Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

Trump Orders A Review Of The US Postal Service

Trump Orders A Review Of The US Postal Service

"It shall be the policy of my administration that the United States postal system operate under a sustainable business model to provide necessary mail services to citizens and businesses, and to compete fairly in commercial markets", Trump wrote in the executive order.

Amazon declined to comment to Bloomberg about the executive order.

Trump has frequently complained that Amazon takes advantage of the post office. Much of that anger appears to be directed at founder Jeff Bezos, who also happens to own The Washington Post, a paper that hasn't always painted the president in flattering light.

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President Donald Trump issued a surprise executive order late on Thursday to request an audit of the U.S. Postal Service's finances, adding some administrative force to his recent fiery and unfounded claims that the service was losing money by acting as "delivery boy" for Amazon. But package delivery is actually a rare growth area for the service. The website Save The Post Office, however, recently did a lengthy analysis outlining how Amazon nearly certainly pays the postal service more than it costs to ship packages and that taxpayers are not subsidizing Prime's two-day free shipping. Neither Amazon nor the post office has disclosed the details of that agreement, but the Postal Service says it's mutually beneficial.

The firm estimates that 40%-50% of Amazon's shipping costs in the USA are associated with the USPS and, assuming a 15%-20% increase in shipping costs, there are $1-$1.8 billion in potential shipping costs Amazon may have to absorb in 2018. Amazon has disputed those estimates.

Still, the demand hasn't been enough to offset its growing costs.

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"The USPS is on an unsustainable financial path", the order read, noting that the postal service incurred losses of $65 billion since the recession and citing declines in First-Class Mail volumes and "legal mandates that compel the USPS to incur substantial and inflexible costs".

A White House official said the presidential order was meant to come up with solutions to the problems at the Postal Service. That appears to be working out for USPS, which said the growth in its package business was "a result of our successful efforts to compete in the ground shipping services and "last mile" e-commerce fulfillment markets, including Sunday delivery", in another financial report past year.

In its fiscal year 2017, the USPS lost $2.7 billion.

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The Postal Service does have another big financial problem, though: In 2006, Congress mandated that the postal service prefund future health benefits for its retirees at a cost of about $5.6 billion a year over 10 years, a requirement that other federal agencies and private businesses do not face.

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