How bad is the United States Postal Service? In order to get a straight answer on this, ask the federal government. The federal government uses the Postal Service 2% of the time.
Here is an agency that is so utterly incompetent that the United States government will not use it. How’s that for a testimonial? Here is an agency run by the government that the rest of the agencies regard as so utterly unreliable and expensive, that they refuse to use it.
The Postal Service has had a monopoly over first-class mail ever since the time of Benjamin Franklin. That is the longest monopoly in American history. Yet it cannot persuade the federal government to use it.
Federal agencies in 2012 spent $4.8 billion in mailing. Of this total, the Postal Service got $337 million. If that is not a vote of no-confidence, I do not know what would be.
The federal government uses UPS and FedEx. The Government Services Administration has contracts with both companies. The Postal Service has not been able to convince the GSA to use its services.
The GSA set up the contracts for mailing with FedEx and UPS back in 2001. The Postal Service did not get involved until 2009. Apparently the Postal Service did not get the memo. I suppose it was sent by regular mail. This means that long-term contracts are already established, and federal agencies do not want to bother to break those contracts, or let them run out, and switch to the post office. Why should they?
The Postal Service said it was going to set up a system of guaranteed express delivery. It would get the package there in two days or three days. Unfortunately, the Postal Service never actually delivered on the promise. Again, delivery from the Postal Service is really slow.
What is the potential market? Some investigators have made an estimate that the Postal Service might get about $35 million of extra business next year. That is chump change when you consider the GSA is spending close to $5 billion a year in shipping.
FedEx and UPS offer significantly lower prices for next-day delivery. The Postal Service cannot compete.
The Postal Service does not own its own aircraft. UPS and FedEx do.
All in all, the government has stamped this on its dealings with the Postal Service: Return to Sender.