on Jan 24th, 2011 in Mail Processing & Transportation | 28 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.

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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.

Feh.

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:

https://www.usps.com/ship/file-international-claims.htm

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.

My package has been sitting at USPS ISC sorting center NY. for 4 days now. I've seen many posts/comments on internet claiming they have been waiting weeks/month for their package/mail to be delivered. Some even say a few things have been lost or destroyed. I'd like to know what is going on. And what is happening to our packages, i'm a big supporter of USPS and only use your services. I don't want that to change. What are you doing to fix this problem.

From what I see is when something happens to go to a ISC it gets slowed down by a day or more.
The ISC sends it to another postal center that then has to send it to one that sends to my local Post Office.
If it comes to New York and does not go to the ISC it goes right to Postal Center that gets it to my Post Office
the next day. Anything that hits a ISC gets delayed every time. In other words the ISC does not send to the right center
to get it to my Post Office so the wrong center has to send it to the right center.

I ship, sometimes weekly, often to Thailand. Usually priority mail.

Your recent Miami "services upgrade" has seriously delayed packages getting to the ISC. I tried three different PO's after my first delay experience, all in January 2015. First priority mail package, arrived at ISC four days after it was dropped off at PO(Flagler). The second package was dropped off early AM at 33173: three days to get to ISC. The third package was dropped off in the early AM at South Miami, Tuesday the 21st. It was logged in on the 24th at ISC.

In all cases, priority tracking did not start till arrival at ISC. The tracking shows "pre-paid created," then 3-4 days later "arrival at ISC". In all cases I submitted the Click-N-Ship packages at the counter, with an acceptance receipt. Ina ll cases, not even the acceptance now shows up on the tracking. Trying to hide the delays?

This problem appeared recently, packages shiped pre-December 2014 showed 12-24 hours to get from accepting Miami PO to ISC.

Now it takes longer to get from the accepting MIami PO to ISC than it does to get through the ISC and to Thailand! Four packages out of four in January 2015

Hello Dr. Bob,

Thank you for taking the time to contact our offices. The USPS Office of Inspector General investigates waste, theft, fraud and abuse within the Postal Service (USPS).

However, we have forwarded your claim to the Postal Service Customer Service Office in an effort to assist you.

Also, please call and file a complaint with your local Postal Service Consumer Affairs Office at (305) 470-0890 or (305) 470-0801.

Thank you.

U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General

My parcel is arrived in Seoul, Incheon international airport on 1/25/15 at 12:54 a.m., but it still hasn't delivered yet. I don't know why it takes so long time to deliver within South Korea. My USPS tracking # is CW887859790US. It's international priority mail.

Hello,

Thank you for taking the time to notify our offices of this issue. The USPS Office of Inspector General investigates waste, theft, fraud and abuse within the Postal Service (USPS).

Although this issue does not fall within the jurisdiction off our office, we have forwarded it to the U.S Postal Service Office of Customer Service. Their office will be able to look further into this issue.

Thank you for your time and effort.

RB021647767MD sitting in NY since December 7, 2014. Why? I have contacted USPS and get no viable answers.

Hello Barbara,

Thank you for contacting our offices and we truly apologize for the inconveniences that you have experienced so far. The role of the USPS Office of Inspector General is to investigate waste, theft, fraud and abuse within the Postal Service (USPS).

Please contact the Postal Service Consumer Affairs office, who specializes in matters such as this, at 1-800-275-8777 so they can look further into this matter for you.

RR050826465NG has been sitting in ISC New York for a while now. It's a very urgent package that needs to get to me as soon as possible.
Please help me!

Hello Kola,

Thank you for contacting our offices and we truly apologize for the inconveniences that you have experienced so far. 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 does not fall within our jurisdiction.

Please contact your local Postal Service Consumer Affairs office, which is separate from the customer service line, at 1-800-275-8777 so they can look further into this matter for you.

As well, if you still would like to file a complaint with our offices, you can do so on our hotline at www.uspsoig.gov/form/new-complaint-form and we can forward your issue to the appropriate department.

I find it interesting that the only two comments that were replied to by the Office of Inspector General happen to be outgoing shipments. There have been no replies to people who wonder why their incoming shipments sit and sit and sit at Postal Service International Sort Centers here in the US. Perhaps they ought to just rename them USPS Black Holes. I myself have a package that's been sitting at one in New York for six days now. If you call any 800-number, you get into a loop, because putting in the country of origin tracking number results in the USPS system telling you it doesn't recognize the tracking number. Meanwhile, you can put it in on the USPS system online, and it tells you that it has been "processed through the USPS ISC New York".

Hello Brian,

Thank you for contacting our offices and we truly apologize for the inconveniences that you have experienced so far. 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 does not fall within the jurisdiction of our office.

Please contact your local Postal Service Consumer Affairs office, which is separate from the customer service line, at 1-800-275-8777 so they can look further into this matter for you.

As well, if you still would like to file a complaint with our offices, you can do so on our hotline at www.uspsoig.gov/form/new-complaint-form and we can forward your issue to the appropriate department.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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

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.

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.