Jamaica Postal Code System
The History & Current State

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The Jamaica Postal Code System
by Deon Clarke

The internet and technological advances has heralded a renewed call for an efficient Jamaica postal code system. But where are we now, what is the current state?

Sad to say we are not much further than we were 40 years ago.

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It’s funny how time has changed dramatically! I bet if you are over 30 years old, you will remember the days when you wrote letters to loved ones and friends and constantly checked at the post office, anticipating the return, right?

Those days have basically become obsolete. In today’s world, phone calls, emails and social media are the order of the day.

Did Technology Render Mailing Obsolete?

However, despite technological advances, you will find that mailing is still very much in high demand! Maybe not for personal letters anymore, but certainly logistics is on the rise.

Online shopping and shipping locally and internationally has become common place for many Jamaicans hence the increasing request for a Jamaica postal code, but...

Sorry, No Postal Code in Jamaica :-(

Say you are placing an order online and you are asked to enter your zip code or postal code, what do you do? I personally enter “00000”.  Why?  Jamaica does not have postal codes.  That’s right. There is no postal code system in Jamaica presently.

There was an attempt however to introduce this system several years ago.  We will look at this proposal in more detail.

The Abandoned Postal Code System

The plan to introduce the postal code system was initially announced on June 6, 2005.  It’s purpose – to aid the international partners of the Postal Corporation of Jamaica such as the United States, United Kingdom and Canada to be better able to sort letters that were intended for Jamaica.  You would find that at times, these letters would ended up in Jamaica in Long Island in the U. S. or even in Japan!

Plans were aborted to introduce the system in Kingston in July 2005 as many persons found the it difficult to understand. Despite reports in the Sunday Observer newspaper on April 2, 2006 that the system would have been ready by the end of the year, those plans did not materialize.

Finally, on February 12, 2007, the announcement was made that the project was suspended indefinitely!

Proposed Structure of the System

Under this system, you would see Jamaica being divided into four zones: A, B, C, D.   These zones would have certain parishes within them. This letter would have been used as the third letter after “JM” for Jamaica. This would have been followed by a two-letter abbreviation for the parish, followed by a 2-digit code. For example: JMCAN19 – Ocho Rios. Please see the below list with details:

  • Zone A includes the parishes of Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine
  • Zone B includes the parishes of St. Mary, Portland and St. Thomas
  • Zone C includes the parishes of St. Ann, Trelawny, St. James and Hanover
  • Zone D includes the parishes of Westmoreland, St. Elizabeth, Manchester and Clarendon

You will see that the parish code is actually the first and last letter of each parish. The "St" would also be dropped from relevant parishes.

The 2-digit Post Office Code would identify the post office in alphabetical order by parish:

An example of this is the Allman Town Post Office in the Parish of Kingston.

It is the first Post Office in an alphabetical list of the Post Offices in the Parish of Kingston, as a result, it would be assigned 01 for its Post Office Code.

jamaica_postal_codes_imageJamaica Postal Codes Listing

What's The Alternative?

So the next time you go shopping online or you are sending a package, no need to worry about postal codes for Jamaica - yes, you can always use the one designated above, or should I say to be designated, it doesn't hurt, or simply, do what I do....

... just enter some 4 or 5 zeros in the interim. :-)

I hope this helped.

You might like these as well

References:

  • "New postal code system before year end", http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/New-postal-code-system-before-year-end
  • "Postal codes in Jamaica", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postal_codes_in_Jamaica (link)
  • "The Jamaica Postal Code System", Source: https://samblob.livejournal.com/10997.html

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