 2015, as determined by OPM. Payments are to be made in equal installments through 2046.  
  5 Net amounts include changes in assumptions, as well as the valuation of new claims and revaluation of existing claims, less current year claim payments.  

Cuba already receives Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes from the U.S. Postal Service®. Beginning May 23, 2016, we will expand this service to include Priority Mail International Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes and Priority Mail International parcels. The following limitations will apply:

 

    • Weight Limits:          
      • Priority Mail International Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes – 20 lbs.
      • Priority Mail International Ordinary Parcels – 22 lbs.
  • Maximum Dimensions for Parcels:
    • The surface area of the address side of the item to be mailed must be large enough to completely contain the postage, PS Form 2976-E Customs Declaration Envelope – CP 91 (the plastic envelope for the customs form), and any other applicable endorsements or markings. PS Form 2976-E is approximately 10-1/4 inches wide and 7-1/4 inches high.
    • Maximum length: 59 inches
    • Maximum length plus girth: 108 inches
    • For all parcels, length is the longest side of the parcel, and girth is the measurement around the thickest part that is perpendicular to the length.
  • Pricing Groups:
    • Priority Mail International Medium and Large Flat Rate Box – Flat Rate Country price group 8
    • Priority Mail International parcels – Country price group 9

 

    • Customs Form: Each Priority Mail International Medium or Large Flat Rate Box and weighted parcel must bear a properly completed PS Form 2976-A Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note – CP 72 placed inside a PS Form 2976-E, Customs Declaration Envelope – CP 91.
  • Insurance and Indemnity:
  • Priority Mail International parcels containing non-negotiable documents are insured against loss, damage or missing contents up to $100 at no additional charge. Parcels containing merchandise are insured against loss, damage, or missing contents up to $200 at no additional charge.   
  • No additional document reconstruction or merchandise insurance will be available for purchase.

 

  • Value Limit: Regardless of the service used, Cuban national regulations limit the value of merchandise to $200. Items containing goods over this limit may be confiscated upon entering Cuba or returned to sender.
  • Free Matter for the Blind: With the addition of Priority Mail International parcel service, mailers will be able to send Free Matter for the Blind in Priority Mail International parcels up to 15 pounds.

The Postal Service plans to establish Priority Mail Express International® service to Cuba during late summer 2016

Absent Congressional or Court action to make the existing exigent surcharge for Market Dominant products and services part of the rate base, the Postal Service™ will be required to reduce prices for Forever stamps and other mailing products, effective Sunday, April 10.

 

The price of mailing a 1-ounce First-Class Mail letter will be 47 cents, down from 49 cents.

 

Letters with additional ounces will drop to 21 cents (from 22 cents), letters to international destinations will fall to $1.15 (from $1.20) and postcard prices will be 34 cents (from 35 cents).

 

Commercial prices will also decrease. The price reductions are required because the Postal Regulatory Commission has ordered USPS to reverse a 4.3 percent exigent surcharge that has been in place since January 2014.

 

This may worsen the Postal Service’s financial condition by reducing revenue and increasing net losses by approximately $2 billion per year.

 

“The exigent surcharge granted to the Postal Service only partially alleviated our extreme multi-year revenue declines resulting from the Great Recession, which exceeded $7 billion in 2009 alone,” PMG Megan J. Brennan said last month. “Removing the surcharge and reducing our prices is an irrational outcome considering the Postal Service’s precarious financial condition.”

Today the United States Postal Service announced it resumed direct transportation of mail service with Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years.

“The U.S. Postal Service is pleased to participate in the historic direct transportation of mail service with Cuba,” said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan. “Moving letter mail and package volume directly between our countries will improve service for businesses and consumers.”

The types of mail customers in the U.S. can send to Cuba include First-Class Mail International items, such as postcards and letter size envelopes, First-Class Package International Service items, Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes. A comprehensive list of mailing conditions to Cuba can be found in the International Mail Manual at: http://pe.usps.gov/text/imm/ce_017.htm#ep1416554.

FLINT, MI — After a public meeting held August 24, 2015, and careful review of all comments received, the U.S. Postal Service has made a decision to relocate retail services previously housed at the Flint Downtown Station, 601 S. Saginaw St., Flint MI  48502, to 400 S. Saginaw St., Flint MI  48502.

During the public comment period, there appeared to be a consensus that it was important to maintain a Postal Service retail presence in the downtown area. The Postal Service’s goal was to locate and establish a new customer service location close to the previous site.

Renovations have begun at the new location with a proposed opening set for May, 2016.

The lease at the previous downtown location was terminated in July, 2015. In the interim, secure P.O. Boxes are located in the 400 block of S. Saginaw St., parking lot Flint MI, 48502, which is one block south of the University of Michigan Pavilion. 

For customer convenience, a temporary mobile service vehicle to provide retail services is also located at the same P.O. Box site, Monday thru Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

 


            Operating revenue grew 3.3 percent to $19.3 billion
  • Controllable income totaled $1.3 billion; net income of $307 million reported
  • Postal Service benefited from exigent surcharge, which is expected to expire in April
  • Legislative reform and careful focus on cost containment remain necessary 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service reported operating revenue of $19.3 billion for the first quarter of fiscal year 2016 (October 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015), an increase of $613 million or 3.3 percent over the same period last year. The increase was driven by the record volume of packages delivered during the 2015 holiday season. The first quarter is typically the strongest quarter of the fiscal year for the Postal Service.

“Shipping and Package revenue grew 13.5 percent over the same period last year, and was particularly strong during the holiday shipping season. We projected and delivered more than a 16 percent increase in package volume,” said Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Megan J. Brennan. “We continue to grow our e-commerce business and remain focused on delivering the best value for our customers.”

“Despite these achievements and the best efforts of our employees, our financial condition will worsen without legislative reform,” said Brennan. “Our financial situation is serious but solvable through the enactment of prudent legislative reform.”

Controllable income for the quarter was $1.3 billion compared to $1.1 billion for the same period last year. Calculation of controllable income takes into account the impact of operational expenses including compensation, benefits and work hours; but does not reflect factors such as the legally-mandated expense to prefund retiree health benefits (see Non-GAAP Financial Measures below for full description).

Net income for the quarter was $307 million, a change of $1.1 billion from the net loss of $754 million for the same period last year. The change in net income was most significantly impacted by a $1.2 billion favorable change in the workers’ compensation expense as a result of interest rate changes – a factor outside of management’s control.

“While net income is favorable compared to a net loss, it unfortunately does not reflect the end of our losses,” said Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Joseph Corbett. “Excluding the favorable impact of interest rate changes and the exigent surcharge, the organization would have actually reported a net loss of approximately $700 million in the first quarter. Absent legislative reform, the exigent surcharge is expected to roll back in April, and our losses will increase by approximately $2 billion per year.”

Grand Rapids MI – The United States Postal Service will observe President’s Day on Monday, February 15, 2016 a federal holiday. Post Offices across Greater Michigan District (Zip Code prefixes 486-491, 493-499) will be closed and there will be no mail delivery.

Customers needing postal services may use self-service kiosks at select locations or visit Postal Service Approved Shippers or go to https://tools.usps.com/go/POLocatorAction to find a location near you.

Mail will be collected from blue street collection boxes. Postal officials advise anyone with stamped or metered mail ready for delivery, especially businesses, to drop this mail into a blue collection box instead of waiting to do so the following day.

Post Offices will reopen and mail delivery will resume on Tuesday, February 16, 2016.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Domestic Mailing:

  • First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.) rates will not increase and will remain $0.49 when purchased at the Post Office. Each additional ounce will cost $0.22 (same as 2015).
  • The discounted “Metered Mail” category for First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.), which includes online postage providers and postage meters, will not increase and will remain $0.485 in 2016. Each additional ounce will cost $0.22 (same as 2015).
  • First Class Mail Flats (1 oz.) will not increase and will remain at $0.98 in 2016. Each additional ounce will cost $0.22 (same as 2015).
  • Postcard rates will not increase and will remain at $0.35 (same as 2015).

Domestic Shipping:

  • Priority Mail Express will see an average rate increase of 15.6% in 2016. Additionally, the Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Box will be discontinued in 2016.
  • After three years without a shipping rate increase, Priority Mail will see an average rate increase of 9.4% in 2016. Additionally, Priority Mail Regional Rate Box C will be discontinued in 2016.
  • First Class Package Service will see an average rate increase of 12.8% in 2016. Additionally, the maximum weight for First Class Package Service Commercial Base pricing (online postage) will be increased from 13 ounces to 15.99 ounces. Also, Commercial Plus pricing for First Class Package Service will be eliminated in 2016.
  • Parcel Select Nonpresort (purchased online) will be renamed to Parcel Select Ground in 2016. Standard Post will be renamed Retail Ground in 2016.

International Shipping:

  • Priority Mail Express International will see an average rate increase of 11.6% in 2016.
  • Priority Mail International will see an average rate increase of 10.2% in 2016.
  • First Class Package International Service will see an average rate increase of 21.6% in 2016.

 

Other USPS News:

  • Click-N-Ship Pricing: Starting in 2016, Commercial Base Pricing (online discounts) will no longer be available for the Click-N-Ship program for shipping labels printed on USPS.com. All pricing for the Click-N-Ship program will be Post Office/Retail Rates.
  • The U.S. Postal Service will discontinue the Critical Mail service in 2016.

ATLANTA — The U.S. Postal Service continues its tradition of beautiful floral-themed stamps by dedicating the Botanical Art Forever stamps featuring vintage illustrations taken from 19th- and early 20th-century plant and seed catalogs.

The official First-Day-of-Issue ceremony will take place Jan. 29, at 11 a.m. in the Crystal Ballroom of the Hilton Atlanta Downtown, 255 Courtland St. N.E. as part of the American Philatelic Society’sAmeriStamp Expo.

Depicted on the stamps, top row from left:corn lilies, tulips, stocks, roses and petunias. Pictured bottom row from left: tulips, dahlias, japanese Iris, tulips and daffodils and jonquils.

“Featuring Mother Nature at her best, our new Botanical Art stamps were based on designs of images from the nursery and seed catalog collection of the New York Botanical Garden,” said Postal Service Capital Metro Area Operations Vice President Kristin Seaver who will dedicate the stamps. “Beginning tomorrow, these beautiful images will travel on letters and packages to millions of homes and businesses throughout America.”

Joining Seaver in dedicating the stamps will be American Philatelic Society (APS) Executive Director Scott English; APS Young Philatelic Leader Fellow Austin Foo; and, Atlanta Botanical Garden Horticulture Vice President Mildred Pinnell Fockele. Also attending will be Postal Service (Acting) Stamp Director Mary-Anne Penner.

The stamp art features 10 individual designs, each a detail of an illustration from an American nursery catalog printed between 1891 and 1912. The catalogs are part of The New York Botanical Garden’s nursery and seed catalog collection, one of the largest and most important collections in the United States. The collection and similar collections in other institutions are treasure troves of historical information for scholars and scientists studying a wide range of subjects, including the history of botany, horticulture, commercial agriculture, landscape design, plant exploration, graphic arts and publishing.

The artists responsible for the work seen on early nursery catalogs are mostly unknown, but their captivating work lives on.

Drawings of Exotic Botanical Species
Beginning in the late 15th century, intrepid Europeans explored new lands in the Americas, the South Pacific and other areas of the world. There they discovered plants unknown in Europe, which they imported for study and propagation. Scientists, gardeners, plant hunters, and collectors required accurate botanical drawings of the exotic new species. Botanical illustrators produced works that were meticulous and highly detailed and quite often beautiful pieces of art as well. The years 1750 to 1850 are considered the height of the botanical illustrator’s art.

The mid-19th century saw a flowering of another kind of botanical art. As more people discovered the joys of ornamental and recreational gardening, thriving commercial greenhouses and nurseries marketed plants — exotic as well as native — to eager gardeners. To entice buyers, the nurseries created colorful catalogs illustrated with beautiful blossoms and lush foliage. The illustrations were idealized, romantic versions of what plants could look like, but they fueled many a garden dream.

For information on upcoming stamp dedication ceremonies visit this link.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Offices, at The Postal Store at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-STAMP-24 (800 782-6724). They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others) and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:

Botanical Art Stamps
Atlanta MPO
Postmaster
3900 Crown Road
Atlanta, GA 30304-9998

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by March 29, 2016.

Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:

U.S. Postal Service
Catalog Request
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014