Express Mail — DHL and FedEx

Curious about express mail options?  Yes, we do have DHL and FedEx here in Dakar, and the mailroom can assist you with sending out international express mail shipments–official or personal.  Please understand it will take a bit longer than express mail services in the States, but is still a good option if you need to get something there fast and are willing to pay for it.

What address do I use to receive an Express Mail shipment?  Use the address for the physical embassy. Your package will come to the gate, be screened by the mailroom, who will then let you know it is here.

Please — do NOT EVER write SENEGAL on a package coming via DPO or Pouch.  It may inadvertently end up in the international mail stream (DPO and Pouch are not actually international mail).  Once lost in the international mail stream, there is nothing we can really do to locate your package (although we do inquire on your behalf at the official post office downtown).

The mailroom is here to help — let us know how we can help you!

Getting ready for Amazon Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day is rapidly approaching (7/16!) and I know it is eagerly anticipated by many in the community.  In your excitement, however, please remember that all the normal rules apply!

  • You should be shipping personal mail to DPO (09808) and not Pouch (20189)
  • Electronics are often on sale — remember lithium batteries may be an issue (see the FAQ page for more information)
  • Max dimensions — 108″ and 70 lbs (again — see FAQ for how to measure)
  • No pop-top cans
  • Please consider your friends and colleagues when shipping liquids
  • Perfumes/body sprays/hairspray are all hazmat and not ship-able
  • It’s getting hotter by the day – please remember the heat when ordering chocolate, candles, etc.

Enjoy prime day – and let us know if you have any questions.  DakarMailroom@…..

Away from Post for a bit?

Hooray for Summer!  Many of us are going to be away from post for a bit — on home leave, R&R, or TDY somewhere.  Please do not let your mail pile up in the mailroom! The package room gets VERY hot in the summer — your packages will survive your absence much better elsewhere.  We are not set up for long term storage.  D

What should you do if you’re going to be away for a couple weeks or more?  Designate someone to pick up your mail!  It’s easy – the mailroom has a form for you to fill out. But if you forget, and are already away – just send an email to DakarMailroom@…  so we have your instructions in writing and we’ll go from there.

Enjoy your hard-earned vacation, travel safe, and we’ll see you when you get back.

 

Too Many Mis-sent Shipments!

Good morning! I know many of us have been impacted by the uptick in mis-sent shipments lately. Thank you to all of you who have been sending me tracking numbers so I could send hard data to USPS management and raise awareness.  The issue is impacting both DPO and military mail around the globe, and has reached the VP level of USPS for resolution.  So hang in there!  We should see improvements soon, although it will take several weeks for the lost packages roaming the world to find their rightful homes.    Thank you for your patience!

Avoiding Bulk Shipping Costs

Several people incurred bulk shipping fees recently — read on to be sure you know what a bulk shipment is and how to avoid it!

So what is a bulk shipment?  A pouch shipment that equals or exceeds 6 cubic feet (meets or exceeds 5 single-copy paper boxes) and is destined to the same addressee/household;

NOTE:  To determine the volume of a box in cubic feet, multiply the width times the length times the depth (all in inches) and divide the sum by 1728.  For example, a box that measures 24” x 24” x 18” has a volume of 6 cubic feet;

So — if you are leaving here, and your onward assignment is a pouch-only post — if you send a few large boxes, or several smaller boxes that arrive at the pouch facility at the same time – you could incur fees for a bulk shipment.  The same if you are currently at a pouch-only post and trying to send stuff here – even to the DPO address. Be careful!  Spread out your shipments and only send a couple boxes at a time.  Fees for bulk shipments start at $150 and go up from there depending on the size/weight.  Your shipment will be held at the despatch agency pending credit card payment and their ability to locate you via email.
**New arrivals — new arrivals often send pet food and supplies ahead to ensure their pets have what they need the moment they land (good job Fur-parents!).   Be sure to send to zip 09808, and if your vendor won’t ship to DPO, consider using a remailer (search above, top right, to learn more).
If you have questions, reach out to us at DakarMailroom @state.gov

Marshmallows – Yes! Sparklers– NO!

4th of July is almost here and many of us have annual traditions — or maybe we just want our first overseas 4th to be the best EVAH!  You’ve got your Amazon shopping cart full of holiday goodies — but before you click BUY NOW, please think about it!

  • Marshmallows — sure, no problem. Might arrive stuck together, but edible.
  • Chocolate – yep – thankfully still pretty cool, so that should be ok, too.
  • Graham Crackers — Hey, you’re making S’Mores!!   — might be crumbles. Don’t put anything else heavy in that order to increase your odds of success.
  • Glow Sticks — go for it! Glow it up.

Firecrackers or Sparklers — NO!  These are flammable and hazardous- don’t even think about it.

Hot Dogs — uh, no.  No perishable meats, please.  But hot dog fixin’s — sure, no problem. Opt for squeeze bottles instead of glass jars, please.

Beer or beer making supplies — please remember that alcohol and supplies for making alcohol are prohibited in both pouch and DPO.  (Remember – you should be shipping to DPO – Zip 09808 for all personal mail, whenever possible!)

Have a fantastic (and safe!) 4th of July celebration. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Missing a battery pack?

Good afternoon! Sometimes packages get crushed and the sides blow out allowing items to fall out of the boxes.  Well-intentioned folks handling your mail along the way try to put loose stuff falling out back into boxes — sometimes they get it wrong and you end up with something in your box that you did not order.  It most likely was intended for one of your colleagues, so it’s great when we all look out for each other and bring those stray items back in so they can go to the correct person.

This week — it’s a Reiko external battery pack for mobile devices with built-in LED flashlight. If this is yours (and good on ya’ for planning ahead and being prepared!!), please claim it in the mailroom and thank your friends and neighbors for being honest and caring people.

Stamps — plan ahead!

Good morning!  Tax season is upon us — do you need stamps?  With the fate of the commissary and IDEA a bit uncertain, if you need stamps, I would suggest purchasing them now.  Remember, the mail room can not sell postage.  You can also order stamps from USPS.com or purchase postage online from Stamps.com (*not an endorsement).  When friends, family or incoming TDYers ask  “What do you need?, What can I bring?”   ask for stamps!  Be sure you have a postage plan!

Heat is coming – Order Meltables Now!

I know it’s still nice out there — cool and breezy. Maybe you’re still wearing a light sweater… but trust me, the heat is coming!   We often forget, from our air-conditioned offices and homes, surfing Amazon, that the mail does not enjoy the same controlled temperatures.

Your packages are exposed to ambient temperatures from the time they leave the vendor’s warehouse to plane-side in Chicago. Once on-board, they get really hot for a bit waiting for takeoff, then they freeze and expand once the plane reaches altitude (you don’t, in the pressurized cabin above, but your mail does). When your packages arrive at the airport in Dakar, they go into small storage units — exposed to the full heat and humidity that a Dakar summer brings.  From there onto a truck for hours, and then, after arriving at the embassy, the packages take up residence in the PBX, which is also not air-conditioned.

So — order meltables now!  Candles (birthday candles!), chocolate, makeup, lipstick, frosting, face paints, etc. You know what you order that might melt.  Order that stuff now and avoid frustration later.   Face Paint??#@!  Yes — it will still be blazes hot for Halloween. Order metables you may need for the next 7-8 months, thinking about holidays and personal celebrations.

Please remember — no pop-top cans, no aerosols, no flammables — all the usual rules apply.   And we’re here if you have questions or need assistance.

Laundry Detergent Ruined Full Bag Load

A mail sack arrived this week containing a bottle of laundry detergent that burst.  All the packages in the bag were damaged and most items ruined.  The boxes disintegrated and everything ended up in the bottom of the mail bag – co-mingled and not pretty.  Most of the boxes in the bag can not be associated to people – so we don’t know what goes where.   **fun fact — laundry detergent erases shipping label print.

Are you expecting a shipment that hasn’t arrived? And when you track it on USPS.com – it says it was delivered to Dakar — well, then your box might be one of the casualties.  There was a box of Keurig KCups (Krispy Kreme flavored?), some ladies clothes, a halloween plastic cauldron, and other items, too.

So, if you think you are missing a package, the next time you are in the PBX , ask the clerks if you can look through the bag to retrieve your items.  Again, I apologize for the damage; you can file claims with USPS or work with the shipper/vendor.

And please, encourage your friends, neighbors, and colleagues to NOT ship liquid laundry detergent.  We have many “casualties” each year.  Please be considerate of others.  Consider pods, powder, or other shipping options like consumables, if applicable.

No Business Ventures, Please

Many members of our community currently work from home or are exploring self-employment options and ventures.  Please keep in mind that per 14 FAM 742.4-3, you may not use pouch or DPO to ship or mail items for resale or personal business use.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  Kelly Richardson  RichardsonKC @ State. gov (no spaces)

We’re Back to Normal

In case you hadn’t heard — we’re back to normal! Inbound and Outbound for both DPO and Pouch are flowing normally, and the backlog of incoming stuff has finally been depleted. It’s all now coming in “as it comes”.

So, what is “normal”?   DPO Outbound when we get 100kg, or about every two weeks or so. Keep watching the sidebar for info.  Pouch outbound (letters, flats) every Friday.   If you drop off letter mail to go out, it goes “next available”. So, if you drop it off on Monday, and there’s not outbound DPO that week, it’ll go out on Friday with the usual outbound Pouch.  But, if we had outbound DPO that week, it would have gone with that.  Personal packages will only go out DPO.

Normal inbound –The new airport has still not completed cargo village, so some processes take a bit longer while they make do with temporary accommodations- combined with a much longer drive to get the mail from the airport to the embassy. So even though the mail is arriving at the airport on the same schedule, it is getting to us later. Know that we move it as quickly as we can once we get it. And, we continue to go to the airport once a week to move things along and keep the mail flowing.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns, or if there’s anything we can do to help!  DakarMailroom @ state.gov, or RichardsonKC @ state.gov (no spaces)