Consolidation plans announced Thursday by the U.S. Postal Service will shift mail-processing jobs in the Savannah area to North Charleston.
The Savannah processing and distribution facility will be closed, and its workload transferred to the Charleston Processing and Distribution Plant on Cross County Road, said Harry Spratlin, district spokesman for the Postal Service.
He said current employees of the Savannah site will be given the opportunity to relocate to the Charleston area, where they might continue their mail-processing duties or take other available postal jobs. But some job openings likely will be created here.
Spratlin said the Savannah and North Charleston processing plants are similar in size, but he does not know what the number of job shifts or the economic impact might be.
Physical expansion of the North Charleston facility probably won’t be necessary, as the increased mail volume probably can be handled by extra shift work, he said.
The closing of the Savannah plant is part of a nationwide Modified Network Consolidation Plan, involving 461 mail-processing locations and aimed at cutting Postal Service expenses by $1.2 billion. Consolidating operations will begin this summer.
The first phase involves 140 consolidations through February 2013, and a second round of 89 consolidations will begin in February 2014, Spratlin said.
The nearly bankrupt Postal Service said it is moving forward with its cost-cutting plan because it no longer can wait as Congress remains deadlocked over how to help.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the agency’s mail-processing network had become too big, given declining first-class mail volume and mounting debt.
“To return to long-term profitability and financial stability while keeping mail affordable, we must match our network to the anticipated workload,” Donahoe said.
Failure to do so, he stressed, would “create a fiscal hole that the Postal Service will not be able to climb out of.”
The modified plan seeks to allay consumer concerns about immediate, broad-scale cuts to mail-processing centers that would have slowed first-class mail delivery beginning this summer and would have virtually eliminated the chance for a stamped letter to arrive the next day.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.