Despite a bill partially designed to stop this effort, the United States Post Service will move forward with its 9-month modified consolidation plan. The first step will consolidate 48 locations this summer, with larger-scale consolidation to follow at the start of 2013. 5,000 employees will be notified next week about the impending changes.

USPS’ current plan includes about 140 consolidations through February 2013, with a final phase of 89 consolidations set to begin in 2014 (unless circumstances change, says the Postal Service). In total, 13,000 employees will be affected by these changes, garnering an annual savings of $1.2 billion for the Postal Service.

“We simply do not have the mail volumes to justify the size and capacity of our current mail processing network. To return to long-term profitability and financial stability while keeping mail affordable, we must match our network to the anticipated workload,” said Patrick Donahoe, Postmaster Gerneral and USPS CEO, a company press statement. “Our current plan meets our cost reduction goals, ensures seamless and excellent service performance throughout the implementation period, and provides adequate time for our customers to adapt to our network changes.”

The consolidation process mainly consists of moving mail-processing operations from smaller to larger facilities. No consolidations will occur between September through December of this year, due to the high volume of mail predicted for the upcoming holiday season.

“Given that the Postal Service is currently projecting a $14 billion net loss in FY2012, and continuing annual losses of this magnitude, we simply cannot justify maintaining our current mail processing footprint,” said Donahoe.

According to American Business Media chief legislative lobbyist Tom Carpenter, the current USPS system is built for about 300 billion pieces of mail annually; the current number of mailed pieces is around 160 million.