Dec
21

UPU Opens Bidding for Dot Post Contracts – an opportunity for the USPS

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The UPU today made its official call for tenders for the setup of the .post Registry services and .post Escrow services. Details on both tenders can be found on the UPU website (www.upu.int) under “Resources” -> “Call for Tenders” or at this link http://www.upu.int/en/resources/calls-for-tenders/current-calls-for-tenders.html.

This will also be published this week at www.simap.ch – The Swiss official gazette of commerce for official information and legal announcements.

 The last date for submissions of offers is 3 February 2012.

This is a very, very major step forward in the development of this top-level domain for the global postal industry. It will enable many posts to leap-frog forward in terms of both domestic and international services.

It is unfortunate that the USPS has thus far shown very little senior-level interest in participating in the network. The USPS still has not turned its attention to the digital challenge in the domestic service, let along contemplate cross-border services. However, we are heartened that it has at least been represented on the work committee by the very able Janice Gould of the International Department and is aware of this important project. This committee has had an intense several years of discussions, many held by telephone conference call with participants, including Janice, calling in at some times very early hours!

We would pose the question whether it might not be beneficial from a business development point of view for the USPS to use participation in providing some digital-based services through dot Post as an experiment. If they work, then bring them into the home market. How about an international hybrid mail system, for example? With world-class security within the dot Post domain, hybrid mail vendors abroad could use their posts as points of entry to the UPU system with dot Post as the transmission medium. The USPS could channel transmissions to private sector hybrid mail vendors in the US at locations closest to the postal intake points.

What’s missing in this scenario is for the terminal dues system to account for digital mail. It is unlikely posts would be interested in diverting paper mail to this channel unless they retain that income stream. There is a UPU regulation on the matter which could at least permit a start of the system. Basically, it was a compromise “punt” of the issue in a previous Congress when delegates did not know what to do with a proposal to bring hybrid mail into the terminal dues system. The problem is that it calls for countries to set the rates on a bilateral basis. Of course, if only a handful of countries are interested, perhaps this is not an overwhelming issue.

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