Postcodes for all of the Cayman Islands were announced at a press conference yesterday to launch a one-year educational campaign.
The changing of the name of the Post Office to the Cayman Islands Postal Service was also announced.
The seven-digit postcodes will allow for more efficient and better service for Cayman’s postal customers, Minister of Infrastructure Arden McLean said.
‘This is a historic moment in this country,’ he said. ‘I’m just glad it happened on my watch.
Mr. McLean said the new postal codes would have benefits for Cayman.
‘This is very exciting for this country,’ he said. ‘Many countries in the world still do not have postal codes.’
Mr. McLean said the postal codes would not only allow the Cayman Islands to maintain its presence in the global village, but they would also ensure proper delivery of mail.
‘I know [using postcodes] is going to be a little difficult for people… but I would encourage people to embrace the postal codes,’ he said.
Postmaster General Sheena Glasgow explained that the term postcode was chosen over the term Zip Code, which is used in the United States, from where most of the mail arriving here comes.
‘[Cayman’s postcode] doesn’t look the American Zip Code, and I specifically wanted to stay away from calling it a Zip Code,’ she said.
Cayman’s postcodes will all be seven characters. The first three characters will identify the country and the island.
The letters KY, which is also Cayman’s Internet domain name, will start all postcodes here. KY1 will identify Grand Cayman, KY2 will identify Cayman Brac and KY3 will identify Little Cayman.
The first three characters will be followed by a hyphen and then four numbers. The first two of those numbers identifies the post office and the last two numbers identifies a section of post boxes at that post office.
The postcodes relate to sequential ranges of post boxes at all post offices except the General Post Office in George Town because boxes there follow a zigzag design instead of running sequentially.
Mrs. Glasgow said the new postcodes will help with the delivery of mail both from overseas and locally.
She explained that postal addresses are read from the bottom during sorting.
‘Now [Postal Service employees] have to read one less line,’ she said. ‘There’s less information to process with postcodes.’
The postcodes will also allow mail to be partially sorted at the Airport Post Office facility prior to shipment to other post offices.
‘It going to revolutionise the efficiency of the mail,’ Ms Glasgow said.
Deputy Postmaster General in charge of operations Anthony Williams some of the sorting frames at the Airport Post Office would have to be changed, but said the new postcodes will make things much easier for Postal Service employees.
An inherent part of the implementation of the postcodes is improving the postal addressing standards.
Accordingly, the suffixes that were used in the past to identify the post office (SMB, GT, NS, etc.) will be dropped because they are redundant.
The postcode is to be placed on the same line as the name of the island and separated by two spaces.
The name Cayman Islands is to be placed on the bottom line and written in all capital letters.
‘And there should be no B.W.I.,’ said Ms Glasgow. ‘We stopped that years ago, although some people still use it.’
Postal customers who use General Delivery or a Postal Agency will also use the new postcodes, as will people sending mail through the Postal Services EMS Delivery service.
Ms Glasgow said she did not foresee the new postcodes speeding up the delivery of regular locally sent mail.
‘What I’d like to see is the establishment of Priority Mail, which would be same day delivery, and of course, there would be a higher cost for that,’ she said.
Like Mr. McLean, Ms Glasgow appealed for postal customers to use the new postcodes.
‘The sooner they do it, the sooner the benefits can be realised,’ she said, adding that, realistically, the Postal Service has estimated that it will take between 18 months and two years to get the majority of the public to use the postcodes.
Ms Glasgow also explained the change of name to the Cayman Islands Postal Services form the Cayman Islands Post Office.
‘There has been a regional and international trend of post offices that are still government owned, of changing the name to Postal Services,’ Mrs. Glasgow said, adding that government postal services often have many post offices under their control.