Eye Opener: Mail service suspended in D.C. area
Updated 7:32 a.m. ET
Happy Wednesday! The Postal Service will once again suspend deliveries across the Washington region on Wednesday and will provide limited retail service at local post offices. The decision means no mail deliveries in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and northern and western portions of Virginia stretching south to Fredricksburg.
Officials urge customers to consult USPS.com or call 1-800-ASKUSPS for information on specific post offices.
The Postal Service also suspended mail service across the region on Saturday. Officials cannot recall making such suspensions occurring in more than 30 years.
The decision comes amid a drop in holiday mail volume that contributed to a $297 million net quarterly loss for the Postal Service in late 2009, officials announced Tuesday.
Estimates suggests the nation's mail service will deliver 10 billion fewer pieces of mail compared to last year during the fiscal year that began in September.
During the quarter that ended Dec. 31, mail volume dropped by 8.9 percent to about 45.7 billion pieces despite the busy holiday season that usually means a healthy clip of business. But quarterly operating revenues dropped by $700 million to $18.4 billion.
“Unfortunately, economic drivers that significantly affect mail volumes, such as continuing high unemployment levels and lower investments, appear to be lagging general economic recovery and last quarter’s growth in GDP,” said Joseph Corbett, chief financial officer and executive vice president. “This situation, coupled with the growth in electronic alternatives to mail, creates a very challenging environment.”
Combine the net losses in fiscal 2007, 2008 and 2009 with plummeting mail volume and postal officials warn they once again will be unable to afford the large payments legally required to prefund retirement benefits for current and future retirees.
Despite the poor financial performance, on-time deliveries held at 96 percent for the fifth straight quarter. But mail service and post office operations have been sporadic across the region since snow started falling on Friday. Mail carriers continued their daily slog Tuesday through the deepening slush and mountainous piles of dirty snow.
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