USPS cancels Bypass Mail pilot project at last moment

A pilot program aimed at finding cheaper ways to deliver goods and mail to North Slope communities has been scrapped just before it was set to launch.

The U.S. Postal Service had partnered with Lynden Transport Inc. and planned to use multiple modes of transportation to make Bypass Mail and non-priority mail deliveries around the North Slope hubs of Deadhorse and Utqia’vik, formerly Barrow.

The pilot program was set to start Jan. 15 and run for one year.

USPS officials went as far as to inform other mail carriers that could see their business impacted by the plan.

Jodi McDermott, a commercial air network manager with the Postal Service, wrote in a Dec. 7 letter to Anchorage-based Northern Air Cargo leadership that Lynden Transport would deliver the same mail at the same frequency as before, but would use tractor-trailers traversing the tundra during winter, marine landing craft in summer and aircraft only during the spring and fall shoulder seasons.

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