In a 26-page report dated July 16 prepared by the USPS Office of Inspector General, a recommendation is made to pursue intermodal mail movement to "save transportation costs, gain long-term strategic advantages, and continue to meet existing service standards."
USPS spent more than $US 3.3bn on road transport contracts in 2011, but only $US 40m on rail-based alternatives, the report says.
The report notes that competitors including UPS and FedEx have become major railfreight customers over the last decade, while the USPS has shifted traffic away from rail, and observes that UPS is now the single largest user of intermodal railfreight in the USA. JB Hunt, one of USPS's largest road haulage contractors, now earns about 60% of its revenues from intermodal rail operations.
The potential use of Amtrak, which previously contracted with USPS for mail movement, specifically is not included in the main body of the report. Amtrak made efforts during the 1990s to enhance mail transport by rail, but these operations were largely abandoned by 2004.