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Staff at the Airport Post Office and Mail Processing Centre sorts the recently discovered letters and packages so that they can reach their intended destinations without further delay.

Published 1st May 2007, 3:49pm

A large quantity of mail intended for the Cayman Islands Postal Service dating back over two years was recently discovered at a Thompson Line (a Division of Tropical Shipping) warehouse in Miami.

The surface mail dated between 2004 and 2005 is all from the United Kingdom and Europe. The mail was discovered Friday 20 April when Thompson Shipping personnel were cleaning out the warehouse. Most of the mail arrived in Cayman on the following Thursday; two more boxes are to come this Thursday. CIPS staff has been busy sorting the mail so that it can get to its intended destinations without further delay.

Postmaster General Sheena Glasgow said, "At first it was thought that this mail had something to do with hurricane Ivan. However, our investigation has since determined that the problem lay with the mechanics of the surface mail payment system."

She explained that the Universal Postal Union's Letter Post Regulations spell out that the administration of origin must pay all costs incurred. This includes port charges, handling charges at the terminal or on the docks, offloading charges, and other similar charges associated with the transportation of surface mail.

A Thompson Line spokesperson issued a statement stating that "HM Postal Service (Royal Mail) in the UK contracted with a freight forwarder in Miami, Florida to forward this mail to the Cayman Islands. Due to nonpayment of freight charges to Thompson Line by the freight forwarding company mail could not be shipped from Miami, Florida to Grand Cayman. Since that time Thompson Line has been unable to contact the freight forwarding company to determine disposition of the cargo because there is no longer an active listing in any of the local directories."

"We could have done a better job in notifying the Cayman Islands Postal Service of the situation and the delay in shipping the cargo. This could have resulted in expediting this foreign mail earlier than this past week. We apologize for not taking a more proactive position in resolving this issue," the statement said.

Ms. Glasgow assures the public there was no malfeasance involved. "We are extremely sorry that this has happened and apologise to customers for any inconvenience, but the situation was beyond our control.

The Postmaster General noted that all airmail bags are tracked but this is not the case for surface mail. "One positive aspect of this situation is that it has highlighted an opportunity for us to track surface mail where postal administrations use dispatch numbers. Dispatch numbers allow us to quickly identify if a dispatch goes missing and we have now begun to track surface mail dispatches where possible."