Due to the logistics of Jamaica many addresses do not include a door number, street or road name, merely a district and parish. This makes it virtually impossible for post workers to circumnavigate the island delivering post to every individual residential and business place in Jamaica on a daily basis as we are used to in the UK.
I have to admit that was all I did know about the Jamaican postal system from my travels here over the years. But it wasn’t until I was looking on the Internet for a way to send something to the UK from Jamaica that I came across Jamaica Post, the Postal Corporation of Jamaica and was amazed at the reasonable postal prices and the amount of services it offered.
So in my quest to encourage everyone to ‘SUPPORT JAMAICA BUY JAMAICAN!’ and raise awareness of Jamaica’s industries, companies, outstanding individuals and products, I present to you my first profile on Jamaica Post and ask,
“Instead of using that big foreign courier company, why not give Jamaica Post the business?”
Brief History of Jamaican Postal Service
Don’t get me wrong Jamaica does have a postal service, just not as we know it! Lets have a very brief condensed history lesson to get this straight….
- Way back in 1671, 31st October to be exact, Jamaica became the first British Colony to set up a Post Office in the then capital St. Jago De La Vega, or Spanish Town as it now known. The early settlers had complained that the mail delivery was too slow, so the Governor of Jamaica was instructed to open a Post Office to facilitate a more efficient service. Edward Dismore was eventually appointed as the first Postmaster General of Jamaica in 1754 and proceeded to widen the service by opening a series of Post Offices across the island, many of which remain today as Main Post Offices.
- The main Post Office moved from Spanish Town to Kingston in 1776, and although it has moved sites several times it remains in the capital of Jamaica. In 1860 the biggest change occurred in the history of the Jamaican Post Office as it gained full managerial and operational power from the British and the first beautiful and distinctive Jamaican stamps were created and put into circulation. In the 1970’s a grand modernisation programme of the head office was instigated and since the 1980’s the main Post Office has boasted a modern facility with an automated central sorting office.
- Mr Michael Gentles has been Postmaster General of Jamaica and the Chief Executive Officer of The Postal Corporation of Jamaica since 1st August 2006. He is much celebrated (and rightly so) as his many forward thinking advancements and modernisations to the Post Offices services and operations have in turn increased customer perception and satisfaction with the service. The Postal Corporation of Jamaica Ltd, has turned itself around and with Mr. Gentles at the reins it now offers more services and has improved dramatically, as you shall see for yourself.
Post Office Services
Jamaican Main Post Offices are open between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and offer a full range of postal services.
Whereas, the Postal Agencies only run on a part-time basis, offering a restricted range of postal services. The full range of services available include:
- Sale of judicial and National Insurance Stamps (NIS)
- Acceptance and delivery of letters and parcels
- Sale of philatelic products
- Sale & encashment of Postal Money Orders
- Acceptance and delivery of Registered Mail
- Express Mail (EMS)
- Facilitating pre-paid postage
- Provision of private letter boxes
- Zip Mail
- Advertising mail
- Postal Order (Jamaican $)
- Community Bulletin (Varies at each Postal Location)
Now that PostCorp has made commercial agreements with other companies, the Post Office is able to offer a portfolio of added services enabling you to deal with many other personal administration tasks at the same time, including:
- Bill payments
- Document reproduction and facsimile services
- Gaming products
- Internet Kiosks
- Water Coupon
- Jamaica Urban Transit Corporation Smart Card
- Cool Card
- Newspaper sales
- Automated Banking Machine (JN, BNS)
- Jamaica National Small Business Loans (Varies at each Postal Location)
Collecting Mail in Jamaica
Unless you have a private mail box with your own key, or have an address that has a delivery service, you won’t know if anything has been delivered for you unless you go to the local Post Office and ask. Just tell them your name and address and they will look and see if anything has come for you. Don’t forget, if anyone plans to send something to you and asks for your address, make sure you tell them to include the name of the local post office on the address printed on the front of the article.
Sending Mail From Jamaica
If you want to send something either domestically (within Jamaica) or overseas, there are many services available from Jamaica Post some of which I have outlined:
Domestic Mail (First Class)
The First-Class Mail service can be used within Jamaica (from a Jamaican address to another Jamaican address) for sending letters, postcards, postal cards, greeting cards, personal notes, checks, and money orders. They provide other services for registered mail, restricted delivery, certificates of mailing and postal insurance; anything insured at first-class rate must only contain merchandise or material, not required to be sent as first-class mail. The Post Office aims to deliver First-class Mail within 2 days to local address and 3 days for other non-local (and some rural) addresses.
If you are sending something of value (there is no limit to the value) within Jamaica it is best to use Registered Mail, as it provides limited indemnity in case of loss or damage. This delivery type usually takes 2 – 3 business days. As this type of mail provides maximum security, it must be deposited as specified by the Postal Service. Additionally, this type of mail is forwarded and returned without any more charges. In you need to make a claim, compensation is given dependant on the value of the item at the time of sending; insurance is not available for articles of no value. When you send an article by Registered Mail you will receive:
- A receipt.
- A record of delivery, retained by the Postal Service for a specified period of time.
- When registered mail is undeliverable-as-addressed and cannot be forwarded, a notice of non-delivery is provided.
If you feel the First-Class domestic service isn’t fast enough for you, when sending correspondence, business documents, printed matter, and lightweight merchandise (e.g. product samples) then try the next day 24 hour turnaround service Zip Mail©. As long as you get the mail to them before the cut off time and it is well labelled, they guarantee delivery by the next day, to addresses where they usually deliver mail, or to the local Post Office for collection. The largest size for Zip Mail© deliveries is 108 inches in length and girth combined, and the greatest weight is 20 lbs; your local post office will supply Zip Mail© stickers at no extra charge if you ask for them.
Jamaica Post Office Rates
The rate charts below have been taken from the Jamaica Post Office website and are up to date as of December 2012. Please note there have been some changes to the more frequently used rates in the past, so you can keep track of those changes here too. If you want to buy a copy of the entire rate schedule, it is sold for J$300 at the Central Sorting Office (CSO), 6-10 South Camp Rd, Kingston.
Inland Rates for Jamaica Post
Surface Airlift (non priority)
Sending Parcels Overseas from Jamaica
Jamaica Post also offers a worldwide parcel delivery service for packages up to 10 kilo. They have a smart rate calculator on their website where you can input the country of delivery and the weight and it will give you an estimate.
This link is for the Jamaica Post Parcel Rate Calculator. Where you can check out rates for other countries: http://www.jamaicapost.gov.jm/rates/parcelrates
Express Mail Service (EMS)
Jamaica Post also offers ‘Express Mail Service (EMS)’, a fast, cost-effective and secure international courier service. This service enables you to send packages from 1 once to 22 pounds in weight (dependant on the destination) and reaches destinations in 3-5 working days; flight schedules allowing.
Most of the Main and larger Post Offices across the Jamaica offer the service, where you can buy the distinctive orange and blue striped packages.
The closing times for EMS items can be obtained by calling 1-888-526-7676 or 922-9448.
The service is available to the following countries:
- UNITED KINGDOM
- CARIBBEAN (ie. Antigua, Barbados, Grand Cayman, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Lucia)
Track and Trace
Jamaica Post offers modern parcel tracking for EMS parcels to the UK, USA and Canada. There is a link on their website to track and trace the journey of your goods from Jamaica to its final destination.
All EMS items can be tracked and traced in-house. Internet tracking via the Jamaica Post website is available on our home page for the following countries:
- United Kingdom (Royal Mail)
- USA (USPS)
- Canada (Canada Post)
Customers can track their items via these websites by using the “TRACK & CONFIRM” feature, or by calling the Customer Service Unit at the Central Sorting Office in Kingston, Jamaica, at Tel: 876-922-9448 in order to ascertain the delivery status of their items. In order to assist you when you call, our pleasant, helpful Customer Service Representatives will need to know the tracking (“registration”) number, so please have this information on hand.
The mail item will be checked for compliance with international security regulations and therefore must not be sealed prior to being submitted at the customer service desk.
Express Mail does not transport cash, dangerous goods, hazardous materials or any articles restricted by the country of destination.
All shipments must include addressee’s complete address, postcode, if any, and phone number.
To avoid any inconvenience, all items being sent for repair or replacement should be declared to the postal clerk before being sent abroad.
All non-documents (dutiable items) must be accompanied by a Commercial Invoice. These items are liable to customs clearance on arrival at the country of destination. This may also affect the transit time of the item.
Items Prohibited from Sending Through The Post
Although Jamaica Post does its best to serve its customers, they do have a list of prohibited items that it will not deliver for you, which I have copied from their website. These include:
It is prohibited to send by post:
- Dangerous articles (including explosives), inflammable, noxious, filthy deleterious or otherwise harmful substances; sharp instruments, not properly protected; Matches.
- Any indecent or obscene print, painting, photograph, lithography engraving cinematographic film, book card, written communication or any indecent or obscene article.
- Any article having thereon on the cover there of any words, marks or designs of an indecent, obscene, seditious, scurrilous, threatening or grossly offensive character.
- Any article consisting of or containing opium, morphia, cocaine or other narcotics except those forwarded for medical or scientific purposes to countries which permit them to be sent.
- Any article containing medicine of any kind unless the formula or the content is printed clearly on the container in English or French. Medications intended for the external or internal treatments of venereal disease are not permitted even if they comply with this condition.
- Living animals except bees, silkworms and leeches packed in accordance with regulations
- Articles which from their nature or packing may expose postal officials or any other person to danger or may soil or damage other articles or postal equipment in the course of conveyance.
- Any article containing or bearing any fictitious postage stamp or counterfeit impression of a stamping machine; purporting to be prepaid with any postage stamp which has been previously used to prepay any other postal article or other revenue duty or tax; or having thereon or on the cover thereof any words or letters or marks (used without due authorisation) which signify, or imply or may reasonably lead the recipient thereof to believe that the postal article is sent on Government Service.
- Any article containing coin or gold bullion exceeding ten dollars in value except coins used or designed for ornamental purposes and declared as such.
- Any article prohibited by the postal, customs or other laws or regulations of the country or place the article is being posted to or which it is addressed or through which it must pass.
- Carbon soiled paper, liquid celluloid, oilskins and similarly oiled goods.
- Perishable articles except when addressed to destinations within the island or when enclosed in a hermitically sealed tin.
- Liquid unless packed as provided within specified postal regulations.
- Articles composed wholly or partly thereof raw celluloid roll film and cinematography films unless packed as provided within specified postal regulations.
- Articles consisting of or containing two or more postal articles (of the same or different inscriptions) addressed to two different persons who are at different addresses.
- Articles infringing trademark or copyright laws.
- Articles having anything written, printed or otherwise impressed across the postage stamp thereon before posting.
Apart from the prohibitions mentioned above, many countries abroad for various reasons impose restrictions on the importation of certain articles. Prohibitions and restrictions for other countries may be found here:
Parcels containing articles known to be prohibited from importation into the country of destination are not forwarded but are returned to the senders; parcels declared to contain articles of which importation is permitted only under certain conditions will generally speaking be accepted and dispatched.
The onus of compliance with these conditions rests with the sender; and Jamaica Post and by extension the Post and Telecommunications Department accepts no responsibility for the return or seizure of any parcel through the failure of the sender or addressee to comply with the necessary formalities.
Montego Bay: 10 Harbour Circle (off Howard Cooke Blvd. between LOJ shopping Center and Pier 1)
I would like to once again urge everyone to use Jamaica Post, instead of one of the large international couriers. Why? Firstly, they give great service, which is cost effective, safe and efficient. Secondly, in order to build Jamaica we need to use, publicise and generate customers to buy into all that is great in Jamaica, whether that be Jamaican companies, products, industries, individuals, brands or initiatives.
Jamaica Post has its ‘purpose’ written on their website which I believe sums it all up perfectly….
Our purpose is to provide every household and business in Jamaica with the ability to communicate and conduct business with each other and the world efficiently, effectively and economically.
SUPPORT JAMAICA BUY JAMAICAN!