Magazine Publishers File Postal Rate Complaint Case
Press release from the issuing company
On January 12, 2004 several magazine publishers filed a complaint case at the U.S. Postal Rate Commission seeking consideration of an alternative set of rates for the periodicals class. The publishers – Time, Condé Nast, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest and TV Guide – propose a “cost-based” rate structure designed to encourage more efficient mail preparation and to drive costs from the postal system. MPA, which for several years has been encouraging movement to the “last mile,” is on record in support of the concept of “cost-based” rates. After the Civil Service Retirement System relief granted by Congress in Spring 2003, the Postmaster General committed to no rate hikes until January 2006 at the earliest. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that rates would change before that date.
The proposed rate structure, if adopted, would be significantly different from today’s rate structure, as it would encompass separate charges for pieces, bundles, sacks, containers and pounds of magazines and newspapers. The proposed rates would further encourage co-mailing and co-palletization – worksharing efforts that are just starting to take hold in the mailing industry. The rate proposal is designed to be revenue neutral, so that mailers who do not reconfigure their mailing practices could face a rate hike, while mailers who follow efficient mailing practices could experience a rate decrease.
The next steps include a response from the Postal Service to the complaint within 30 days. The Postal Rate Commission can then decide to hold hearings if desired. The Commission may choose to recommend an alternative set of rates, but the final decision on new rates lies with the Postal Service.
The filing contains detailed and complex analyses which MPA will be studying and reporting on in the coming weeks. We will keep you apprised of further developments as they occur.
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