New Package Coalition: Our Industry Makes the Postal Service Stronger

A new coalition with support from Amazon and numerous other parts of the retail sector comes at a time when criticism of the industry has come straight from the Oval Office.

In recent months, President Donald Trump has frequently said that Amazon is costing the U.S. Postal Service a lot of money, a claim that many observers (including his own postmaster general) have pointed out are unfounded.

But, as the president pushes for changes to the Postal Service, a new industry coalition aims to emphasize the economic power all those packages really have.

The Package Coalition—an advocacy group that represents a variety of retailers, e-commerce firms, and logistics companies—came to life this week, highlighting the economic good that package delivery fosters. The coalition says the industry helped contribute $7 billion to the Postal Service last year alone—and the sector as a whole is responsible for $1.4 trillion in annual economic impact, along with 7.5 million American jobs.

The coalition includes a number of major players in mail order, most notably Amazon, but also the National Retail Federation, Columbia Sportswear, Publishers Clearing House, Pitney Bowes, and Express Scripts.

In a news release, Package Coalition Chairman John McHugh stated that the group was focused on preserving “reliable and affordable postal package delivery,” especially in places where alternatives don’t exist.

“We support policy solutions to preserve this channel of commerce for all Americans, especially those in remote and rural areas that do not have consistently affordable alternatives to the Postal Service,” McHugh stated. “Members of The Package Coalition partner with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver their goods over the last mile to more than 150 million American homes and businesses.”

As Reuters reports, the message comes at a time when questions linger about the Postal Service’s sustainability. While many critics call attention to the $65 billion lost since the financial crisis,  defenders pointing out that the Postal Service is required by law to pre-fund retiree health benefits, leading to the tight financial squeeze.

In comments to the Washington Examiner, McHugh, a former congressman, noted that, even with the outsize influence of Amazon, the overarching message of the coalition drew a variety of supporters.

“The fact that all of these companies joined knowing full well that Amazon was going to be a part of it speaks to the unanimity,” he stated.

Members of the coalition, according to Reuters, have already spoken up to a presidential task force interested in making reforms to the Postal Service, though McHugh makes clear that the organization is in it for the long haul, rather than for the sake of a current political debate.

“We view this as a long-term effort,” McHugh told the wire service.

(asiseeit/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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