August 10, 2013 in Business

Postal Service’s efficiencies cut losses

But quarterly red ink still at $740 million
Andrew Miga Associated Press
 

WASHINGTON – The Postal Service has trimmed its losses to $740 million over the last three months by consolidating processing facilities, cutting hours for workers and post offices and reducing workers’ compensation costs, the agency said Friday.

Still, year-to-date, the Postal Service had losses totaling $3.9 billion, and the agency said that without help from Congress its financial woes will worsen.

The quarterly report comes as Congress considers proposals to fix the agency’s finances. The agency lost $16 billion last year and is trying to restructure its operations.

Over the first nine months of its fiscal year, the Postal Service said 104 mail processing facilities were consolidated, career employee work hours were reduced by about 41 million and operating hours at 7,397 post offices were reduced.

The service wants to end most Saturday and door-to-door mail delivery. It also is seeking to reduce its congressionally mandated $5.6 billion annual payment for future retiree health benefits. The agency says ending Saturday mail delivery would save $2 billion each year.

Joe Corbett, the agency’s chief financial officer, said in a statement that “without comprehensive postal reform legislation signed into law, our hands are tied and we expect multibillion-dollar annual losses to continue.”

The third-quarter loss was far less than its $5.2 billion loss for the same period last year. Postal officials said its cost-cutting and efficiency moves helped lower losses, along with a $918 million decrease to its workers’ compensation expenses due to interest rates.

The Postal Service for years has faced declining mail volume and a 2006 congressional requirement that it make advance payments to cover expected health care costs for future retirees, something no federal agency does.

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