Consultant: Cut mail to 3 days

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service, facing a $238 billion budget deficit by 2020, should consider cutting delivery to as few as three days a week as the agency attempts to pare costs, a consulting firm said.

Those cuts are among changes McKinsey & Co. presented in a report this week at a postal conference in Washington. Options also included expanding business lines and restructuring retiree health benefits.

The Postal Service, projecting mail volume will drop 15 percent in the next decade as consumers switch to electronic communications, is pressing Congress to change a law requiring delivery six days a week and limiting post-office closings. A request by the service to trim delivery by one day, to five days a week, has met resistance from lawmakers.

"Action in any one area will not be enough to close this gap," McKinsey, which was one of three consulting companies the Postal Service commissioned to review its future, said in the March 2 report.

Making changes allowed under current law, such as reducing its work force through attrition and expanding commercial-shipping contracts and other products and services, would still leave the Postal Service with a cumulative loss of $115 billion by 2020, McKinsey said.