Postal Updates

Problems mount over next generation USPS delivery trucks

Sep 10, 2020, 12 PM
The United States Postal Service is facing some hurdles as it tries to replace its aging fleet of mail delivery trucks with so-called next generation delivery vehicles.

Washington Postal Scene by Bill McAllister

Citing high projected costs and past planning delays, the United States Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General has called for a thorough risk assessment of the agency’s multibillion dollar delivery truck plans.

In a report dated Aug. 12, the inspector general disclosed that two of the five companies bidding for the estimated $5 billion to $6 billion contract have dropped out of the process and that the earliest the “next generation delivery vehicles,” or NGDVs, could be deployed is January 2022.

The trucks were supposed to be ready for delivery in 2019, according to the Postal Service’s initial plans.

The inspector general report did not name the firms that remain in the contest, but, a website that covers the trucking industry, said they are Turkey-based Karan teamed with Morgan Olson of Sturgis, Mich.; Workhorse Group of Loveland, Ohio; and Oshkosh Corp. of Oshkosh, Wis., teamed with Ford Motor Co. of Dearborn, Mich.

The inspector general’s report also questioned the agency’s decision to seek a custom-built delivery vehicle over a customized commercial “off-the-shelf” truck.

“Customization of existing vehicles follow fleet management best practices found among foreign posts and Postal Service competitors,” the report said.

Postal officials in charge of the truck project agreed to the risk assessment survey but argued that the report “failed to recognize that many commercial fleets are actually purpose-built.” They cited ambulances, fire trucks, garbage trucks and package delivery vehicles.

The report noted that the global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted both the automobile industry and the Postal Service.

The USPS “anticipates a substantial drop in mail volume, resulting in a long-term impact that is forecasted to be significant,” the report said.

“Given these constraints on the Postal Service, automotive industry, and other parties, the NGDV production schedule may be further delayed,” it said.

Asked to comment on the report, Kimberly Frum, a USPS spokeswoman, told Linn’s Stamp News: “The Postal Service cannot comment on which companies are vying for the NGDV contract, their potential subcontractors, team members or any other details.”

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