Grim Outlook for the United States Postal Service's National Bulk Mail System

GGD-78-59: Published: May 16, 1978. Publicly Released: May 16, 1978.

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The Postal Service's national bulk mail system became fully operational during 1976. The system consists of 21 bulk mail centers located throughout the country. Each center is a distribution point where mail originating or coming into an area is sorted and then transported to either another center, a sectional facility, or a large post office.

The Service's parcel post rates have not been competitive, and delivery performance continues to be untimely and inconsistent. As a result, major mailers generally prefer the Service's principal competitor for supplying delivery services. These factors have contributed to a general decline in parcel post volume. Problems during the startup period, primarily parcel damages and sorting errors, threatened the survival of the system. Parcel damage is no longer a serious problem, but consistent damage statistics are needed. The nonmachinable mail volume is large, and nonmachinable parcels are often delayed. Reprocessed mail has been reduced, but it is still a problem. Transportation limitations continue, especially reliance on railroads which increases shipping times. The bulk mail system is approaching the point where it may be more economical to adopt alternative means to move bulk mail. These alternatives need to be evaluated.

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