The Post Office celebrates 100 years of Air Mail; What's the future of USPS?

Posted at 11:25 AM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-15 11:34:31-04

Today marks the 100 year anniversary of the first Air Mail delivery — on this day in 1918 a small group of Army pilots began delivering mail along a route linking Washington, Philadelphia and New York City. A few months later the U.S. Postal Service took over the route delivering daily mail service that changed the nation’s economy.

To celebrate the anniversary the USPS has released a special edition blue Air Mail forever stamp. Later this year a red stamp will be released to mark the 100th anniversary of the date service shifted from the Army to regularly scheduled USPS pilots.

As the USPS celebrates a special anniversary, the future of the agency is being questioned.

President Donald Trump has called the future of the Postal Service “unsustainable,” while creating a task force last month to look at what is/isn’t working for the Post Office.

The task force is looking at a number of issues including the USPS’s pricing in the package delivery market. President Trump’s creation of a task force comes after months of criticism aimed at Amazon tweeting recently, “Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon. THEY LOSE A FORTUNE.”

According to Amazon’s first quarter earnings report, Amazon spent more than $6 billion on shipping costs at the beginning of the year — that’s up 38-percent from a year ago. It’s been reported that Amazon takes massive losses on shipping annually, but offsets those costs by larger sales. Geekwire mined public documents of Amazon and estimated that it’s losses for shipping topped $7 billion for the first time in 2017, which fuels the discussion that Amazon may create it’s own delivery service.

The mere mention of such a service caused major changes in the stock market for rival services back in February.

Whether Amazon ultimately changes how it ships, and how it changes USPS, UPS and FedEx remains to be seen. In the meantime, we expect to hear more details from the task force created by President Trump before the end of the year.