Monday, October 30, 2006

New Postal Codes to be Launched Today in BVI

The new postal code system is expected to be implemented today in the British Virgin Islands, during the ceremony which will begin at 4.45 pm.

Benefits of new postal code system including more efficient mail service were already discussed in September when BVI Government has announced on the adoption of the postal code system in the BVI. The three main benefits of implementing postal codes were also stressed during a press briefing at the chief minister's office by Postmaster General Kevin Smith. These are commercial recognition for online shopping, more efficient way of sorting and processing local mail and international recognition.

The local postal service worked along with the United States postal service to change the way mail has traditionally been transported to the BVI. Smith stated that in the past a dispatch would take from 15 to 45 days depending on the season or the route, while now the dispatches are coming to the BVI from the two transit points in New York and Miami within 3 or 4 business days.

Smith has pointed at the main difference between the old and newly implemented postal systems: traditionally every branch and sub-post office in the BVI was responsible for sorting its own mail, but now, with the introduction of the new code, there will be a hub where all mail will be processed, and the branches will focus on retail services.

The postal code structure is based on the fact that the codes which are to be revealed today will be physically linked to a post office or one's postal address. Also, by words of Smith, each island including Anegada, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke will have different code, and the major island Tortola will have three zones – East, Central and West – each having different postal code. There is also enough place allowed within the numerical system of the code for expanding with the growth of the postal infrastructure and network.

Thorough public education campaign has been planned in an effort to get the public to utilize the codes as quickly as possible. It is, however, anticipated that only 10% of the population would start using the codes in the first year and a half.

Smith also informed the publics about his intention to bring the best service in the region, and in that connection to open an Express Mail service in 2007. For this, the BVI post office is working with a US based private company to develop a data base that would feature to some degree GPS mapping and provide house delivery service.

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