The U.S. Postal Service Marina Processing and Distribution Center — at Jefferson Boulevard and Alla Road near Home Depot in the Del Rey area — may be closed by the middle of next year and consolidated into a larger facility in South Los Angeles.
But a U.S. Postal Service spokesman said the move would not affect mail service for most customers.
Present plans include selling the 386,150-square-foot Processing and Distribution Center, that is located on the 856,000-square-foot parcel.
The U.S. Postal Service has been planning to close the Marina processing center — which is at 13031 Jefferson Blvd. and handles mail for the local area — for a few years, according to Larry Dozier, a spokesman for the Postal Service in Los Angeles.
There are many processing centers within close proximity of each other in the Los Angeles area and the Postal Service has looked at consolidating some, he said.
“We have been looking at ways to cut our costs and maintain the level of service we provide,” Dozier said.
If the U.S. Postal Service headquarters in Washington, D.C., decides to close the Marina facility, it will be consolidated into the largest Los Angeles processing center, at 7001 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles.
The move would create savings of about $16 million a year for the Postal Service, not including proceeds from a possible sale of the Jefferson Boulevard property, he said.
Costs would be reduced because the Los Angeles processing center would require fewer employees, machines and equipment, as well as less transportation, he said.
The Los Angeles facility was built in 1988 and can hold about 5,000 employees, he said. It has enough space and equipment to absorb both its current operations and the Marina Center operations, Dozier said.
A main improvement that would be realized in consolidating the centers is that about 40,000 pieces of mail that were second-day delivery at the Marina Center, would then receive overnight delivery through the Los Angeles Center, he said.
The Marina Center handles mail for the ZIP codes that begin with 902 through 905, which cover about 700,000 pieces of mail daily, he said.
While the Los Angeles Center handles about one million pieces a day, the Marina Center has the same operations, but on a “smaller scale,” Dozier said.
The Marina Center provides service to 23 cities in the area and has about 1,100 employees.
If the Postal Service decides to close the Marina Center, the average customer will not realize the difference because most of the changes in service are internal, he said.
“People will still get their mail in the same amount of time,” Dozier said. “They will notice no difference in their mail delivery. The average person will not know the change.”
But John Driver, American Postal Workers Union president for the Marina Processing Center, said mail service for customers would be affected if the center is closed.
“We don’t agree that it’s in the best interests of the community or employees,” Driver said.
“The Postal Service is not notifying the union properly. People don’t know it because they’re not telling them,” he alleged.
One of the union’s main concerns regarding the closing is that the designated postmark for Marina del Rey would be eliminated, which would not allow customers to track their mail, he said.
Customers might also have a delay in mail service at the Los Angeles Center, he said.
“The Marina plant is a dedicated site for its cities, but the L.A. Center is very large and their priority is L.A. mail,” Driver said.
The Postal Service looked at other processing centers in the area to consolidate to cut costs, but the Marina Center was the most “feasible,” Dozier said.
All of the mail processing operations that are handled at the Marina Center would be handled at the Los Angeles Center.
The only feature of the Marina Center that would be eliminated is th small Alla Vista post office, but there are many other post offices in that area, Dozier noted.
“We’ll provide the same service and there will be no deterioration,” he said.
The only customers who may notice a change in service with the move are “bulk” mailers, who have larger shipments and must have a minimum of about 200 pieces of mail, Dozier said.
After the closure of the Marina Center, bulk mailers would have to make the trip to the Los Angeles Center.
While the employees at the Marina Center would have to relocate to the Los Angeles Center and surrounding centers in the city with the move, no employees would lose their job as a result, Dozier said.
Marina Center employees don’t want to relocate, but they would if they had to, Driver said.
The employees want proof from the Postal Service that they would keep their jobs, the union representative said.
If the Postal Service decides to close the Marina Center, it may also decide to sell the property, Dozier said. It is not known how much the land is potentially worth, and the Postal Service has not looked at specific buyers, he said.
“We have no particular group in mind,” he said.
The union has communicated with local government to help stop the closing of the center, and it has also tried to inform residents of the move, Driver said.
“If we can stop it, we want to do that, but the citizens and businesses need to be aware so they can have a say,” he said.
If postal officials feel it’s a good idea to close the Marina processing center, it could be closed by next summer, Dozier said.
“If we get approval from headquarters it will happen,” he said.