USPS OIG Report: Efficiency of Surface Transfer Centers in the Southern Region


Surface Transfer Centers (STC) are contracted mail facilities that distribute, consolidate, dispatch, and transfer all mail classes within the surface network. They also divert mail volume from air to surface transportation and serve as a concentration point for consolidating mail from under-utilized surface trips. There are 13 STCs in the U.S. Postal Service network, four of which are in the Southern Region. These facilities are an integral part of the Postal Service’s plan to optimize its transportation by moving more mail on the surface network.

What We Did

Our objective was to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of Postal Service Southern Region STCs. We conducted site visits and relied on Postal Service data to evaluate performance at these facilities.

Finding #1: Mail Preparation
During our site observations, we found mail arriving at the STCs without proper labels or Mail Transport Equipment Labeler (MTEL) placards, including mail containing inaccurate transportation routing information and mailers who were not separating mail by transportation mode.

Finding #2: Highway Contract Route Driver Screening
We found that HCR drivers did not always have proper identification verifying that they completed required security screening. During our site visits, we reviewed 141 outbound trips and observed 45 instances (32 percent) of drivers departing STCs without the required identification.

Finding #3: Highway Contract Route Management
We found that HCR trips did not always operate according to the planned transportation schedule or were omitted8 by the supplier. During FYs 2019 through 2021, 187,366 (or 16.2 percent) of the 1,153,378 scheduled STC trips in the Southern Region did not operate on schedule due to contractor-related delays.

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Source: USPS Office of Inspector General

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