By Keith Kellison, senior vice president, UPS Global Public Affairs  When we say “neighborhood logistics,” what we really mean is serving everyday people like me and you better than ever before. At UPS, that’s nothing new. Since our start in 1907, we’ve gone through a host of transformations. From the early days of delivering by bike, to the first package cars, to next-day air shipments, UPS has led the way in meeting customers’ demands.  Quickly responding to changes in those demands is paramount. Logistics services work for customers when they are efficient, timely, secure, and affordable. And so as consumer habits evolve, we need to keep pace. Customers today are ordering everything from books to bathroom basics via the Internet. This forces logistics providers to look for ways to improve their delivery networks. In some cases, this takes the form of robust technological advances, like UPS’ ORION system, the most sophisticated route optimization tool available, reducing miles traveled and idle time — good for the environment and keeps customers’ costs down. Sometimes, though, even the simplest ideas might have a huge impact. As just one example, let’s take the mailbox. In the past, when most mail was letters, mailboxes were smaller, typically 8 x 11 inches. In fact, the design was so entwined with envelopes that in the 1930s Congress granted the U.S. Postal Service exclusive access to the “letter box.” But, as letter mail volume has decreased and parcel volume increased, mailboxes have grown. Pass through any neighborhood and you’ll see bigger boxes to accommodate small parcels like eyeglasses, designer clothes, and even time-sensitive groceries. Given this demand, and the fact that consumers own the mailboxes, doesn’t it make sense to no longer restrict mailbox deliveries? (Only the Postal Service can access your mailbox.) Customers would benefit from reduced delivery costs, additional flexibility, and the knowledge that their packages are safe. Of course, qualifications may be required to ensure security and that mailboxes are not over-crowded. But the good news is that the U.S. wouldn’t be the first to lift the restrictions. For years, third parties in Europe have been allowed to deliver parcels to mailboxes, with no security issues. If it’s worked there for so long, why can’t it work here? After the restrictions are lifted, we can continue advancing neighborhood logistics. Electronic delivery notifications and boxes with temperature controls are just two potential ideas with immediate potential. The list of opportunities is endless, but the first step is access.  Just what else might neighborhood logistics encompass? We asked three other postal experts to write guest blogs offering their thoughts and predictions on the future of neighborhood logistics:  The Delivery Revolution in Your Neighborhood by  Jody Berenblatt, senior advisor, GrayHair Advisors Worth the Price: High Quality, Convenience, and Timeliness by Robert M. Campbell, Ph.D., president and vice-chancellor, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB Canada Carriers as Conduits by Jim Holland, research director, National Association of Letter Carriers Read what they had to say and let us know what you think, including what kind of delivery and logistical services you might want in your neighborhood.  Back to the "What’s in Store for Neighborhood Logistic Services?" blog.

Comments (115)

  • anon

    I feel that my mailbox is there for my mail only. My packages should be brought to my door and my door bell rung. Lately (last few years) UPS just drops the box in front of my door and then runs away. UPS employees do not have the common decency to ring my doorbell. Now why would I want someone like that to have access to my mail?

    Sep 01, 2015
  • anon

    If this were to pass we would loose our ability to push EDDM. Right now if a person places an advertisement in a mailbox we can tell them it cannot go in without postage. EDDM is a successful part of our business because people get a discounted rate and can hand it to a Post Office and it gets delivered. If we allow anyone to use a box EDDM will see a big hit in sales.

    Aug 31, 2015
  • anon

    That is a very good point! We do receive a lot of revenue from EDDM and opening mailboxes to everyone would curtail this!

    Sep 01, 2015
  • anon

    If delivery companies want to discuss stuffing your mailbox with their packages, then that discussion needs to start with why mailboxes are reserved for the Postal Service in the first place. The fact is that exclusive mailbox access isn’t some kind of gratuitous privilege. Rather, it reflects commonsense ways of helping the Postal Service shoulder its enormous and unique responsibility: namely, delivering mail and packages to every home and business in America at affordable prices, and not just delivering packages to the most profitable addresses or with hefty surcharges. Regulators, courts, and experts who have studied the issue in depth agree that exclusive access provides many important benefits to the American people, and that open mailbox access would take away those benefits. • Security: Open mailbox access would make it an everyday occurrence for third parties to enter private mailboxes. It would be much harder to distinguish legitimate actors from common criminals. The RAND Corporation, a leading think tank with national security expertise, found that “relaxing the Mailbox Rule will have a negative effect on public safety and mail security,” as it would increase criminals’ opportunities for mail theft, identity theft, and explosive attacks. • Efficient delivery of mail: Open mailbox access would cause clutter and confusion in customers’ mailboxes. Most of what goes into the mailbox today are letters, catalogs, and magazines. If unlocked, curbside mailboxes were open to package delivery companies, however, a mail carrier would not be able to fit those very items into the mailbox, or to distinguish between outgoing mail and privately delivered items. At the very least, the carrier would have to spend extra time at your mailbox in order to figure out what’s what. This would slow down the entire mail delivery process, increase the costs of mail delivery, and ultimately raise the price tag of mail for customers. • Universal service at affordable and uniform prices: Whether you are sending a regular letter or card across town or across the country, the same Forever stamp will get it there. Exclusive mailbox access helps make that possible. By contrast, open mailbox access would make it easier for competing delivery services to strip certain profitable types of mail away from the Postal Service, such as catalogs and certain types of advertising mail. The Postal Service would be left delivering less profitable types of mail to less profitable areas, and yet it would have less of the more profitable types of mail with which to support those deliveries. This sort of “cream-skimming” competition would gut the Postal Service’s ability to support universal service and to keep it affordable. Exclusive mailbox access goes hand in hand with the sort of secure, efficient, universal, and affordable mail service that the American people expect and require. Mailbox access cannot be “rethought” without realistic consideration of how else to provide Americans with the efficient, universal delivery of letters and other mail: a public service that the Postal Service currently performs without taxpayer dollars. And yet, virtually every expert report and customer poll to have discussed the issue is unanimous in supporting continuation of exclusive mailbox access as a way to support universal postal service.

    Aug 27, 2015
  • anon

    As someone who regularly purchases items online and have them shipped to my home, I don't understand why this outdated law mandating only USPS can use my mailbox is still in effect today. I'd be much more confident in the security of my packages if all deliveries to my house went in my mailbox rather than sitting on my front porch for anyone to see. Fortunately, I live in a safe neighborhood in Iowa and do not have a problem receiving my deliveries, but it seems to make much more sense to receive deliveries through my mailbox.

    Aug 27, 2015
  • anon

    Zac, what happens when your mail box is full of UPS & FedEx packages and your mail carrier can not get all your mail into that box? Would you like to receive a notice to pick that mail up at your post office since your mail receptacle was full? Some people use their mail boxes as a file cabinets, leaving it in there day after day. If UPS & FedEx wants boxes up let them ask customers to put up separate boxes.

    Sep 01, 2015
  • anon

    Not only that, but if the restrictions were lifted, anybody not in a uniform could be seen going through your mailbox and if caught, they could say "Oh, I was just putting a flyer in there." Right now, if someone other than a USPS Carrier is seen accessing your mailbox, your neighbors know to call the cops.

    Sep 18, 2015
  • anon

    I think that lifting the restrictions on mailboxes would be a terrible idea. I have been letter carrier since 1988. Some mailboxes are so small that you can barely fit a standard electric or telephone bill in it. Some customers use their mailbox to store things like spools for grass trimmers. I have also had to deal with new businesses putting fliers n the mailbox (a loss of direct mail revenue).

    Aug 27, 2015
  • anon

    Hi There thank you for being here for us sirs.Say one little thing I think you should know about.I live in Moreno Valley Calif.My mail box has been ROBBED broken into many many times,Not only mine BUT others also,The Mail Box is in front of my House right by my Driveway.They use a crowbar or something to that affect to break into the Boxes here.It has been going on for a very long time now.And I and others here in my area are really tired of getting our mail STOLEN.I and others here have Called the Moreno Valley Post Office to report it.They DONT do a thing about it.They say Call the Local Police we call them and they say call the POST OFFICE OK?The Post Office have Postal Police right?Postal Inspectors right?They sit up there in there air conditioned area looking at and watching the Postal Workers right?The Post Office WONT fix the Mail Boxes Broken into,They say it is our Fault it happened.We have to put New locks on the Mail Boxes ourselves.Way Dont the Postal Inspectors get Off there BUTTS and come and check on this PROBLEM?I Know they are there because I went to the F.L.E.T.C. Training center the same as they did ok?Only I was a Customs Inspector.PLEASE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS SOON.A very concerned person.

    Aug 27, 2015
  • anon

    It -the box- is the Property of the Home owner or HOA -I have a PO BOX for 20 years for just that reason and have Finally sealed my box in the complex alley. Now all I have to do is convince the carrier to Update the address in the System as UNDELIVERABLE. They sell the list you know. Still happy as Heck we have the Postal System.

    Oct 26, 2016
  • anon

    Greetings and salutations. While not part of the Postal Inspection Service, I am a Lead Window Clerk and this is what I've been instructed to pass on to the customer. When you think (and in this case KNOW) you've been the victim of mail theft (which IS a felony), call the local police and file a report. Then, when you've done that, get a case number from the officer taking the report. At that point I hand the customer a sticker we have off to the side with the phone number and e-mail address of the United States Postal Inspection Service (1-877-876-2455, option 3 and postalinspectors.uspis.gov ). If you give the Postal Inspectors the case number, they work with the local police to investigate. The rest, on my part, is speculation, but I believe the Inspectors getting involved motivate the local police to produce results, or at least increase patrols in the area. I HAVE had customers come back and say that not only did the perpetrators get caught, but many of the stolen items were found (although for a period of time they were held over as evidence). I hope this helps.

    Sep 18, 2015
  • anon

    I don't want anyone but myself and the postal carrier in MY mailbox. Too much sensitive information, medications and other items would be too accessible to unknown persons!!

    Aug 26, 2015
  • anon

    Hi there me again,I sent a little something earlier.I agree with this person here,I get my medicine and other Important things in the Mail also.I DONT anyone but ME and the Postal Carrier in y Mail Box Either.But for a long time now My Box and many others have been Broken into and ROBBED our Mail from our Mail Boxes.When is this going to STOP When is the Post Office going to something about this?

    Aug 27, 2015
  • anon

    We understand that companies like to use cheap labor, and will probably hire ,"independent" contractors. What policing jurisdiction will control investigations, or will they all say it's not our jurisdiction? Who will enforce background checks of the people with access? How can the sanctity of the mail be protected, when that is the last thing on a for profit companies mind?

    Aug 25, 2015
  • anon

    As a Rural Letter Carrier I know that this is a VERY BAD IDEA! Lazy UPS drivers already try to put packages into mail boxes. Sometimes stuffing it so full that the mail for the box will not fit. This includes periodicals, checks, credit cards and someone's birthday card which is already easy pickings for thieves. Keep the sanctity of the mail and everyone else out! And trust me, UPS will not discount any rates because they can fit it in a mailbox. It will just make them more profit.

    Aug 26, 2015

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