Amazon package contract changes US postal service

Postal customers calling to complain about home delivery in Port Townsend are learning the changes in their hometown service are a side-effect of the rapid growth of online shopping.

“Where (the mail) used to come in the morning or early afternoon, now it will come between 5 and 7:30 p.m.,” said Michele Bruns, who lives in the letter streets off Cherry. “All the neighbors here have had the same problem,” said Bruns, who has lived at the same address for 23 years and in Port Townsend since 1973.

Bruns, a Leader subscriber, said Wednesday evening is too late to get the paper if she wants to attend events listed in the calendar for that day. Several other callers have noted late and skipped deliveries in recent months.

Bruns went to the post office to complain. What she learned was that the U.S. Postal Service’s contract to provide Amazon “last mile” delivery of packages seven days per week is upending long-established patterns and schedules at the post office.

The U.S. Postal Service, which receives no tax support, watched its income drop after Americans rapidly adopted email and other digital substitutes for stamped mail. About the same time, Amazon moved beyond its original business – books – into all areas of retail and needed the kind of direct-to-door delivery the post office provides. In 2013, Amazon and the U.S. Postal Service negotiated a contract for that service.

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