on Jan 24th, 2011 in Mail Processing & Transportation | 7 comments
The Postal Service established International Service Centers (ISCs) in 1996 to become more competitive in the international mail market. ISCs distribute and dispatch both incoming and outgoing international mail. The ISC network has facilities located in five major cities: New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The Postal Service hoped that ISCs would improve service and provide the structure needed to support new products and increase revenue. However, International Mail volume has not increased as projected by the ISC marketing and sales plan. During the period FY 2007 to FY 2010, International mail volume declined by approximately 29 percent (from 858 million to 609 million mailpieces). Although the Postal Service reduced expenses by nearly $6 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2009 and by almost $789 million during the first three quarters of FY 2010, the reductions have not been sufficient to offset declines in mail volume revenue. Consequently, the Postal Service is reviewing its mail processing and retail networks to remove duplication and make them more efficient to reflect current mail volumes. In light of international mail volume declines and the Postal Service’s current financial condition, does the Postal Service still need a separate network to handle international mail? Are there other options the Postal Service could pursue to increase International mail volumes and revenue? Please share your comment(s) on how to make the ISC network more profitable, effective, efficient and economical. This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Network Processing Audit Team.


While working with the Multicultural Marketing Group we targeted the small package Maquiladora business in Mexico. Maquiladoras are large manufactoring plants that ship or transport products into the US for international mailing. We found that we could not compete with FedEX, UPS, or DHL because USPS has no presence along the free trade zones. No ISCs strategically located near the border or in border towns. Our competitors all had facilities along the border. Trucks coming from Mexico are too big to navigate streets the narrow streets to reach the Post Offices in the middle of town, plus it's to time consuming to go the extra distance. Not to mention costly. I believe we need ISCs to be stategically located in free trade zones so as to be competitive in the international arena. We need presence where international business is happening.

International Service Centers (ISCs) are a critical part of the USPS infrastructure. The five gateway cities are critical because geographic regions of the world tend to focus on particular U.S. airports. Latin America to MIA, Europe to JFK and Australasia to LAX/SFO. While these facilities obviously need to have the necessary volume to remain financially viable, closing them would cut some countries off from direct mail service and would hurt service performance. Many mail consolidators also utilize the facilities for dropping off IPA/ISAL dispatches. Furthermore, any consolidation needs to consider CBP and FDA's presence at these locations. Any move/reorg requires close coordination with those agencies who play a critical role in the secure and legal movement of inbound and outbound dispatches.

I'm a Letter Carrier in Detroit. I also have a small in-home business that ships most of my sales internationally. Of course, I use Click-n-Ship but I imagine that there are a lot of people like me that are shipping goods internationally. otherwise those ICSs would simply go out of business due to no one using them.

A particularly interesting post - Thank you very much I hope you will not mind me subscribing to your rss feed. I have found a few sites with similar , but not this interesting. Thanks ;-)

The whole economy is down. This has to be hurting shippers of small orders(Ebay) from overseas. The USPS is in it for the long haul and should not be too hasty in making this decision.

How about we have congress repeal the entire body of Postal Express Statutes and allow human beings to contract for the delivery of Letter-Mail, alongside parcels, on a voluntary basis?

If the United states Postal Service innovates, it will live. if not, it will make way for those who do.

All this other stuff is merely re-arranging deck chairs on the ... well, you know.

And, please do not pepper me with horror story about how hard it is to function as a government monopoly. No one holds a gun to the USPS and demands performance.


Why is it impossible to speak to someone at an ISC (specifically NY)?

A package for my son's birthday arrived 20 days ago at the NY ISC and I've spent hour, many hours, trying to track where it is now. My local post office suggested calling (800) 222-1811 -that number simply confirms what I already know (that the package arrived 2/14) and refers me to:


That Webpage tells me to call (800) 222-1811 so I'm stuck in a loop.

I found a telephone number on the Web and have left multiple messages but no one ever calls me back.

As I type this I've been on hold for 35 minutes trying to talk to someone, anyone, at the USPS Customer Service department - (800) 275-8777. I have no idea how long I will have to wait, the message doesn't provide this info but does recycle sales messages.

I know my son's 9th birthday isn't important to the USPS but it is to me, more importantly it is to him hence my persistence in trying to get this resolved.

I appreciate anything you can do/suggest to solve this.

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