ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service scrapped a pilot program aimed at finding cheaper ways to deliver goods and mail to northern Alaska communities.
The service had partnered with Lynden Transport Inc. to use multiple forms of transportation to make bypass mail and non-priority mail deliveries to the North Slope hubs of Deadhorse and Utqiagvik, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported this week.
The Postal Service had planned to launch the program Tuesday and operate it for a year. It’s unclear why the pilot program was canceled.
Postal Service Alaska spokesman Brian Sperry said the program has been withdrawn and is no longer being pursued. He could not elaborate on the reasons why, he said.
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A spokesman for Lynden Transport did not respond to questions about the program.
Lynden Transport had aimed to deliver mail for the program at the same frequency, but it would have used use tractor-trailers during winter, marine landing craft in summer and aircraft during the spring and fall shoulder seasons, Jodi McDermott, a commercial air network manager for the service, wrote in a December letter to Northern Air Cargo leadership.
The company had planned to try to supply as good or better on-time service with the multiple forms of transportation compared to the air service primarily used today, according to the letter.
“The Postal Service expects substantial savings during the one-year pilot test,” McDermott wrote at the time. “If the pilot test is successful, the annual savings are expected to increase due to continual Department of Transportation airline rate cost increases. These transportation savings come at a critical time for the Postal Service, as we continue to experience financial losses every year.”
Information from: (Anchorage) Alaska Journal of Commerce, http://www.alaskajournal.com