Post offices urges citizens to send parcels overseas now

With the festive season fever looming large on the horizon, the South African Post Office is urging people who intend to send overseas parcels to immediately consider their options.

Spokesperson, Martie Gilchrist says particularly those who use sea and surface mail to send their Christmas gifts are affected. She is calling on them to act soon. “This will ensure that the parcels reach their destinations in time for Christmas,” she says.

Gilchrist says the country has a very little delay with items leaving its shores. However, such parcels have to go through time-consuming clearance procedures in the country of destination. “Airmail items should be posted no later than 1 December,” she says.

For sea and surface mail, no later than the following dates:

. The islands of Tristan da Cunha, Ascension and St Helena – no later than Thursday 31 October.

.Australia, Great Britain, Europe, the Americas (North and South), the Far East and Asia – no later than Thursday 31 October.

. Items meant for countries bordering South Africa (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Swaziland) no later than Sunday 8 December.

. Only airmail is available to all other countries in Africa and these items must be posted no later than 1 December.

It is too late to send parcels to the Seychelles, Comoros, Mauritius and Reunion (Indian Ocean). The deadline was Sunday 27 October.

How to make sure your parcel arrives safely:

. Parcels must be packaged securely, as they are transported in bulk.

. If your mail item does not fill the container, fill it with packaging material like shredded paper or polystyrene to act as a shock absorber.

. Make sure the items you are sending are legal in the country of destination. In most countries, plant and animal material cannot be imported.

. Ask the sender to include your cellphone number with your address. That makes it possible to SMS you when your parcel is ready for collection.

The following items may not be posted:

. Items containing ion lithium batteries, liquids, lotions or creams may not be transported using air mail.

. Illegal items such as drugs.

. Items that could leak and damage other packages.

. Items that may explode or catch fire during air transport, such as aerosols or flammable liquids.

. Any live animals or animal products.

Gilchrist says all airmail items are x-rayed and scanned to make sure the content is legal and safe. “Parcels containing items that are not allowed are rejected by the airlines that transport the mail and returned to the post office.”

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