It's not surprising the US Postal Service would sign a deal with an international shipping firm, but what is surprising is the secrecy over one such supposed deal.
But on second thought, given the negative publicity over its epacket deal with China Post, maybe it's not surprising after all that the USPS would stay mum.
ZTO Express said it planned to expand its global footprint beyond China starting with the US market, according to CNBC
. The company said it had "recently entered into a partnership with the United States Postal Service for cross-border transaction."
But CNBC could get no further information from either party.
In a follow-up article, CNBC said
ZTO Express had published pictures of a postal executive signing a document against a backdrop with the logos of both ZTO and USPS.
While ZTO is incorporated in the Cayman Islands, it went public on the New York Stock Exchange at the end of October - and substantially all of its operations are conducted in China, and substantially all of its assets are located in China, according to its filing with the SEC
In its prospectus, ZTO Express wrote, "In addition, we intend to begin providing delivery services between the United States and China through our U.S. affiliate." And, it wrote: "We plan to leverage our extensive domestic delivery network and capabilities and seek alliances with global logistics and postal service providers to strengthen our presence in the cross-border e-commerce markets."
One could surmise that the USPS entered into a deal to help deliver goods from China to the US at a time when US sellers are already upset at the Postal Service for helping Chinese sellers deliver small parcels to US buyers at costs they can't match.
It could be a two-way street with the USPS helping deliver packages from the US to China. Unfortunately, the USPS's silence only helps foster concern over what's ahead for US sellers. We've got an inquiry into USPS and will report back when we learn more.
UPDATE 11/9/16: USPS spokesperson David Partenheimer told EcommerceBytes he could not confirm a signing and said, "We have nothing to announce regarding this issue at this time."