Skip to Content

Rule

New Domestic Mail Product

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Postal Regulatory Commission.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Commission is adding Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 to the Competitive Product List. This action is consistent with changes in a recent law governing postal operations and a recent Postal Service request. Republication of the lists of market dominant and competitive products is also consistent with new requirements in the law.

DATES:

Effective December 22, 2008.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Stephen L. Sharfman, General Counsel, 202-789-6820 and stephen.sharfman@prc.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulatory History, 73 FR 74212 (December 5, 2008).

I. Background

The Postal Service seeks to add a new product identified as Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 to the Competitive Product List. For the reasons discussed below, the Commission approves the Request.

On November 25, 2008, the Postal Service filed a formal request pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq. to add Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 to the Competitive Product List.[1] The Postal Service asserts that the Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 product is a competitive product “not of general applicability” within the meaning of 39 U.S.C. 3632(b)(3). This Request has been assigned Docket No. MC2009-11.

The Postal Service contemporaneously filed a contract related to the proposed new product pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3632(b)(3) and 39 CFR 3015.5. The contract has been assigned Docket No. CP2009-13.

In support of its Request, the Postal Service filed the following materials: (1) A redacted version of the Governors' Decision authorizing the new product which also includes an analysis of Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 and certification of the Governors' vote; [2] (2) a redacted version of the contract which, among other things, provides that the contract will expire on May 31, 2011, and will become effective 1 day after the Commission issues all regulatory approvals; [3] (3) requested changes in the Mail Classification Schedule product list; [4] (4) a Statement of Supporting Justification as required by 39 CFR 3020.32; [5] and (5) certification of compliance with 39 U.S.C. 3633(a).[6]

In the Statement of Supporting Justification, Daniel J. Barrett, Acting Manager, Product & Business Development, Ground Shipping Services, asserts that the service to be provided under the contract will cover its attributable costs, make a positive contribution to coverage of institutional costs, and will increase contribution toward the requisite 5.5 percent of the Postal Service's total institutional costs. Request, Attachment D, at 1. W. Ashley Lyons, Manager, Corporate Financial Planning, Finance Department, certifies that the contract complies with 39 U.S.C. 3633(a). See id. Attachment E.

The Postal Service filed much of the supporting materials, including the unredacted Governors' Decision and the unredacted contract, under seal. In its Request, the Postal Service maintains that the contract and related financial information, including the customer's name and the accompanying analyses that provide prices, terms, conditions, and financial projections, should remain confidential. Id. at 2-3.

In Order No. 142, the Commission gave notice of the two dockets, appointed a public representative, and provided the public with an opportunity to comment.[7]

II. Comments

Comments were filed by the Public Representative and Newgistics, Inc.[8] The Public Representative Comments focus principally on the adequacy of cost coverage, appropriate classification of the product, and overall transparency. Public Representative Comments at 1-2. He concludes that the agreement meets the important public interest in adequate cost coverage and believes the agreement is properly classified as a competitive product. Id.

The Public Representative also raises an issue with respect to transparency and the method that the Postal Service uses in this case to redact its filings. He notes that the Commission's rules contemplate text-based pdf files where possible. Id. at 5; accord 39 CFR 3001.10. Despite these minor caveats, the Public Representative believes that the Postal Service should be commended for continuing to proceed diligently toward accommodating transparency concerns in a very competitive business environment.

Newgistics' comments focus on the financial gain to the Postal Service. It believes that the contract must demonstrate that it will provide “new volumes and revenues” to the Postal Service. It wants to ensure that the Postal Service does not take volume from other postal mail service providers. It notes that shifting mail from one Postal Service customer to another does not result in a contribution gain for the Postal Service. Newgistics also contends Start Printed Page 78190that contract rates should not provide an unfair advantage to one company over another.

III. Commission Analysis

The Commission has reviewed the Request, the contract, the financial analysis provided under seal that accompanies it, and the comments filed by the Public Representative and Newgistics.

Statutory requirements. The Commission's statutory responsibilities in this instance entail assigning Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 to either the Market Dominant Product List or to the Competitive Product List. 39 U.S.C. 3642. As part of this responsibility, the Commission also reviews the proposal for compliance with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) requirements. This includes, for proposed competitive products, a review of the provisions applicable to rates for competitive products. 39 U.S.C. 3633.

Product list assignment. In determining whether to assign Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 as a product to the Market Dominant Product List or the Competitive Product List, the Commission must consider whether

the Postal Service exercises sufficient market power that it can effectively set the price of such product substantially above costs, raise prices significantly, decrease quality, or decrease output, without risk of losing a significant level of business to other firms offering similar products.

39 U.S.C. 3642(b)(1). If so, the product will be categorized as market dominant. The competitive category of products shall consist of all other products.

The Commission is further required to consider the availability and nature of enterprises in the private sector engaged in the delivery of the product, the views of those who use the product, and the likely impact on small business concerns. 39 U.S.C. 3642(b)(3).

The Postal Service asserts that its bargaining position is constrained by the existence of other shippers who can provide similar services, thus precluding it from taking unilateral action to increase prices without the risk of losing volume to private companies. Request, Attachment D, at 2. The Postal Service also contends that it may not decrease quality or output without risking the loss of business to competitors that offer similar delivery services. Id. It further states that the contract partner supports the addition of the contract to the Competitive Product List to effectuate the negotiated contractual terms. Id. at 3. Finally, the Postal Service states that the market for ground services is highly competitive and requires a substantial infrastructure to support a national network. It indicates that large carriers serve this market. Accordingly, the Postal Service states that it is unaware of any small business concerns that could offer comparable service for this customer. Id.

No commenter opposes the proposed classification of Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 as competitive. Having considered the statutory requirements and the support offered by the Postal Service, the Commission finds that Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 is appropriately classified as a competitive product and should be added to the Competitive Product List.

Cost considerations. The Commission's library reference PRC-CP2009-13-NP-LR-1 analyzes the financial impact of this of this contract. Library Reference PRC-CP2009-13-NP-LR-1 updates the original data submitted by the Postal Service and provides calculations for revenue per piece for each of the negotiated service agreement's rate categories. The results show that the updated data do not cause the financial results to vary significantly.

Based on the data submitted and the Commission's analysis shown in Library Reference PRC-CP2009-13-NP-LR-1, the Commission finds that Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 should cover its attributable costs (39 U.S.C. 3633(a)(2)), should not lead to the subsidization of competitive products by market dominant products (39 U.S.C. 3633(a)(1)), and should have a positive effect on competitive products' contribution to institutional costs (39 U.S.C. 3633(a)(3)). Thus, an initial review of the proposed Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 indicates that it comports with the provisions applicable to rates for competitive products.

The Postal Service shall promptly notify the Commission when the contract terminates, but no later than the actual termination date. The Commission will then remove the contract from the Mail Classification Schedule at the earliest possible opportunity.

Public Representative comments. As evidenced by filings in other recent negotiated service agreement dockets, it appears that the Postal Service typically has the ability to properly redact files using blackouts while maintaining the documents' “searchability” characteristics. The Postal Service should strive to ensure that all redacted documents are properly redacted using blackouts unless it specifically justifies the use of other redaction methods in its filings.

Newgistics comments. For the Commission to approve new competitive products and their accompanying rates not of general applicability, the law requires that the contracts meet the requirements of 39 U.S.C. 3633, 3642 and accompanying regulatory criteria. The Postal Service should strive to obtain new volumes and revenues, but the law does not require new volumes and revenues for the Postal Service to enter into negotiated service agreements for competitive products. Additionally, section 403(c) bars undue discrimination and unreasonable preferences. However, no evidence of undue discrimination or unreasonable preferences has been shown here. If Newgistics believes that such a violation exists, it may file a complaint with the Commission pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 3662 to explore the issue.

In conclusion, the Commission approves Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 as a new competitive product. The revision to the Competitive Product List is shown below the signature of this Order and is effective upon issuance of this Order.

It is Ordered:

1. Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 (MC2009-11 and CP2009-13) is added to the Competitive Product List as a new product under Negotiated Service Agreements, Domestic.

2. The Postal Service shall notify the Commission of the termination date of the contract as discussed in this Order.

3. The Secretary shall arrange for the publication of this Order in the Federal Register.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 3020

End List of Subjects Start Signature

By the Commission.

Steven W. Williams,

Secretary.

End Signature Start Amendment Part

For the reasons stated in the preamble, under the authority at

End Amendment Part Start Part

PART 3020—PRODUCT LISTS

End Part Start Amendment Part

1. The authority citation for part 3020 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 39 U.S.C. 503; 3622; 3631; 3642; 3682.

End Authority Start Amendment Part

2. Revise Appendix A to subpart A of part 3020—Mail Classification to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Appendix Start Printed Page 78191

Appendix A to Subpart A of Subpart A of Part 3020—Mail Classification Schedule

Part A—Market Dominant Products

1000 Market Dominant Product List

First-Class Mail

Single-Piece Letters/Postcards

Bulk Letters/Postcards

Flats

Parcels

Outbound Single-Piece First-Class Mail International

Inbound Single-Piece First-Class Mail International

Standard Mail (Regular and Nonprofit)

High Density and Saturation Letters

High Density and Saturation Flats/Parcels

Carrier Route

Letters

Flats

Not Flat-Machinables (NFMs)/Parcels

Periodicals

Within County Periodicals

Outside County Periodicals

Package Services

Single-Piece Parcel Post

Inbound Surface Parcel Post (at UPU rates)

Bound Printed Matter Flats

Bound Printed Matter Parcels

Media Mail/Library Mail

Special Services

Ancillary Services

International Ancillary Services

Address List Services

Caller Service

Change-of-Address Credit Card Authentication

Confirm

International Reply Coupon Service

International Business Reply Mail Service

Money Orders

Post Office Box Service

Negotiated Service Agreements

HSBC North America Holdings Inc. Negotiated Service Agreement

Bookspan Negotiated Service Agreement

Bank of America Corporation Negotiated Service Agreement

The Bradford Group Negotiated Service Agreement

Market Dominant Product Descriptions

First-Class Mail [Reserved for Class Description]

Single-Piece Letters/Postcards [Reserved for Product Description]

Bulk Letters/Postcards [Reserved for Product Description]

Flats [Reserved for Product Description]

Parcels [Reserved for Product Description]

Outbound Single-Piece First-Class Mail International [Reserved for Product Description]

Inbound Single-Piece First-Class Mail International [Reserved for Product Description]

Standard Mail (Regular and Nonprofit) [Reserved for Class Description]

High Density and Saturation Letters [Reserved for Product Description]

High Density and Saturation Flats/Parcels [Reserved for Product Description]

Carrier Route [Reserved for Product Description]

Letters [Reserved for Product Description]

Flats [Reserved for Product Description]

Not Flat-Machinables (NFMs)/Parcels [Reserved for Product Description]

Periodicals [Reserved for Class Description]

Within County Periodicals [Reserved for Product Description]

Outside County Periodicals [Reserved for Product Description]

Package Services [Reserved for Class Description]

Single-Piece Parcel Post [Reserved for Product Description]

Inbound Surface Parcel Post (at UPU rates) [Reserved for Product Description]

Bound Printed Matter Flats [Reserved for Product Description]

Bound Printed Matter Parcels [Reserved for Product Description]

Media Mail/Library Mail [Reserved for Product Description]

Special Services [Reserved for Class Description]

Ancillary Services [Reserved for Product Description]

Address Correction Service [Reserved for Product Description]

Applications and Mailing Permits [Reserved for Product Description]

Business Reply Mail [Reserved for Product Description]

Bulk Parcel Return Service [Reserved for Product Description]

Certified Mail [Reserved for Product Description]

Certificate of Mailing [Reserved for Product Description]

Collect on Delivery [Reserved for Product Description]

Delivery Confirmation [Reserved for Product Description]

Insurance [Reserved for Product Description]

Merchandise Return Service [Reserved for Product Description]

Parcel Airlift (PAL) [Reserved for Product Description]

Registered Mail [Reserved for Product Description]

Return Receipt [Reserved for Product Description]

Return Receipt for Merchandise [Reserved for Product Description]

Restricted Delivery [Reserved for Product Description]

Shipper-Paid Forwarding [Reserved for Product Description]

Signature Confirmation [Reserved for Product Description]

Special Handling [Reserved for Product Description]

Stamped Envelopes [Reserved for Product Description]

Stamped Cards [Reserved for Product Description]

Premium Stamped Stationery [Reserved for Product Description]

Premium Stamped Cards [Reserved for Product Description]

International Ancillary Services [Reserved for Product Description]

International Certificate of Mailing [Reserved for Product Description]

International Registered Mail [Reserved for Product Description]

International Return Receipt [Reserved for Product Description]

International Restricted Delivery [Reserved for Product Description]

Address List Services [Reserved for Product Description]

Caller Service [Reserved for Product Description]

Change-of-Address Credit Card Authentication [Reserved for Product Description]

Confirm [Reserved for Product Description]

International Reply Coupon Service [Reserved for Product Description]

International Business Reply Mail Service [Reserved for Product Description]

Money Orders [Reserved for Product Description]

Post Office Box Service [Reserved for Product Description]

Negotiated Service Agreements [Reserved for Class Description]

HSBC North America Holdings Inc. Negotiated Service Agreement [Reserved for Product Description]

Bookspan Negotiated Service Agreement [Reserved for Product Description]

Bank of America Corporation Negotiated Service Agreement

The Bradford Group Negotiated Service Agreement

Part B—Competitive Products

2000 Competitive Product List

Express Mail

Express Mail

Outbound International Expedited Services

Inbound International Expedited Services

Inbound International Expedited Services 1 (CP2008-7)

Priority Mail

Priority Mail

Outbound Priority Mail International

Inbound Air Parcel Post

Parcel Select

Parcel Return Service

International

International Priority Airlift (IPA)

International Surface Airlift (ISAL)

International Direct Sacks—M-Bags

Global Customized Shipping Services

Inbound Surface Parcel Post (at non-UPU rates)

Canada Post-United States Postal Service Contractual Bilateral Agreement for Inbound Competitive Services (MC2009-8 and CP2009-9)

International Money Transfer Service

International Ancillary Services

Special Services

Premium Forwarding Service

Negotiated Service Agreements

Domestic

Express Mail Contract 1 (MC2008-5)

Express Mail Contract 2 (MC2009-3 and CP2009-4)

Express Mail & Priority Mail Contract 1 (MC2009-6 and CP2009-7)

Parcel Return Service Contract 1 (MC2009-1 and CP2009-2)

Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 (MC2009-11 and CP2009-13)

Priority Mail Contract 1 (MC2008-8 and CP2008-26)

Priority Mail Contract 2 (MC2009-2 and CP2009-3)

Priority Mail Contract 3 (MC2009-4 and CP2009-5)

Priority Mail Contract 4 (MC2009-5 and CP2009-6)

Outbound International Start Printed Page 78192

Global Expedited Package Services (GEPS) Contracts

GEPS 1 (CP2008-5, CP2008-11, CP2008-12, and CP2008-13, CP2008-18, CP2008-19, CP2008-20, CP2008-21, CP2008-22, CP2008-23, and CP2008-24)

Global Plus Contracts

Global Plus 1 (CP2008-9 and CP2008-10)

Global Plus 2 (MC2008-7, CP2008-16 and CP2008-17)

Inbound Direct Entry Contracts with Foreign Postal Administrations (MC2008-6, CP2008-14 and CP2008-15)

Competitive Product Descriptions

Express Mail [Reserved for Group Description]

Express Mail [Reserved for Product Description]

Outbound International Expedited Services [Reserved for Product Description]

Inbound International Expedited Services [Reserved for Product Description]

Priority [Reserved for Product Description]

Priority Mail [Reserved for Product Description]

Outbound Priority Mail International [Reserved for Product Description]

Inbound Air Parcel Post [Reserved for Product Description]

Parcel Select [Reserved for Group Description]

Parcel Return Service [Reserved for Group Description]

International [Reserved for Group Description]

International Priority Airlift (IPA) [Reserved for Product Description]

International Surface Airlift (ISAL) [Reserved for Product Description]

International Direct Sacks—M-Bags [Reserved for Product Description]

Global Customized Shipping Services [Reserved for Product Description]

International Money Transfer Service [Reserved for Product Description]

Inbound Surface Parcel Post (at non-UPU rates) [Reserved for Product Description]

International Ancillary Services [Reserved for Product Description]

International Certificate of Mailing [Reserved for Product Description]

International Registered Mail [Reserved for Product Description]

International Return Receipt [Reserved for Product Description]

International Restricted Delivery [Reserved for Product Description]

International Insurance [Reserved for Product Description]

Negotiated Service Agreements [Reserved for Group Description]

Domestic [Reserved for Product Description]

Outbound International [Reserved for Group Description]

Part C—Glossary of Terms and Conditions [Reserved]

Part D—Country Price Lists for International Mail [Reserved]

End Appendix End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

1.  Request of the United States Postal Service to Add Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Establishment of Rates and Class Not of General Applicability, November 25, 2008 (Request).

Back to Citation

2.  Attachment A to the Request. The analysis that accompanies the Governors' Decision notes, among other things, that the agreement remains profitable regardless of the discount level and results in a positive contribution impact of the Postal Service under all conditions.

Back to Citation

3.  Attachment B to the Request.

Back to Citation

4.  Attachment C to the Request.

Back to Citation

5.  Attachment D to the Request.

Back to Citation

6.  Attachment E to the Request.

Back to Citation

7.  PRC Order No. 142, Notice and Order Concerning Parcel Select Parcel Return Service Contract 1 Negotiated Service Agreement, December 2, 2008 (Order No. 142).

Back to Citation

8.  Public Representative Comments in Response to Order No. 142, December 10, 2008 (Public Representative Comments); Response from Bill Razzouk, Newgistics to Postal Regulatory Commission Notice and Order Concerning Parcel Select & Parcel Return Service Contract 1 Negotiated Service Agreement Order No. 142, December 10, 2008 (Newgistics Comments).

Back to Citation

[FR Doc. E8-30373 Filed 12-19-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7710-FW-P