The nearly bankrupt U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will move ahead with its plan to close or consolidate mail-processing facilities as part of its cost-cutting effort but will spread out the closings to maintain overnight delivery of local mail.
On Thursday, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the agency would consolidate processing at 140 of its 461 mail processing centers — starting with 48 in July — by February 2013 and shrink the area where customers can expect mail to be delivered the next day.
“After input from our customers, we’ve modified our approach,” Donahoe said at a news conference. “But the sobering reality is that the First Class mail [volume] will not return.
“We simply do not have the mail volumes to justify the size and capacity of our current mail processing network,” he added
A second round of closings, which would begin in February 2014, would involve consolidating an additional 89 processing sites, USPS Chief Operating Officer Megan Brennan said. Brennan added that about 13,000 jobs will be lost from the closures, mostly through attrition.
The Washington Post reports that the modified approach to the mail hub plan follows an announcement last week that the Postal Service is backing away from plans to close 3,700 mostly rural post offices and instead will drastically slash hours at 13,000 post offices.
The agency previously had said it would close or consolidate about 220 processing sites and eliminate next-day delivery to reduce overnight work.
The USPS, which does not rely on taxpayer funding,
has been losing billions each year as rising Internet use erodes
mail volumes and annual payments drain its cash.
The agency estimates that its new closure plan will help save $1.2 billion annually.
For a complete list of the postal centers that will be consolidated in 2012 and 2013 (Phase 1 of the USPS closure plan) go here.