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    Internation Mail Service Suspension Operations Cover
Report Number:
Report Type:
Audit Reports
Category: Retail, Sales & Marketing

International Mail Service Suspension Operations


The U.S. Postal Service processes international mail to more than 180 countries throughout the world. The Postal Service encounters situations where mail service to foreign countries must be suspended due to lack of transportation, COVID-19 concerns, or other unrelated disruptions.

What We Did

Our objective was to evaluate the Postal Service’s international mail service suspension-related operations. We reviewed applicable policies and procedures and observed operations at the four Postal Service International Service Centers.

What We Found

The Postal Service adequately suspended mail service to designated countries under international suspension but did not always properly handle packages destined for these countries. For example, 50 containers we observed had missing or incomplete labels. There were also instances where mail within these containers was not properly separated or incorrectly placed (the packages should have been returned to the sender, not held). These issues occurred due to insufficient management operational oversight, which can negatively impact operations and service.

We also determined the Postal Service did not always provide clear visibility or corresponding messaging for internationally suspended packages to customers on USPS.com. For example, 240 packages we reviewed either had no corresponding package tracking messages or none that matched the location of the package at the time of our observations. This occurred because the Postal Service does not have a scan event indicating pieces were held due to international suspension. Consequently, customers did not have accurate information regarding the status and location of their packages, which can create customer dissatisfaction and negatively impact the Postal Service brand.


We recommended management develop strategies to enhance oversight of the handling of internationally suspended mail and create a scan event code for internationally suspended mailings and corresponding processes and messaging.

Report Recommendations

# Recommendation Status Value Management Response OIG Response USPS Proposed Resolution

Develop strategies to enhance management oversight related to the handling of internationally suspended mail, particularly related to containerization, labeling/placarding, and returning to sender.

Closed $0 Agree

Develop a scan event code for internationally suspended mailings and corresponding processes and messaging.

Open $0 Agree