Houston, Jan 26 (Agencies): The United States Postal Service (USPS), a pillar of the communities since its founding and a major communication channel from times immemorial, is looking to shed or consolidate 2000 post offices nationwide to save as much as USD 500 million in the next two years.

Another 500 sites are slated to close by June.

After years of using a confusing and laborious 21-month process panned by customers and Congress as too secretive and inconsistent, the mail agency is now relying on a computerized system that allows officials to review and determine a location's fate in no more than five months.

If the plans succeed, the mail agency could halve its overall infrastructure by 2020, USPS officials said.

In addition, it is reviewing another 16,000—half of the nation's existing post offices—that are operating at a deficit, and lobbying Congress to allow it to change the law so it can close the most unprofitable among them.

The Internet, Texting facility and social networking like Facebook, Tweeting and Myspace are a few communication channels that challenge USPS and cut sharply into traditional usage of the good old snail mail.

There are 32,000 post offices nationwide and in 2009, the Postal Service moved 170 billion pieces of mail, which is 43 billion less than in 2006.

 Among the means that have been used so far to balance the Postal Service budget are cutting more than 100,000 employees, consolidating services, reducing post office hours, contract post offices and closing post offices.

The Postal Service may register a loss of nearly USD 7 billion this fiscal year in spite of a 2-cent increase in the price of stamps in May, cuts in staff and removal of collection boxes.