Resources

Postal Affairs Update, December 18, 2020

December 18, 2020

The Postal Service’s busy holiday season has been compounded by the pandemic, with more consumers buying online instead of in-store. At the same time, USPS staffing shortages have negatively affected processing and delivery performance. The situation is unprecedented, with worse performance than most of us have seen over the past 30 years. We’re receiving updates daily, tracking Quad customer mail and working to find solutions to best navigate through these challenging times. And we’re watching movement in Washington D.C. on a stimulus package, which could potentially bolster the USPS.

Quad’s Postal Affairs team remains committed to keeping you up to date and informed. As a significant mailing industry partner, we are in a unique position to provide clear and accurate information regarding the state of the USPS and suggest best practices during this time. Please notify the Quad Postal Affairs team if you become aware of any changes, questions or something new related to how the USPS is reacting to the pandemic. We will investigate and update all. Please send inquiries to the Quad Postal Affairs Distribution list (Postal Affairs – Team) or ask your Quad representative.

Here are key developments since our last update:

Performance delays

As Quad and the media have reported over the last two weeks, the USPS is experiencing severe delays from dock to doorstep. These are related to historically high package volume, made even higher as FedEx and UPS divert packages to the USPS while they focus on the delivery of the vaccine. Delays are compounded by a high number of employees out on sick leave. And winter storm Gail added challenges in recent days.

This week, 25 USPS locations have asked drivers to wait as long as 48 hours to unload trucks. See the list below for those critical facilities. It should be noted that Quad and other logistics providers are seeing delays at many more facilities than the USPS lists here.

Several facilities are reporting delays in processing First Class mail. Informed Visibility tracking data shows us that in reality many more are delayed. The tracking data for Standard and Periodical mail also tells us that there are severe processing delays in many facilities.

Finally, we are hearing of issues on the final delivery level. News reports indicate that some areas are not delivering daily, but every other day or every few days. The USPS has acknowledged that there could be a one-day delay in delivery throughout the pandemic when a delivery unit has several employees quarantining.

Facilities with the lowest percentage of mail processed by Service Standard:

Entry TypeCityState
FSSAKRONOH
FSSDALLASTX
FSSDENVERCO
SCFGREENSBORONC
FSSINDIANAPOLISIN
FSSMICHIGAN METROPLEXMI
FSSNORTH HOUSTONTX
FSSORLANDOFL
FSSPHILADELPHIA (SCF)PA
FSSPHOENIXAZ
FSSPROVIDENCERI
FSSRALEIGHNC
FSSSPRINGFIELDMA
FSSTRENTONNH
FSSWESTCHESTERNY
NDCST. LOUISMO
SCFAKRONOH
SCFATLANTAGA
SCFCLEVELANDOH
SCFGREENSBORONC
SCFGREENVILLESC
SCFHARRISBURGPA
SCFINDIANAPOLISIN
SCFLEHIGH VALLEYPA
SCFMANCHESTERNH
SCFMEMPHISTN
SCGSPRINGFIELDMO

Federal Stimulus Bill

As we have all likely seen in the media, Congressional leaders have been meeting and could be close to an agreement on a second package of Covid-related stimulus. There are several versions being considered in the halls of Congress, and Quad has been working with our friends and allies on the Hill to make sure that mailers are part of whatever gets passed.

The good news is that every proposal being considered includes a $10 billion appropriation for the USPS. This money replaces the same amount that was included in the CARES Act, but this time it’s not a loan. Instead, the Postal Service will receive a straight appropriation that doesn’t have to be repaid.

It is important to know that in order to get enacted, we need Congress to come together on the rest of the $900 billion package and hopefully get it passed quickly. There is some time pressure as the government will shut down at the end of the day Friday, December 18. It’s likely the votes would come this weekend. Quad will continue to watch any Congressional developments as they happen.

Pricing

The industry still waits to hear how the USPS will implement new pricing authority given by findings in the PRC’s 10-Year Review report. It published its final ruling in the Federal Registry earlier this week, which starts the 30-day clock for making it official. Quad is a member of several industry associations, which will be filing an appeal on the PRC decision.

Any price changes that are yet to come wouldn’t take effect until July 2021 at the earliest, as we detailed in our previous Postal Update. Quad continues to explore all avenues for insights as we help our customers plan budgets for next year.

Mail volume from last week, compared to 2019:

Total: Down 6.1%

  • Packages: Up 15.1%
  • Single Piece: Down 6.5%
  • Presort First Class: Down 7.7%
  • Marketing Mail: Down 4.2%
  • Periodicals: Down 36.7% (potentially due to challenges with timely unloading of trucks)

Delayed Facilities

Flats

Entry TypeCityStateIn-Home by Service Standard %Consecutive Wks. Delayed
ASFBUFFALONY17%1
ASFOKLAHOMA CITYOK65%2
ASFPHOENIXAZ9%1
FSSAKRONOH0%1
FSSORLANDOFL68%1
FSSRALEIGHNC67%3
FSSROCHESTERNY4%2
SCFAKRONOH43%3
SCFALBANYNY25%2
SCFATLANTAGA32%4
SCFAUSTINTX16%1
SCFBIRMINGHAMAL7%1
SCFBISMARCKND36%3
SCFBOSTONMA36%1
SCFBROCKTONMA5%9
SCFBUFFALONY18%2
SCFCENTRALMA52%1`
SCFCHAMPAIGNIL17%1
SCFCINCINNATIIL0%1
SCF CLEVELANDOH0%1
SCFCOLUMBUSOH39%1
SCFDALLASTX69%1
SCFDAYTONOH16%1
SCFDES MOINESIA55%1
SCFDETROITMI6%1
SCFEVANSVILLEIN2%4
SCFFORT WORTHTX67%1
SCFGREENSBORONC12%11
SCFGREENVILLESC39%5
SCFHARRISBURGPA14%1
SCFHARTFORDCT0%1
SCFINDIANAPOLISIN61%1
SCFJACKSONMS0%2
SCFJACKSONVILLEFL10%3
SCFKANSAS CITYMO6%3
SCFKNOXVILLETN57%1
SCFLEHIGH VALLEYPA26%2
SCFLINTHICUMMD31%1
SCFLITTLE ROCKAR29%4
SCFLOUISVILLEKY39%2
SCFMADISONWI25%4
SCFMEMPHISTN38%1
SCFMETROPLEXMI2%6
SCFMIAMIFL20%2
SCFMID HUDSONNY36%2
SCFMID ISLANDNY36%1
SCFMIDDLESEX-ESSEXMA51%1
SCFMILWAUKEEWI45%1
SCFMINNEAPOLISMN20%2
SCFMONTGOMERYAL29%2
SCFNEW YORKNY69%1
SCFNORTH HOUSTONTX67%1
SCFNORTH METROGA15%3
SCFNORTH TEXASTX8%1
SCFOKLAHOMA CITYOK55%1
SCFORLANDOFL42%3
SCFPHILADEPHIAPA57%2
SCFPHOENIXAZ28%2
SCFPORTLANDOR36%2
SCFPROVIDENCERI64%4
SCFQUAD CITIESIL65%1
SCFRALEIGHNC14%4
SCFRICHMONDVA24%1
SCFROANOKEVA19%2
SCFROCHESTERNY1%2
SCFSAINT LOUISMO25%1
SCFSAINT PAULMN0%3
SCFSALT LAKE CITYUT38%2
SCFSAN ANTONIOTX68%1
SCFSAN DIEGOCA64%2
SCFSHREVEPORTLA55%1
SCFSOUTH SUBURBANIL17%6
SCFSOURTHERNME0%1
SCFSPOKANEWA49%2
SCFSPRINGFIELDMO0%1
SCFTALLAHASSEEFL26%2
SCFTRAVERSE CITYMI49%1
SCFTULSAOK58%1
SCFWENATCHEEWA33%1
SCFWESTCHESTERNY61%2
SCFWHITE RIVER JCTVT64%1
SCFWILMINGTONDE5%1

Flats Delayed NDC’s:

NDCATLANTAGA57%
NDCCHICAGOIL15%
NDCKANSAS CITYKS37%
NDCMPLS/STPMN39%
NDCPHILADELPHIAPA48%
NDCSEATTLEWA51%
NDCSPFLDMA0%
NDCST. LOUISMO12%
NDCWASHINGTONDC55%

Letters:

Entry TypeCityStateIn-Home by Service Standard %Consecutive Wks. Delayed
SCFAKRONOH6%6
SCFATLANTAGA56%1
SCFAUSTINTX66%1
SCFBIRMINGHAMAL64%1
SCFBISMARCKND23%2
SCFCINCINNATIOH51%2
SCFCLEVELANDOH11%9
SCFDAYTONOH65%2
SCFDETROITMI68%2
SCFEASTERNME43%2
SCFGREENSBORONC12%11
SCFHARRISBURGPA48%2
SCFINDIANAPOLISIN49%2
SCFLEHIGH VALLEYPA31%2
SCFLINTHICUMMD59%2
SCFMOBILEAL60%2
SCFNASHVILLETN60%2
SCFPHILADELPHIAPA66%1
SCFSOUTHERNME13%2
SCFSPRINGFIELDMO64%1
SCFWILMINGTONDE37%2

Letters Delayed NDC’s:

NDCPITTSBURGHPA62%
NDCSPFLDMA46%