USPS grocery delivery tests to continue

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has been granted an extension of its market test for grocery deliveries by its regulator the United States Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC).

In a statement  regarding the extension published on Wednesday (28 September), PRC noted: ” The Commission initially authorized the Customized Delivery market test to begin in the San Francisco metropolitan area on November 1, 2014.

“During FY 2015 and FY 2016, the Postal Service expanded the market test into other geographic areas:  Los Angeles, CA; San Diego, CA; New York City, NY; Sacramento, CA; Stamford, CT; and Las Vegas, NV.

“It also changed the market test by adding a new feature for carriers to pick up empty bags from customers and return them to Destination Delivery Units.”

Originally the PRC gave permission to allow the USPS to do the delivery test until the 31 October this year, but this has been extended for another 12 months. The postal operator plans on extending the pilot into other areas during the extension.

Due to the size of its infrastructure and its financial commitments to pension and health provision for its staff, the USPS is best described as a money pit for the US government, losing billions of dollars a year. In addition, it was forced to reduce the costs of its mail stamps in a recent move by Congress recently. Consequently this unusual move in being allowed to do grocery deliveries for customers could well be a money making project for the USPS – providing of course Congress don’t see it as being in competition with private enterprises and hobbles its activities in this too.

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