All of Jamestown’s mail processing moved to Fargo earlier this weekThe U.S. Postal Service officially moved processing operations out of its Jamestown branch earlier this week. For the time being, most mail will head to Fargo before returning here for next-day delivery.
By: Forum News Service , The Jamestown Sun
The U.S. Postal Service officially moved processing operations out of its Jamestown branch earlier this week. For the time being, most mail will head to Fargo before returning here for next-day delivery.
“The move is pretty much complete and we’ve kind of finished it on Monday — and so far so good,” said Pete Nowacki, regional spokesperson for USPS. “Everything is running smoothly and that’s about all there is to report.”
No employees left Jamestown along with the processing operations. Their union contracts do not allow termination but instead would have employees relocated within the USPS. The decrease in employees was made entirely through attrition, Nowacki said.
Jamestown still serves some surrounding communities as a distribution center.
Mail from Jamestown gets sorted in Fargo, processed in Fargo, shipped to Jamestown and broken into smaller groups for the communities beginning with a 584 zip code.
Across the nation 252 of 487 mail processing centers are being considered for consolidation. Some in this region include Grand Forks, Devils Lake and Minot in North Dakota and Duluth, St. Cloud and Rochester in Minnesota.
Some subscribers of The Jamestown Sun who live outside of Jamestown won’t see a delay with the relocation of processing to Fargo, but a broader consolidation could result in slower delivery times.
A decision on the larger 252 processing centers is expected early next year.
Relocating St. Cloud’s processing to Minneapolis would save the USPS an estimated $5 million annually, Nowacki said. The entire plan for all 252 processing centers would save USPS about $3 billion annually.
The Jamestown processing relocation will save USPS $11,873 annually, which Nowacki called an “anomaly compared to some larger studies.”
While the larger move could save USPS bundles in money, and help combat decreasing revenues — it will also delay delivery for many customers.
Nationally there is a 20 percent decline in mail volume since 2007. First-class single-piece mail has been reduced by 50 percent over the past 10 years, Nowacki said.
If the change goes into effect nationwide, there could be no overnight delivery for local first-class mail, which has been commonplace since 1971.
“You could say that moving Grand Forks is part of this.… Right now our processing equipment only runs for the most part overnight to get the next day’s mail out,” Nowacki said. “What would happen if we made these consolidations everywhere, we would run processing equipment nearly around the clock.”
Using processing facilities to their maximum potential would essentially cause the delay.
“If we start adding more facilities to some of those mail processing plants we’re going to be running those machines longer,” he said. “It’s going to mean that window for processing has to be longer and that’s why the two-day service on the local stuff.”
Public meetings will be held before a decision is made in the 252 communities with processing centers that face closure. An opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission is needed before USPS moves forward.
The public meetings and the commission’s opinion are not binding.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org