World news – The postal service finally awarded the contract to replace the decades-old vehicle fleet

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The new vehicles are expected to hit the road in 2023.

USPS photo

Eric Katz

The US Postal Service has awarded Oshkosh Defense a 10-year contract to build up to 165,000 new vehicles, potentially replacing almost the entire decade-old fleet.

The order has a volume of at least $ 482 million as Oshkosh builds an initial order of 50,000 right-hand drive vehicles for USPS. The search for the Postal Service’s Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) has taken several years and several delays, despite the fact that the aging fleet and reports of burning trucks have made the process urgent. USPS owns more than 200,000 vehicles, most of which are classified as « long-lived, » with an average of 25 years on the road.

The new vehicles are not expected to hit the road until 2023, according to postal service officials. Much of the initial investment will go into testing and building a production facility for final assembly. Some of the vehicles will be fully electric and battery powered, while others will have fuel efficient internal combustion engines. Due to the development of electric vehicles, USPS said these trucks could be retrofitted to keep up with new technological developments. The agency expects to spend billions of dollars on new vehicles over the next 10 years, both custom vans and standard commercial options.

The original contract is perpetual delivery, which means an indefinite amount that USPS could order more vehicles from Oshkosh over the next 10 years as it seems appropriate. The agency can commission the company to build up to 165,000 vehicles.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has spent months creating a 10-year business plan that is expected in the coming days or weeks. In addition to slowing mail delivery and calling for more autonomy in tariff setting and legislative changes, he said fleet and other modernization efforts would be part of this plan. DeJoy said these efforts will require significant investment. USPS recently received a $ 10 billion cash infusion as part of the last COVID-19 relief package that President Trump signed into law.

« The NGDV program expands our capabilities to handle more parcel volumes and support our shippers with cleaner and more efficient technologies, more convenience, and more convenience and safety as they deliver on behalf of the American people every day, « said DeJoy.

USPS highlighted the increased loading capacity of the new vehicles, a key focus since the agency continues to see an increasing share of its revenue from package delivery. It also boasted that the vehicles will have 360-degree cameras, collision avoidance, automatic braking, and other technologies. Postal officials said Tuesday the agency would hold training courses with mail carriers next month to familiarize them with their upcoming vehicles.

USPS first launched a call for proposals for its next-generation delivery fleet in early 2015. At this point, USPS had been debating the need to replace its fleet for years but said it did not have the funds as it lost billions of dollars annually. The Government Accountability Office first suggested that the USPS address aging the fleet a decade ago, but found that the agency did not have the cash to do so at the time. The postal service began leasing more vehicles in 2013, but in 2016 awarded contracts to six companies to build prototypes for delivery vehicles. After testing these models, USPS delayed their selection.

The search for a new supplier has focused on fuel efficiency as existing long-term vehicles averaged just 10 miles per gallon. USPS previously narrowed down the candidates for its fleet replacement contract to three finalists: Karsan and Morgan Olsen, a Turkish and American company that has teamed up for its offer; Oshkosh, who originally worked with Ford; and Workforce, an electric vehicle startup. Just days after taking office, President Biden signed a directive for the federal government to convert its fleet to domestically manufactured zero-emission vehicles. Biden suggested replacing the entire federal fleet with electric vehicles.

Oshkosh has long worked with the Department of Defense to build bespoke vehicles for the military. Two years before production started, the company had already planned some parts of its process.

« Our centuries-old history of supplying products to customers operating under the most demanding and difficult conditions in the world puts us in the unique position of the USPS -Give next-generation delivery vehicles exceptional reliability, safety and maintainability, « said John Bryant. President of Oshkosh Defense. « In collaboration with trusted suppliers, we have developed a specially developed solution to meet the current and future requirements of the USPS. »

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