“The United States Postal Service said in late December 2019 it plans to order the first of a new fleet of mail delivery trucks this summer. The Dec. 27 announcement offered no details on how the federal agency will finance the purchase of an expected 186,000 vehicles that are estimated to cost more than $6 billion.
“The Postal Service cannot comment on which companies are vying for the NGDV (Next Generation Delivery Vehicles) contract, their potential subcontractors, team members or any other details,” according to a statement from a USPS spokeswoman.
The agency is anxious to replace 140,000 Grumman long-life vehicles that were built between 1987 and 1994. They have outlived their expected service life and reportedly have been increasingly prone to fires.
In its Dec. 27 announcement, the USPS asked the unidentified companies to respond to its request for proposals for the new fleet. A number of truck makers have been testing prototypes for months.
The USPS will review the truck manufacturers’ proposals and is expected to award production contracts this summer.
The review process will be one of the major tasks for the next postmaster general and the Postal Service’s newly reconstituted board of governors.
Because of the size of the contracts and financing issues, Congress could also become involved. The Postal Service is deeply in debt to the federal government and for years has been unable to make its required payments to the U.S. Treasury.
The initial USPS announcement of plans for the new trucks indicated that it wanted to select the firm that would build the vehicles in 2018. Testing and evaluations of prototypes, however, have taken longer than officials first suggested.
The USPS needs delivery trucks that can carry more parcels than the current boxy Grumman vehicles, the agency has said. Parcels have been one of the agency’s few growth areas. But that growth has slowed recently, and Amazon.com Inc., which has been mailing thousands of its e-commerce parcels, has said that it is increasingly turning to its own growing fleet of trucks to make deliveries.”