Regional Hubs & Postal Codes Part of Modernisation Plans for Postcorp


Modernisation efforts at the Postal Corporation of Jamaica (Postcorp) are expected to decentralise the operations at the Central Sorting Office (CSO) to regional hubs and to utilise postal codes for efficiency in sorting mails.
Speaking with JIS News, Deputy Postmaster General in charge of Operations, Michael Gentles said that the move was part of the overall strategy to modernise the operations of Postcorp for greater efficiency.Without giving a timeline for the implementation of these measures, Mr. Gentles said the plan was to divide the island into zones or regions. “We are looking at (establishing) four delivery zones right now and we are going to create a hub in each of these zones,” the Deputy Postmaster General explained.
A zone will incorporate about three parishes with a sorting hub being established in one of them to serve that particular region. Mr. Gentles explained that currently, all mails have to be transported to Kingston before being sorted and delivered to their final destinations.
“If we had a hub in Montego Bay and someone posted a letter in Savanna-la-Mar to go to MoBay, rather than coming into Kingston’s CSO for sorting and then sent back, it would go straight to the hub where it would be distributed to the relevant parish or post office,” he explained.
Currently, the only exceptions to mails coming into Kingston for sorting are those destined for areas that are en route to the CSO. According to Mr. Gentles, the Postal Corporation’s transportation arrangement was inflexible. “We don’t own the vans. We have individual contracts with about 60 persons and their contracts specify which routes they travel and have specified mileage.”
Mr. Gentles said that the Postal Corporation was moving to create greater flexibility in its transportation arrangements, as it could not request that persons with existing transportation contracts go out of their specified route.
“That system has been in place for possibly half a century and it needs to be changed,” he stressed.The Postal Corporation is expected to select successful tenders for the transportation of its mails at competitive rates. Mr. Gentles pointed out that a few years ago the cost to the post office service for ground transportation of mails alone was $60 million annually. However, he observes that last year that figure rose to $112 million.
In the meantime, the Postal Corporation is also looking at the introduction of postal codes as part of the effort to sort mails efficiently. Regional Advisor for the Caribbean Postal Union (CPU), Herbert Niles said that this measure was similar to the use of zip codes in the United States for the easy identification of specific areas.
Mr. Niles who was in the island recently to assist the Postal Corporation in its modernisation drive explained that coding quickens the sorting process. “If an item is coded, the sorter is only concerned with the code” as the number would only relate to a specific area and there would be no need to look for additional information to determine its destination.
“Coding is really the modern way to sort mails efficiently,” he explained, adding that there was also a Caribbean-wide coding project to introduce unique codes for individual territories within the region. He said that when the system is introduced, a public education campaign would be implemented to sensitise persons.
The Universal Postal Union, the United Nations body responsible for overseeing postal operations worldwide and to which the CPU is associated, is lending assistance to the modernisation effort through its Quality of Service Fund.

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