If it won’t ship DPO, can I send it Pouch?

Please know that you should be using DPO (zip 09808) for all personal mail, to the fullest extent possible. However, what if a vendor won’t ship to DPO–can I send it via Pouch (20189)?

First, ask yourself why the vendor is rejecting it?  Remember — things are coming by air to Dakar.  Aerosols, pressurized items, flammables, etc. can not ship via air.  (spray deodorant, bug spray, cooking sprays, WD-40, perfume, etc.)  DPO, or 09808 shows as an”air shipment” to the retailers so they won’t ship those items, but 20189, to a retailer, shows as ground. But know that your shipment will still be rejected at the pouch facility and never make it here.  And now it has to be returned and credited, etc.  Avoid all that hassle!

Agricultural items can not be exported out of the U.S. — again, a retailer will know that when you try to use 09808, but will send it to 20189 (thinking that’s a US address) only to have it rejected at the pouch facility.  So, please, no potting soil, seeds, fertilizer, etc.  Or anything else banned from export out of the US or import into Senegal.

Some vendors just won’t ship to DPO -they don’t use USPS.  You can use 20189–but remember, Pouch restrictions will apply:  liquids must be less than 16 ounces PER BOX (not per item). No lithium batteries, no oversize items, etc.

Just remember, use DPO as much as you can. Think carefully before using Pouch (20189) — is it hazardous? is it restricted? is it liquid?  is it big?  Some things are better being sent in a consummables or sea shipment, and sometimes you’ll need to just find another vendor or use a remailer service like APOBox.com or ShipItAPO.

The mailroom is here to help. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

 

 

Avoiding Bulk Shipping Costs

Arriving soon and sending boxes ahead?  Departing post and wanting to mail stuff onward?  Be sure to know about and avoid penalties for bulk shipping!

First, know that Pouch (zip 20189) and DPO (09808) are two completely different mail streams:  Pouch is handled by the Department of State and is primarily for official mail, and posts that do not have DPO.  DPO is really part of USPS (US Postal Service).

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

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.
If you have questions, reach out to us at DakarMailroom @state.gov

 

 

Away from Post? Designate someone!

Will you be away from post this summer?  If you plan to be gone for more than a few weeks, please designate someone to pick up your mail for you.  Please use the attached form (also available at the mailroom). If you are already gone, or need to do this on short notice, we will accept an email authorizing us to give your mail to a designated party.  However, please use the form whenever possible!

Standing Delivery Order-Authorization mail Pick up -ps3801

Not here yet – coming later this summer?  Just email us at DakarMailroom@ state.gov to let us know who can retreive your mail for  you–your social sponsor? work sponsor?  I know they’ll be  happy to help!

Packages flood the mailroom during  the summer PCS season, and we can not store it all without drowning.  Also, the package room isn’t air conditioned; your packages will be happier in someone’s home or office until you arrive at post or return from vacation. We appreciate your help.

 

 

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

Departing Post? Go to USPS.com

Are you departing post this summer?  Be sure to go to USPS.com and click the link to forward your mail.  By letting USPS know of your new address, your mail can be redirected while it is still in the States, saving all the time it would take to be delivered here and then forwarded on to you.  The forwarding address you leave with us here only helps us get mail to you after its come all the way to Dakar.

No need to wait — you can set the start date for the forwarding – go to USPS.com now and get one thing off your PCS Check list!

Outbound DPO has been Restored!

Great news everyone, outbound DPO has been restored!!  We will now be using Emirates Airlines as our carrier, which has a good track record with mail.  However, to avoid financial penalties we must have a minimum outbound shipment of 100kg.  To reach this minimum weight, outbound shipments will now be every two weeks, on Tuesdays.  The first shipment will go out tomorrow. 

To keep up with the latest news on our DPO be sure to follow this blog! Thank you for your patience and cooperation while we worked to restore our outbound DPO services.

 

It’s Getting Hotter… and Hotter…

Just a little reminder — summer is coming.   If you regularly ship in items that can melt or otherwise not do well in the heat (think anything chocolate, canned pet food, candles)– you may want to consider shipping now.  When mail cargo is offloaded, it doesn’t come straight to the embassy – it has to be released by authorities at the airport, and that can take a little time.  The mail is held in a secure facility until delivery, however it is not air conditioned — but then, neither is the mail package room here on compound!  So, your packages can get a little warm, especially over the summer.  Plan ahead, and ship now!

As always, if you have questions, please contact Richardsonkc@ state.gov. x4202  We’re here to help!

 

Second/Final Notice ? 10 Days ?

Some of you may have returned from lunch to find an email telling you it was your second and final notice to pick up a mail item; if you failed to do so, the item would be returned to the sender after 10 days.  Please do not be alarmed – we aren’t going to be sending anyone’s mail back.  

These emails are a new feature that Washington turned on today in the mail delivery/tracking software; we do not have any control over the emails going out. We cannot change the wording or the timing of them, or even turn them off—it’s all driven by Washington.  And Washington does not understand that people may be on R&R, medevac, on their way to post, on regional travel, or otherwise legitimately not picking up their mail. There also seems to be a glitch in that some people are receiving these emails in error – they do not have any items pending in the mailroom at all.   

Thank you all for being conscientious about picking up your mail on a regular basis.  And my apologies if you’ve received one of these emails before we were able to get the word out.  If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know, and be sure to sign up for the Mail Call Blog! 

 

 

Use DPO to Avoid Issues with New Amazon Packaging

On January 3rd, the Department released cable 17 State 160 advising us of an issue with Amazon that may result in bulk shipments. Recently, Amazon made a switch in the size and type of boxes it uses for some of its overseas product lines (e.g. Amazon Pantry). Unfortunately, the size and dimensions of the stronger boxes makes them oversize for pouch, which may result in delayed arrival, additional charges to the customer, and/or returned shipments.

Let me clarify – many use the word “Pouch” to mean “any mail for an overseas post”, and they do not differentiate between Pouch and DPO. Please understand, Pouch and DPO are two completely different mail systems—managed by different people, shipping from different parts of the country, and with different restrictions and shipping requirements. DPO is not the same as Pouch.

Please note – this advisory bulletin regarding oversize Amazon boxes applies to POUCH. Pouch is for official mail (your 20189 zip code). This advisory does not apply to DPO (your 09808 zip code). And, here in Dakar, everyone should be using DPO (09808) for personal mail – i.e. your Amazon orders. DPO is delivered several times per week, and has much more liberal size restrictions. This advisory applies to posts that are pouch-only, where they don’t have access to DPO.

To summarize, this issue with Amazon oversize boxes does not apply to us, because here in Dakar we are fortunate to have DPO and should be using DPO, zip 09808, for all our personal shipments.

Please visit the Mail Call Blog at https://mailcallblog.wordpress.com/ and click FOLLOW to stay up to date on all the mail room happenings. If you have questions or concerns, please check out the blog, email me at RichardsonKC@state.gov, or call me at x4202.

DPO Restrictions

Those of you who have been at Post long enough to remember the arrival of DPO services, or who have served at other Pouch-only Posts, will all agree that DPO is FANTASTIC!!  It is faster, larger items can be shipped, liquids (packaged appropriately) can be shipped, and some toys that resemble weapons can be shipped (enabling Marine vs. Kids Nerf gun wars).  However, there ARE restrictions:

  • Charitable Donations: You are not allowed to use Pouch or DPO to ship in goods for charitable donations.
  • Business Use:  IRM would like to remind its customers that under no circumstance can anyone use the DPO or Pouch for any kind of business, this includes shipping or mailing items for resale or personal business use. This also includes any item you intend to resell or items that are used to produce an item for resale. This resale prohibition applies whether the sale is to authorized DPO users or not, and regardless of the beneficiary of the proceeds, e.g., charitable organizations or schools.  Agricultural Products (plants, seeds, bulbs, fertilizer, etc.)
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Case Lots of Food or Bulk Shipments

These are just the highlights.  For a more complete listing of what is or is not allowed, please see 14 FAM 761.4.

Establishing a DPO in country is a negotiated agreement between the Government of Senegal and the USPS/Department of State.  Any violation of the agreed upon restrictions jeopardizes the entire operation of the DPO so please help us maintain our cooperation and vigilance in observing the regulations.

If you have questions or comments, I’m here to help.  Richardsonkc  @state.gov, or ext. 4202.

Toys with Batteries? Bicycles? iPads? Flat Screen TVs?! Help me, Santa!

It’s CyberMonday — and I KNOW you’re online shopping, which is great.  Remember, you want stuff headed this way by December 9th to get it on time.  Some tips from the mailroom (aka Santa’s workshop) to help you get your holiday goodies:

First, ALL personal mail should be sent to your DPO address — Unit 2130, Box XXX, DPO, AE 09808.  DPO mail arrives several times per week — it’ll get here as fast as Santa’s Reindeer can fly!   Do not send personal mail to the pouch address (ending in zip 20189).  Please update default ship-to addresses for your favorite online vendors.

What about toys and gadgets with lithium batteries?
Yes you can!  Examples of accepted shipments include, but are not limited to, (a) Apple iPad, iPod, or iPhone; (b) Nexus or comparable Android tablet or smart phone with installed battery; (c) Garmin or comparable GPS unit with installed battery; (d) MP3 players with installed batteries; or (e) laptops with installed battery pack of no more than 100 Watt-hours, e.g. most currently manufactured models including Alienware and MacBook Pro.  Make sure your vendor installs the battery before placing the order to prevent returns.

If you’re going to ship something with a lithium battery, it has to be in accordance with the United States Postal Service International Mail Manual http://pe.usps.com/text/imm/immc1_014.htm and Department protocols.   And remember,  the FAA has prohibited the shipping or transporting via air of any Samsung Galaxy Note 7 device.  (See 16 STATE 115434 for more information).

How big can something be?  Can I Ship in a Bicycle or Flat Screen TV?
The maximum size allowed is 108 inches — calculated by taking the longest length, and adding the girth.  Confirm with the vendor before purchasing to prevent returns!

Image of package dimensions

What if the only vendor who sells this Christmas’ BIG THING won’t ship to DPO?
BAH-HUMBUG!  But you do have options –is there a family member that you could ship it to, have them relabel it, and then ship it to your DPO address?  Or, consider a re-mailing service that does the same thing without having to owe your weird cousin a favor:  One example (but not an endorsement!)-would be APOBox.com.

Shipping Deadline for USPS priority mail to/from 09808:  December 9

Don’t forget the wrapping paper, bows, and scotch tape!

Please share this information, and your DPO mailing address, with your family and friends. If you have questions about mailing restrictions or anything mail-related, please email me at RichardsonKC@state.gov or call me at x4202.