The U.S. Postal Service has become an extension of Amazon and is courting other e-commerce giantsBy Devin Leonard – July 30, 2015
In cities such as San Francisco and New York, letter carriers have been showing up on people’s doorsteps as early as 3 a.m. bearing unusual cargo: milk, eggs, and other perishable items. The U.S. Postal Service has been delivering groceries to customers of Amazon.com in selected areas since October 2014. “It’s just leveraging our infrastructure,” says Megan Brennan, who was sworn in as America’s 74th postmaster general in March, becoming the first woman to hold the job in the institution’s 240-year history. “We’re on people’s doorstep six days a week, seven days a week in some cases. It’s just a logical progression.”
A former letter carrier from Pottsville, Pa., Brennan is trying to transform the USPS into a delivery service for the e-commerce era. That means hauling fewer letters and more packages. It means showing up with them at once-unheard-of hours and even on Sundays. “Amazon is the first,” Brennan says. “But we’re obviously looking to get additional customers who are interested in that type of customized delivery.”Brennan’s predecessor, Patrick Donahoe, announced in November 2013 that the Postal Service would do deliveries for Amazon seven days a week. Since then, the Seattle giant has assembled a network of more than 15 facilities where it sorts packages it then trucks to nearby post offices, so letter carriers can take them the rest of the way. Amazon said in a recent regulatory filing that it plans to build more of these sorting centers this year.