January 5, 2004 – Airline Surcharge

Representatives of the United States Postal Service (USPS) have informed our lobbyist, Steve Boynton, that Northwest Airlines has submitted a proposal to the USPS that it would carry poultry by air mail for a non-negotiable surcharge of $1.00 per pound, plus regular priority mail postage. This charge would take effect in the later part of February. This rate, if accepted, would apply to all airlines carrying live poultry in addition to Northwest Airlines.
Unfortunately, the alternative to this dilemma is to lose another airline (Northwest) from the shrinking number of carriers and to truck your birds either to other airlines or connecting destinations. We are letting you know that this surcharge is a very strong possibility and you should make adjustments now in setting your shipping costs. (In my own case, McMurray Hatchery has gone ahead and figured the additional shipping costs at $1.00 per pound and recalculated our mailing costs for all size boxes going air mail.)
The Bird Shippers of America, through our lobbyist, are in the process of requesting Congressional representatives to organize a meeting with the USPS concerning the surcharge matter as well as other issues. The BSA Board feels that when we discuss the surcharge issues we should make every effort through this meeting to obtain needed concessions on certain other issues of concern to the industry such as temperature restrictions, cargo transfers and other matters which inhibit our ability to ship successfully. If this can be done remains to be seen but we feel an effort must be made to do so.
There is never an easy solution to these problems. It is important to look down the road at these most difficult times and make the choices which best allows our industry to continue to get our products to our customers and keeps us all in business.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation in this most delicate matter. As always, we look forward to input from any of you. Please feel free to contact any of the board members with your questions or concerns.
Murray McMurray, Chairman