15 Interesting Facts
Singapore Post Limited is known for delivering mail and packages throughout Singapore, but did you know the quickest postmen in the world are probably in Singapore (Straits Times Report of 15 December 2008)?
Here are 15 interesting facts that you might not have known about Singapore's postal services!
- First postmark recorded in 1829. It was in black, rectangular and with bevelled corners.
- First mail steamer, the Lady Mary Wood arrived in Singapore from London on 4 August 1845, bringing mail for the Straits Settlements and China.
- Postage stamps used for the first time in 1855. These were Indian stamps inscribed in the denomination of Indian currency and overprinted with diamond dots to indicate that they were sold in Singapore. However, for the first nine years, stamps were not sold at the Post Office but by a clerk in the Resident Councillor's Office.
- First airmail was despatched from Singapore on 5 October 1928. It was sent by sea to Marseilles and thence to London by air.
- First mobile post office operating in an international airport, Post-on-Wheels (or PoWee) commenced operations in 2009.
- Premiered the first-in-the-world beaded stamp in 2008, which embodies the richness of the Peranakan culture.
- All the 800-odd posting boxes in Singapore are equipped with the electronic system to enhance mail security since 2009.
- First-of-its-kind delivery service in an Asian airport, Speedpost@Changi gives passengers option to post back hand-carried items disallowed on board flights in January 2010.
- In the past 15 years, the cost of a local postage stamp increased by 4 cents - 10 times lower than the increase of feeder bus fare. Part of the increase was to cover the Goods and Services Tax introduced in 1994.
- Over 8,500 non-mail items such as wallets, passports, driving licences etc were found in our posting boxes in 2010, and were returned to the relevant organisations where possible.
- The oldest post office Singapore today is Geylang (opened in 1930).
- The most isolated posting box is located on Pulau Ubin which is 2 km north east of Singapore.
- Every day, SingPost handles over 2.8 million mail items, and more than 85% are automatically sorted to postmen's delivery sequence.
- Each postman covers an average of 20 km daily. In total, our postmen cover about 10,400 km in a single day, and in less than four days, they would have gone round the globe once.
- More than 200 services and products are offered at the post offices, SAM and vPOST.
Keen to know more about how your mail gets delivered? Read on ...
Singapore Post Limited (SingPost) envisions to be a regional leader in e-commerce logistics and trusted communications.
For over 150 years, SingPost has been delivering a trusted and reliable service to citizens, residents, corporations and businesses in Singapore. The trust we earned from generations of customers, coupled with our ability to push the envelope, has enabled us to offer more choices and greater convenience to our customers.
As part of our transformation over the past few years, SingPost has been steadily expanding beyond Singapore. Leveraging off the regional platforms in Quantium Solutions and DataPost, we will continue to extend our core competencies, and tap the overseas markets. We have been strengthening our regional logistics network with investments in companies like ITL, GDEX and Efficient E-Solutions and are positioned to tap the logistics needs of the growing regional markets. Our partnership with Postea Inc, a US-incorporated technology company specialising in technology solutions for the postal and logistics industries will help accelerate our momentum in delivering innovative solutions. Our online shopping platforms, vPOST and Clout Shoppe, will accelerate our expansion in the e-commerce business.
Even as SingPost transforms to stay relevant, our long-standing commitment to customers remain strong – to deliver an affordable and high quality service.
How your mail gets delivered
The Singapore Post Centre (SPC) processes over 2.8 million local and overseas items everyday. This amounts to over 788.8 million items a year!
|Our customers now expect and enjoy high standards of next-day mail delivery. Mail items posted before 7.00pm (Mon-Thu) or 8.00 pm (Fri) within the Central Business District and before 5.00pm (Mon-Thu) and 6.00pm (Fri) outside the Central Business District will be delivered the next working day. The centre is therefore at its busiest in the late night and wee hours of the morning when Singapore Post's machines and postal workers beat the clock to make sure they get the mail ready for despatch by 6.00am the next day.|
|A mail item collected from postboxes is first passed through the Culler-Facer-Canceller (CFC) where bulky items or items that are too large or too small are separated. The postage stamp is 'cancelled', meaning that a postmark including the date of processing is printed on the stamp. The back of the mail item is then marked with a barcode called an ID tag, which allocates an identification number to the particular mail piece. The image of the mail piece is then sent to an off-line Optical Character Reader (OCR) so that the system is able to read the address and store it for sorting later. It is then collected and placed in a mail-tray and conveyed to the Barcode Sorting (BCS) machine.|
|The BCS machine then processes the item which is 'fed' to it by reading the ID tag and matching it to the address recorded by the system earlier. The BCS then prints another barcode, called the destination barcode on the front bottom-right-hand section of the envelope. This code represents the 6-digit postal code of the address the mail item is addressed to. Mail from the BCS is collected and passed for further sorting by the Delivery Barcode Sorting (DBCS) machine.|
|Meanwhile, the OCR machine is also busy reading addresses on mail items that are franked or prepaid and do not require postage stamps. The OCR processes 30,000 mail items per hour. These are usually mail items generated by corporations and business organisations. A photographic image of the address on the envelope is captured by the OCR machine which is then 'read' by the system. If the system is unable to 'read' the address and postal code, the image is sent to the video-screen of a human 'video-coder' who will manually enter the postal code into the system. A destination barcode is finally printed on the front of the envelope after which the mail item is sent to the DBCS machine for 'sequence-sorting'.|
|The DBCS machine sorts mail into the delivery sequence of each and every postman in Singapore. It does this at 35,000 items per hour. This simply means that the DBCS machine sorts barcoded mail from the BCS and OCR into an order that exactly matches the route the postman uses to deliver mail to addresses.|
|By doing this, postmen save time on sorting the mail before going out on delivery and have more time to deliver the mail. They are also able to go out on delivery an average of one and a half to two hours earlier.|
Awards and Accolades
A trusted household name in Singapore, SingPost enjoys strong brand recognition and the trust of generations of residents.
In Singapore, SingPost achieved top score in the courier and postal services sub-sector in the national Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore 2010 for second consecutive year.
Internationally, SingPost has earned the honour of being the only company to have won the EMS Cooperative Certification Gold Level Award by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) for our Speedpost Worldwide Service for 10 consecutive years since 2001.
We also achieved global recognition in the World Mail Award (Quality Category) in 2007 for our long-time initiatives that have significantly advanced our mail quality including the use of modern automation technologies to improve productivity and the implementation of the 6-digit postal code.
We are gratified by local and international recognition which serves to spur us further.
List of Awards
Brief History of Singapore Post
Singapore Post has a heritage dating back to the founding of Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819. In those days, a single mail office collected and delivered the small volume of letters. It was located in the previous Parliament House and run by just three persons.
As trade flourished, both postal and marine traffic grew. The "Post Office", as it was known, became a separate department from the Marine Office in October 1858.
From 1949, under a Malayan Postal Union Agreement, the Singapore Postal Department was linked with the Postal Department of the Federation of Malaya. A colonial postal system was imposed which standardised rules, regulations, procedures and postage rates in both territories. The operation of international postal agreements, introduction of new services or modification of existing services was centrally administered by the Postmaster General of Malaya from the joint administrative headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. However, the government of that territory retained revenue collected in each territory.
Following independence on 9 August 1965, Singapore took over its own postal functions in stages and was admitted to the Universal Postal Union (UPU) on 8 January 1966. The Singapore Postal Services Department became a fully autonomous body on 1 January 1967.
In 1982, the Postal Services Department merged with the then Telecommunication Authority of Singapore, known as Telecoms. With the merger, the Assistant General Manager (Postal Services) was responsible for the development and administration of all postal facilities in Singapore. In 1992, the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore was split into three entities: the reconstituted Telecommunication Authority of Singapore (TAS, now part of the Info-communications Development Authority), Singapore Telecommunications Private Limited (now Singapore Telecommunications Limited) and Singapore Post Private Limited, a subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications. Singapore Post Limited was listed on the mainboard of the Singapore Exchange (SGX-ST) on 13 May 2003.
Singapore Post is the first Public Postal Licensee. TAS granted the licence in 1992 in accordance with section 42 of the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore Act 1992. As a licensee, Singapore Post is empowered to operate postal services with the exclusive privilege of receiving, collecting and delivering letters and postcards from one place to another until 31 March 2007.
|Changes in the Mail|
|Fullerton Building, the 'Grand Old Dame', was the site of the General Post Office (GPO) and was built between 1925 and 1928. An earlier GPO was demolished to make way for this building. The novelist, Joseph Conrad, described this earlier post office as 'the most important post office in the East'.|
|On 4 December 1971, the Mail and Registration Branch from General Post Office moved to rented premises at a Port of Singapore Authority warehouse at Nelson Road. This was used as a temporary handling centre pending the completion and the establishment of a permanent postal complex in a new location. On 1 February 1974, a Facer-Canceller Table capable of processing up to 30,000 letter mail items per hour was put into operation.|
|In November 1983, the Mails and Parcels Centre moved from Nelson Road to bigger premises at Chai Chee Complex. At Chai Chee, staff experienced the coming of first generation Optical Character Reader technology. With this technology, about 40% of the mail was processed mechanically, with the remaining 60% needing to be processed manually by staff.|
|In September 1998, the mail-sorting operations at Chai Chee moved to the Singapore Post Centre located along Eunos Road 8, which was purpose-built for mail processing and houses state-of-the-art mail-sorting technology.|