The United States Postal Service (we) commenced operations on July 1, 1971, as an “independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States” with the mandate to offer a “fundamental service” to the American people, “at fair and reasonable rates.” We fulfill this legal mandate to provide universal service at a fair price by offering a variety of postal services without undue discrimination among our many customers. This means, that within each class of Mailing Services, prices do not unreasonably vary by customer for the service provided. Established as the successor to the Post Office Department by the Postal Reorganization Act, the Postal Service is governed by an eleven-member Board of Governors (the Board), of which nine members are independent Governors appointed by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate, plus the Postmaster General, who is appointed by the independent Board members, and the Deputy Postmaster General, who is appointed by the independent Board members and the Postmaster General.

The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, Public Law 109-435 (P.L. 109-435), made further revisions to the Postal Reorganization Act. The Postal Service’s governing statute is codified in Title 39 of the United States Code. P.L.109-435 also created the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), which superseded the Postal Rate Commission, endowing the PRC with regulatory and oversight obligations.

We serve individual and commercial customers throughout the nation, competing for business in the communications, distribution, delivery, advertising and retail markets.

The law divides our services into two broad categories: market-dominant and competitive. Throughout this document and in the day-to-day operation of the organization, market-dominant services are referred to as “Mailing Services” and competitive services as “Shipping Services”. Mailing Services include First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services. Price increases for these services are generally subject to a price cap based on the Consumer Price Index — All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

Shipping Services include, but are not limited to, Priority Mail, Express Mail, Bulk Parcel Post, and Bulk International Mail. The regulations for Shipping Services place no upper limit on price changes but do set a price floor.

Mailing and Shipping Services are sold through a network consisting of over 32,000 Post Offices, stations, branches, plus thousands of contract postal units and community post offices, a network of retail establishments that sells postage stamps as a convenience to their customers, and our website, Mail is delivered to more than 150 million city, rural, Post Office box and highway delivery points.

One of the principal requirements introduced by P.L.109-435 is the requirement that, over time, our obligations for the established health and retirement benefits of current and future postal retirees be fully funded. To accomplish this, the law established a Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund (PSRHBF) and requires that we make annual future pre-funding payments of between $5.5 billion and $5.8 billion into the PSRHBF between 2011 and 2016. These amounts are in addition to the $38 billion contributed from 2007 through 2010.

All references to years in this report, unless otherwise stated, refer to fiscal years beginning October 1 and ending September 30. All references to quarters, unless otherwise stated, refer to fiscal quarters.

Additional disclosures on the organization and its finances, including Cost and Revenue Analysis reports, Revenue, Pieces, and Weight reports, financial and strategic plans and the Comprehensive Statement on Postal Operations may be found at Information on this website is not incorporated by reference into this document.