A group of retailers, e-commerce and logistics companies, including Amazon and the National Retail Federation, on Wednesday announced the formation of "The Package Coalition" to support the U.S. Postal Service's package delivery services.
The coalition's aim is "to work proactively with policymakers and the public to highlight the importance of the postal package delivery services to American businesses and consumers," the group said in a press release. They added that USPS is "the only daily delivery service that connects every one of America's 157 million addresses" and an important contributor to the economy.
Members include major names like Amazon, Columbia Sportswear, Express Scripts, National Retail Federation, OSM Worldwide, Pitney Bowes, Publishers Clearing House and QVC. John McHugh, former Secretary of the U.S. Army and a former Republican member of Congress, is the coalition's chairman. During his time as a House member, he served as chairman of a subcommittee focused on the Postal Service, where he spearheaded postal service reforms, the group said.
This new group is a diverse one, with retail and retail-adjacent companies that are natural rivals coming together in support of a postal system that is often criticized as a drain on taxpayers.
With e-commerce growing, USPS service is even more important, the group said. "The USPS delivers packages to every home in America, provides seven day a week service, and connects millions of small businesses with customers across the globe — without it, consumers would have fewer shipping options, reduced service in rural areas, and prices would drastically increase," Blair Anderson, director of transportation policy at Amazon, said in a statement.
Indeed, FedEx and UPS both have deals where USPS takes on last-mile delivery in many areas. Despite ongoing rumors that Amazon will eventually take over delivery services, and even one day offer them to outside parties, the e-commerce giant's membership in this coalition suggests that it finds the USPS important to its fulfillment.
As GeekWire pointed out, the formation of the new lobbying group follows President Donald Trump's repeated attacks on Amazon, including its use of the postal system and the rates USPS charges Amazon for shipping its packages. In April, Trump created a taskforce to review the "expansion and pricing of the package delivery market," as GeekWire reported at the time.
Trump since entering the office has stepped up his rhetoric against Amazon and complained that the e-retailer is undermining the USPS.
I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2018
Should Amazon create its own shipping service, the least desirable, most expensive business may be left to USPS and others. If Amazon does offer delivery to businesses, it would likely do so at reduced rates, some experts say.
"This will be slow at first but will accelerate as Amazon rolls out more of its own delivery services," GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders said in comments emailed to Retail Dive earlier this year. "This leaves delivery firms with the unattractive prospect of losing share in their most lucrative and profitable markets, while at the same time having to offer a national service with all the expense of delivering to rural locations."