Pressured by sliding sales and rising deficits, the U.S. Postal Service is adding free features to its Priority Mail service in a bid to boost its competitiveness.
Customer who send packages by Priority Mail will now get fee insurance, pre-set delivery dates and online tracking. The well-known Priority Mail envelopes and boxes have also been redesigned, the Associated Press notes.
Adding specified delivery dates is expected to increase small business owners’ confidence in Priority Mail. The Post Office will also offer Overnight Express Mail service as Priority Mail from now on.
The Postal Service is facing operating losses of $3.9 billion this year as it continues to lose mail volume to email and digital payments, as well as private delivery firms like FedEx (FDX) and UPS (UPS).
Last year, the Postal Service posted an almost $16 billion loss, partly due to accelerated pension plan payments mandated by Congress.
In addition to upgrading services and restructuring operations, the Postal Service has been exploring other options, including ending door-to-door delivery in new housing developments.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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