The U.S. Postal Service announced Thursday that it has formally decided to close five mail sorting facilities in Minnesota, including those in Duluth and Bemidji.
The announcement comes months after the Postal Service announced it was considering the move. Mail sorting facilities in Mankato, Rochester, and St. Cloud will also close. Mail from Duluth and Rochester will be sent to St. Paul for sorting, and mail from the other three cities will be sent to Minneapoils.
In Wisconsin, closures include the mail sorting facilities in Eau Claire and La Crosse.
Specific dates for the closure of the facilities were not announced. However, the Postal Service has previously agreed not to close or consolidate any post offices or mail facilities before May 15.
The Postal Service noted that the closures are contingent upon Congressional approval of a plan to revise its service standards.
About 60 jobs will be lost with the closure of the Duluth mail sorting facility, and mail may take longer to deliver. The facility is co-located with the main Duluth post office on Michigan Street in Lincoln Park, but the post office itself will remain open.
The Postal Service is separately considering the closure of about a dozen Northland post offices, including the West Duluth, Duluth Civic Center, and Duluth Lakeside branches.
The Postal Service said the decision was made after a 25 percent decline in first-class mail volume since 2006. The service receives no tax dollars and is dependant on the sale of postage, postal products, and services.
"The decision to consolidate mail processing facilities recognizes the urgent need to reduce the size of the national mail processing network to eliminate costly underutilized infrastructure," said Chief Operating Officer Megan Brennan in a prepared statement. "Consolidating operations is necessary if the Postal Service is to remain viable to provide mail service to the nation."