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).
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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.

Comments (120)

  • anon

    My package has been sitting in ISC NY for exactly 30 days now. Last update was Oct 27th. Can't get a hold of anyone either!

    Nov 28, 2015
  • anon

    I've had a package sitting in ISC New York since November 12, 2015. It has stated "processed through sort facility" and has sat dormant with no activity since, what is going on and why it's a simple toy from Spain. Please look into this as I've seen dozens of unresolved complaints as to the same issue. The tracking on my package is LX115244642ES

    Nov 24, 2015
  • anon

    Had a small package shipped to me from Germany nearly 3 weeks ago now. I was given the choice of regular shipping 1-2 weeks for $35 or express 5-7 days for $90. As I am in need of this item for a birthday present (which now has passed) I opted for the latter. My package is stuck at ISC New York and there are no signs of movement. No one can seem to help or give me any reason as to why. Tracking states that it has been processed through ISC New York (usps) which to my understanding means it has already cleared customs. Why is this so difficult? The first time I ordered the same items twice before, it took 5 days total, no problem. What is going on? RB079905615DE

    Nov 22, 2015
  • anon

    ISC NY why? Ive had a package from spain also sitting for over 10 days now saying "processed through sort facility" for over ten days now, seriously this is ridiculous! a toy from spain why is it just sitting if its been processed? these are the issues to why the post office is catching such a bad reputation.

    Nov 20, 2015
  • anon

    There is also problems with mail being delayed from ISC MIAMI! If you call down there, they are rude, do not speak English and always put the blame on "customs". Please! According to your article, the ISCs were supposed to SPEED up the mail. So, then please tell my WHY...my packages stay for DAYS...or even WEEKS before moving out of the ISC bottleneck? DO AWAY WITH THE ISC CENTERS! THEY ARE USELESS AND DO NOTHING BUT DELAY THE MAIL. The consumers are paying for delivery services, delivery times MUST be adhered too by the USPS. You keep raising rates, and the service gets worse. There are NO EXCUSES with today's technology!

    Nov 19, 2015
  • anon

    The story is the same as with others: got an international package stuck in ISC NY for nearly a month now! EC202419541US last time scannes Oct 24 The scenario pathetic: I call the center, they make ne wait on hold for 30min, listenning to a robot with stupid questions, then I tell my problem, and get politely turned down! They claim,as usual, that they have no contacts with the ISC and suggest to try to call them myself. But somehow it's impossible to find the ISC.aliens?!

    Nov 19, 2015
  • anon

    If mail rates are declining I don't think you need it anymore. So why are packages still getting stuck in ISC NEW YORK. It is unbelievable how long we have to wait. After reading how packages have declined, why the hell aren't the people receiving their packages. You guys need to fix ISC NEW YORK or just abolish it. It is not working and it is making your business look awful. I have a package sitting their for a week now. I'll probably get an item from Korea that I haven't even ordered faster than that package just because it doesn't go through ISC NEW YORK.

    Nov 17, 2015
  • anon

    I've heard a lot of bad reports about disc Newyork. And having all terrible reviews, none good, why the hell won't they fix the problem. I have a package sitting there for a week. My package is from Spain. I had a package from Korea come faster. I also herd ISC Chicago is great and fast. So what is up with newyork. They need to get their shit together. Because, really, this doesn't look good for your bussiness. And it is ruining other businesses.

    Nov 17, 2015
  • anon

    Just another bottleneck not needed. My suggestion eliminate unneeded unproductive units and start a flow of regular mail delivery that has dedicated workers concerned with the best customer service rapid transit possible. This would improve business and instill some much needed trust into the USPS.

    Nov 16, 2015
  • anon

    Critical package from India is stuck at NY ISC from November 5, 2015 , 11:07 am !! It has been 11 days and counting. Nobody picks up call / have answers to the delay. Never expected this from mighty USPS. Disappointed customer.

    Nov 16, 2015
  • anon

    Tracking # RA372373875RU has been sitting in your facility at ISC New York, NY USPS for 17 days now. What reason is there for someone to allow a package to sit that long? Why is this even considered acceptable? Most of all it appears to have been a problem for some time and no one in the United States Post Office cares to investigate why this is happening or how to correct it. Why is that? I would like to know where my product is and when I can expect it to arrive now that it's over a week late.

    Nov 14, 2015
  • anon

    My damn package has been at ISC for 4 days... That's B.S. It takes longer to get my damn package from San Francisco to my home 30 miles away. Than it took my package to get 5,000 plus miles from England to San Francisco. That is a problem!! The most powerful and rich country in the world has a mail system that is slower than when Wells Fargo used stage coaches. What century is this again.

    Nov 14, 2015
  • anon

    Maybe my package will get to me within the next 5 years...it's not like I paid for it and have been freaken waiting.

    Nov 12, 2015
  • anon

    What is happening with USPS. My mail tracking status inbound into customs since NOVEMBER 1st 2015 To date.

    Nov 10, 2015
  • anon

    i ordered almost 450 wind up watch mechanisms from india. in about 15 packages. all showed up. through new york. 1 was found by a camera after i asked san jose about it. most items from china show up on time. i lost a wrist watch from china without a delivery notification. lijin refunded 2. this time i am waiting for 45 small radio boards.

    Nov 08, 2015
  • anon

    My mail is inbound into customs since 1st Nov 2015. What the he'll is going on with usps.

    Nov 08, 2015
  • anon

    my package arrive AT ISC NEW YORK ON OCTOBER 25 2015 AND IT IS NOVEMBER 5 THERE HAS NOT BEEN ANY UPDATE ON MY PACKAGE I NEED MY PACKAGE !!! WITH ALL OF THESE HORROR STORIES THIS IS A MAJOR PROBLEM THAT NEEDS TO BE FIXED ! MY TRACKING NUMBER IS EA095085825CN PLEASE SEND ME MY PACKAGE !!

    Nov 06, 2015
  • anon

    a few days ago, my brother sent my family to Ukraine several phones and laptop. October 29, 2015 , 1:32 pm Processed Through Sort Facility ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS) Your item was processed through our ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS) facility on October 29, 2015 at 1:32 pm. The item is currently in transit to the destination. October 29, 2015 , 1:31 pm Arrived at Sort Facility ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS) October 29, 2015 , 6:32 am Arrived at USPS Facility JAMAICA, NY 11430 October 28, 2015 , 9:07 pm Departed USPS Facility PHILADELPHIA, PA 19176 October 28, 2015 , 7:52 pm Arrived at USPS Facility PHILADELPHIA, PA 19176 October 28, 2015 , 5:09 pm Departed Post Office PHILADELPHIA, PA 19115 October 28, 2015 , 3:31 pm Acceptance PHILADELPHIA, PA 19115 He kept all imei numbers before sending. Five days later, all imei numbers were in Latvia and parcel missing in ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS). Usps does nothing to punish employees for theft. Never use this service. This imeis was stolen 353266076849660 353272079125082 353266078829884 353263078620264 353268074761459 353254072990878 990001904510781 It was not the first theft, a year ago, just missing parcel with a gift son, the phone was in Latvia All imeis now in Latvia already used with domestic carrires my mail ukr1986@gmail.com

    Nov 05, 2015
  • anon

    There is no need for these inefficient not to mention ineffective isc's. The rate of delay means you'll be losing business for years to come, until a corporate-minded leader privatize USPS, then you or other hard working people will lose jobs...oh wait, that's not bad at all! LOL! Stop wasting citizens money and close these. Once the mail pass through customs, send then directly to local centers. End of discussion. I hope and pray for the privatization of USPS. GOOD RIDDANCE.

    Nov 04, 2015
  • anon

    The postal service does not receive money from taxpayers

    Dec 06, 2015
  • anon

    My package has been "processed through our sort facility in ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS) at 1:00 am on October 29, 2015". Or in other words it is now the sixth business day that it has been there. I called Customer service and they couldn't help me but they gave me a number to try calling (718-553-9132) but no one ever picks up. Why is my package still there and how can i speed up the process?

    Nov 04, 2015
  • anon

    My package has been stuck at ISC Miami from the 26th of October. Expected delivery was October 30th( To Hallandale Florida) It shouldn't take more than a week to get from MIAMI to HALLANDALE.. I refuse to ever deal wit USPS again.. There's way too many reports about lost and stolen packages and I do honestly believe my package falls into one of those categories. This is ridiculous. It's a waste of time to even call EVERY number that is connected to usps because nobody ever answers and after 5 house of calling, when you finally get in contact with someone , they answer the phone with attitude. I'm over USPS. Worst carrier ever.

    Nov 03, 2015
  • anon

    My tracking number says my package was processed thru the isc facility in New York on October 25, 2015. Now nothing --- where exactly is my package and when will I get it --- there is absolutely NO reason it should take more than a week to receive a package three states away. What's the problem and what happened the expression I always associated with the postal service - CUSTOMER SERVICE - has it, along with a lot of other services, become extinct.

    Nov 01, 2015
  • anon

    My package has been stuck at your facility in New York and was to be delivered by October 24. What is going on.

    Oct 30, 2015
  • anon

    To add a tidbit extra, I have read the post on this site and although most are explaining the problems with their packages and not really suggesting a solution into fixing the ISC, they are however showing you what the problem is with the ISC Centers. However, they are being dismissed with your statement that you only deal with, theft, fraud, waste and abuse. Then you pass them off to another part of the USPS agency. By many of the accounts I have read, these are cases of fraud waste and abuse by the ISC Centers. To hold these mail items up for such a long period of time, with no explanation, or reasons after acceptance of payment to process mail articles in a timely manner and then not fulfill that obligation is fraudulent, and to permanently "lose" an item that is tracked, has to be nothing more then theft by someone at the ISC Centers. When the items description is clearly marked on the outside of the package, with someone who's looking for that item for theirselves, can simply place the item in a box set for local delivery and either that person or a partner takes it for themselves once outside the center. This has happened before at local POs so what's to stop it at these ISC Centers? That is two very large problems, they should become part of the discussion in fixing or abolishing the ISC Centers. Please don't dismiss these "rants" but look at the underlying issues behind them! Make the workers responsible for the packages sent through their "line"! If they get 500 letters/packages to sort and review with tracking numbers, then 500 should have gone to the next "check point", and so on until the items are delivered or handed off to the host country. If a package happens to disappear while going through their line, they must find it prior to going home or face an investigation into what happened to that item. Use of cameras would go a long way to keeping the items from finding the wrong home as well!

    Oct 29, 2015
  • anon

    With the experience I have had with ICS and getting packages through their system, I can say it's not needed. The delay this has caused packages is beyond belief. There should be no reason why a $5.00 item should be held up for six days prior to being sent to the next "delay system"! This has happened seven times now, just to me not to mention others I have spoken with. I would suggest that you use your "regular" system to reciet these packages/mail and have customs embedded within your system so that these lengthy delays do not occur on most every mail item. I understand that there are items that need to have further investigations performed on them and duties/fees assigned. But that can be done by the embedded customs agent at the line so the mail/package can continue on with little delay. There should be no reason why a package should take more then a day to make it to the next facility on its way to being delivered. Outside of those items that are found to be illegal! Hope this will help in getting your system faster, cost effective and streamlined for success. Perhaps having a Blackbelt conduct a deep look into this, you may find your savings and enhanced performance!

    Oct 29, 2015
  • anon

    Sadly, I now have 2, yes TWO, international packages stuck (somewhere) at the Chicago ISC. USPS has been worthless as far as being able to help me find out when they will be delivered to me. Both packages were shipped to me from different individuals, in different locations at different times and it was just by dumb luck that both packages ended up at the Chicago ISC. Both packages been sitting there for days (one has been there weeks). Is it a coincidence or a reflection of a larger problem?

    Oct 21, 2015
  • anon

    My package is stuck on Isc New York for past 7 days I don't know what to do or were to look for I would like. Someone to tell me more about ISC Thank you

    Oct 17, 2015
  • anon

    I have had two packages sent by airmail from Ukraine one sat in the NY isc for almost 2 weeks and I have another one RB730234958UA sitting in the same facility now and for Lord knows how long. Thank you for your "efficiency". Yours truly Patrick W Dolby

    Oct 13, 2015
  • anon

    I am so frustrated with ISC New York. I have a package that has been sitting there for almost two months. Today is October 6, 2015 and my package arrived in ISC New York on August 29, 2015. I reached out to the USPS "customer service" number (1-800-275-8777) but kept getting an automated message saying that the package is in ISC New York and the website has the most updated information. After calling five times, I finally got to speak to a person (after waiting on hold for over 30 minutes), and the individual said that there is nothing that she can do and that ISC New York is a separate entity from USPS. She suggested that I conduct a google search to find the phone number for ISC New York and call them myself. What can I do to get my package??? It is important!

    Oct 06, 2015
  • anon

    I am so frustrated with ISC New York. I have a package that has been sitting there for almost two months. Today is October 6, 2015 and my package arrived in ISC New York on August 29, 2015. I reached out to the USPS "customer service" number (1-800-275-8777) but kept getting an automated message saying that the package is in ISC New York and the website has the most updated information. After calling five times, I finally got to speak to a person (after waiting on hold for over 30 minutes), and the individual said that there is nothing that she can do and that ISC New York is a separate entity from USPS. She suggested that I conduct a google search to find the phone number for ISC New York and call them myself. What can I do to get my package??? It is important!

    Oct 06, 2015
  • anon

    I am a stamp collector who buys stamps from all over the world. I usually receive my mail. But, I bought some stamps from Estonia. Today is 25 September 2015. My letter arrived in the ISC NY on 23 August 2015. The tracking number is RR305030299EE. I have used the USPS inquiry system and was told that "The package has not been released from Customs and given USPS. Customs is a separate governmental entity which we do not have any control over; I would advise you to contact the sender." I previously contacted the sender and they have done an inquiry from their end. Still nothing. Can the IG help me? I just want my letter delivered. Thank you.

    Sep 25, 2015
  • anon

    Miracles never cease - the letter arrived today. Thank you for whatever you did to free it from ISC NY.

    Sep 26, 2015
  • anon

    Had 3 packages all from same place going to same place received 1 and other 2 remains in processing at the isc in New York. Those packages were very important to receive by date was told...now I am unsure where they are or what to do. I have been sent to one automated recording to another I would like to speak to an actual person to tell me where these packages are and what is going on.

    Sep 18, 2015
  • anon

    hi, I am very frustrated. I have had a package sitting at isc since the 16th, with no movement. My package was coming from Germany. I have tried to contact the USPS, with absolutely no answers. What's the point in paying crazy shipping prices for your product to sit???

    Sep 21, 2015
  • anon

    my friend in USA send an envelope to me in Gambia since 25/8/2015, but it has not arrives still now. the was send via priority mail and the tracking number is ln803660070us. the tracking always says that the item is in transit to the destination. priority mail says that the item will be deliver in 5-7 days but it doesn't deliver still now. what's the problem.

    Sep 14, 2015
  • anon

    I shipped a package from Okinawa to Hawaii, and I was told it should only take 3-5 days. Now I see on the tracking it is sitting in ISC San Francisco. It has cleared customs, but why would it even need to go there? I believe that is a good example of fraud, WASTE, and abuse. Not only is it taking longer for a simple shipment, but costing more to go back and forth just to clear customs in conus?! Explain that IG.

    Sep 08, 2015
  • anon

    I wonder if USPS should consider hiring ex-FedEx and/or ex-UPS sorting employees to improve their services. What a problem and mess. I wonder if ISC center has cameras to keep an eye on all their employees. I would also be great if The United States provide them with X-rays machines, I'm sure it will improve their operations much quicker.

    Jul 17, 2015
  • anon

    I am disappointed that my package in ISC Miami for the last three months no feed backs from USPS with regards to my item the thing is just today another item is held for the second time the first items tracking number is EE002449358TT for no reason its held in Miami which it suppose to be sent to china and the latest one is to go to New York Tracking Number EE002402069TT I AM JUST HOPPING THIS TIME IT GO TO THE ADDRESS IT WAS SEND TO AND DONT GET STUCK IN MIAMI FOR THE SECOND TIME!

    Jul 03, 2015
  • anon

    There is a large amount of theft taking place at ISC New York, particularly of inbound registered and other trackable/accountable mail coming from overseas. I have had about a dozen such items disappear in the past 5-6 years. A Google search will bring up any number of results.

    Jun 13, 2015
  • anon

    The system is broken. It is inefficient and inconsistent. The ISC is one of the biggest reasons why the USPS is losing money and customers like me. I have a registered letter from Germany that has been at ISC NY for more than a month (tracking# RB108469614DE) and a package from Japan (tracking# CD190638335JP) that is still at ISC San Francisco for more than two weeks. I don't know whether they're stolen, lost or just sitting there waiting for processing. There is no clear answer and non-existent customer service. They already lost a previous letter of mine and it's been a frustrating experience. If you let this go on, I will let every person I know and every merchant I buy from to use other means of delivery because this is unacceptable. I wouldn't mind paying more, I just want consistency and reliability. Like any other business, I paid for these services so I expect you to do what you said that you'd do--deliver my mail and packages.

    May 03, 2015
  • anon

    Hi, I noticed that your package recently got delivered since it had arrived at the ISC San Francisco around April 20th. I have a package from Japan that has been stuck at the ISC San Fran since April 10th. Did you get any justification as to why your package was delayed? I'm worried about my package. I had the seller from Japan start an investigation with JP Post but they have not finished. I'm hoping my package resurfaces to my city just like yours did.

    Jun 01, 2015
  • anon

    Hi. One day the postman knocked on my door and handed it to me, and that was it. I guess that was all there was to it. It's a crapshoot. I got this package, but the registered mail from Germany is still missing. They deleted the tracking info from the site. I had both senders start an investigation/inquiry. So far, no news from Germany. It's very frustrating being helpless like this. If you haven't yet, I hope you get your package soon. Good luck.

    Jun 07, 2015
  • anon

    Need to stop a packet that in New York cause who I'm sending it to was a scam tracking number CW738212627US

    Apr 08, 2015
  • anon

    Hello Richard, Thank you for contacting our offices. The role of the USPS Office of Inspector General is to investigate waste, theft, fraud and abuse within the Postal Service (USPS). Unfortunately, this issue falls outside of the jurisdiction of this office. However, we have forwarded your message to the Postal Service Consumer Affairs office. They will be able to look further into this issue for you.

    Apr 08, 2015
  • anon

    I don't know where to get help. I get the run around when I use the 1-800 number. I'm trying to find out what happened to a package from the us to Australia. shipping number LZ320521499US it arrived in LA in 12/12/14 and tracking stated it left 41 days later 1/29/15. (41 days seems a little excessive) Australia has no record of the number being transferred to them. Is there anyway to see what truly happened to this package? Someone at the ISC I can contact myself?

    Mar 21, 2015
  • anon

    Hello Michael, We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for taking the time to contact our offices. The role of the USPS Office of Inspector General is to investigate waste, theft, fraud and abuse within the Postal Service (USPS). Unfortunately, this issue falls outside of the jurisdiction of this office. However, we have forwarded your message to the Postal Service Customer Service office. They will be able to assist you in this matter.

    Mar 24, 2015
  • anon

    The package that I was expecting from Paris France arrived at the ISC in New York City on Feb 7, 2015. It is now Feb 19, 2015 and tracking on the web shows no change. I will call the USPS Consumer Affairs Office and also ask at my PO if there is any way they can help me. This should not happen. They should eliminate these centers if all they do is delay packages. At this point I have little hope of ever getting my package. This will mean a monetary loss to me.

    Feb 20, 2015
  • anon

    Just from the comments above and the experiences I have had in the past year with International packages that did not track from my post office until suddenly, almost a month later, they start tracking, but in the acceptance country, I can promise you, the behemoth quasi Government agency, USPS, doesn't care a whit about and individual or their lost package. Look at those silly response letters above. They do absolutely nothing to offer help. This is why FedEx, UPS, DHL and other private courier services arte doing so well and the USPS is bleeding from every pore. The only advantage they have is price, which in most cases is less expensive than the private services. But if you look at service, sometimes the lure of low prices are a sirens song. From my experience, the USPS handles domestic mail pretty well, but I'm not impressed with their handling of International parcels.

    Mar 15, 2015
  • anon

    i agree with you its very painful and frustrating to order overseas cause it takes forever for mail to go through customs.call there 1800 line usps acts like its not their problem and its a shame.

    Mar 17, 2015

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