USPS OIG Report: Mail Transport Equipment


This report presents the results of our self-initiated audit of the U.S. Postal Service’s Mail Transport Equipment (MTE) Program (Project Number 21-229). Our objective was to assess Postal Service management of the MTE program. See Appendix A for additional information about this audit.


MTE consists of containers (including sacks, pouches, trays, wheeled containers, pallets, etc.) used to contain mail during processing and while transporting it between postal facilities, delivery units, and mailers.

The Postal Service purchases and distributes MTE to transport mail. The use of MTE is provided as a courtesy to convey mail to and from facilities and mailers and it may not be retained or used for unauthorized purposes. Additionally, to reduce processing costs, all MTE must be properly containerized or finalized as Postal Prepared Finished Goods (PPFG) and must have a Mail Transport Equipment Labeler (MTEL) placard affixed prior to it being returned to the Mail Transport Equipment Service Center (MTESC).

The Postal Service’s MTESC network is comprised of 14 contractor-operated centers that are responsible for processing, repairing, storing, and distributing MTE in a timely and efficient manner. The Mail Transport Equipment Support System (MTESS) supports MTESCs and processes orders for facilities and large mailers.

The Postal Service Mail Transport Equipment Ordering System (MTEOR) allows users (facilities and mailers) to order MTE online, providing a fast, reliable, and convenient place for facilities and mailers to request MTE from the MTESCs. Large mailers place their MTE orders through MTEOR and receive direct delivery from an MTESC, while local mailers also use the MTEOR system but receive MTE from postal facilities.

U.S. Postal Service Headquarters is responsible for monitoring and managing all MTESC inventory to address the needs of both internal and external customers. Headquarters also uses forecasting reports in MTEOR to determine the appropriate levels of MTE to purchase. Additionally, facility managers are required to manage, administer, and determine the application and control of MTE in their jurisdictional area.

Findings Summary

We found the Postal Service has opportunities to improve its management of the MTE program. Specifically, the Postal Service could improve compliance with MTE handling procedures, inventory controls, conducting comprehensive audits, maintaining accurate and updated customer information in MTEOR, and ensuring security controls are in place.

  • Finding #1: Non-Compliance and Misuse of MTE
  • Finding #2: Insufficient and Non-compliant Inventory Controls
  • Finding #3: Non-compliance with MTE Audits for USPS Facilities and Mailers
  • Finding #4: Outdated Customer Master List in MTEOR
  • Finding #5: Insufficient Security Controls Over MTESCs and USPS Facilities

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Source: USPS Office of Inspector General

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