Amazon creates USPS lobby with other retailers to influence postal service policy

Photo illustration by GeekWire. (Not an actual USPS employee).

For months, President Donald Trump has been accusing Amazon of ripping off the U.S. Postal Service. The e-commerce giant has endured the criticism in silence but a newly formed lobby suggests the president’s attacks haven’t fallen on deaf ears.

Amazon and other retailers have formed The Package Coalition to influence policymakers on issues related to USPS and package delivery. The group also includes Columbia Sportswear, QVC, the National Retail Federation, and others in the industry, according to an announcement released Wednesday.

The Package Coalition says its mission is to work “with policymakers and the public to highlight the importance of the postal package delivery services to American businesses and consumers.” Based on the content of the announcement and the Package Coalition website, the group also appears intent on dispelling myths about parcel delivery, like Trump’s claim that USPS loses money on that business.

“The Postal Service’s package delivery business more than covers its costs; last year it contributed an additional $7 billion to the Postal Service’s bottom line,” the Package Coalition announcement says.

The USPS did report a decrease of $1.8 billion in revenue in 2017 compared to the previous year but that drop was driven largely by a decline in regular mail, like letters and postcards. Mail volume decreased by 3.6 percent.

Related: The risks, rewards and economic realities of owning an Amazon delivery business

Package volumes, on the other hand, grew by 11.4 percent, according to USPS. “The growth in our Shipping and Packages business provided some help to the financial picture of the Postal Service as revenue increased $2.1 billion, or 11.8 percent,” USPS said in a press release.

Nevertheless, Trump set up a task force to review USPS’s “expansion and pricing of the package delivery market and the USPS’s role in competitive markets” among other things.

Amazon still relies on USPS for many of its last-mile deliveries, particularly in rural areas. But the company also continues to build out its own delivery network. In June, Amazon officially launched its “Delivery Service Partners” program, which helps entrepreneurs launch their own delivery businesses to exclusively carry Amazon parcels.

Amazon did not immediately respond to GeekWire’s request to comment on the Package Coalition.

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