What’s in a number? You may ask. Well, the Singapore postal codes – a 6–digit string of numeral is the backbone of efficient postal delivery by the Singapore Post.
For those of you wondering, Singapore postal codes started off life as humble 2 digits. Over the years, it has evolved to keep pace with the growing urban society, helping to enhance mail processing and delivery by the Singapore Post. Its development is in tandem with the growth and expansion of the city.
Evolution of the Singapore Postal Codes
Singapore postal codes were initially 2-digit codes that denoted the 28 postal districts, for eg. the East coast area (Katong, Marine Parade) had a postal code of 15. Even now, you will notice that this 2-digit code is still widely used in Singapore, in the classified Ads for property in the newspapers! So you know which sections to browse if you are interested in the East (ie Section 15).
As the country grew and more buildings were added, the city was further divided into 81 poster sectors and hence, the 4-digit postal code was adopted in 1979.The postal code number for the east coast, such as Marine Parade then became 1544 instead of 15. I could vaguely recall the 4-digit postal codes while growing up.
The 4-digit postal code was formed by retaining the 2 digits of the postal districts, and the remaining 2 digits are made up of the new postal sectors. Under this system, many properties in Singapore continued to retain their original postal districts, and for some districts for eg, districts 09 and 10, this is an obvious advantage as they fetched a higher premium compared to other districts.
The postal code system is critical for fast sorting of mails, and prompt delivery next day. When it became inefficient, a 6-digit system had to be introduced.
In 1995, the postal district portion was dropped (alas the district 09 and 10 had to give up the much coveted numbers), while the postal sector part remained. Different digits were used to denote the types of housing. A “0” was added to the postal sector for public housing, and other numbers could be used for commercial or industrial buildings.
For those of us living in a HDB flat, our block number automatically becomes the last 3 digits of the 6-digit code. For instance, the postal code of Block XXX in Marine Parade would be 440XXX.
This means every building and house in Singapore has their own unique postal code. This is so cool, but it also means people know exactly which block you are staying (not just the postman), which makes it so much easier for the potential stalkers!
But the 6-digit postal code definitely made mail processing a breeze and next day delivery a reality! On many levels, the efficient postal system is a reflection of Singapore’s reputation as a well-oiled and well-run country.
Stumped by the postal codes? Trying to locate postal codes, go to postal code finder http://www.singpost.com.sg/quick_services/index.htm ; key in block and street name, or building name and viola, the postal codes will appear.
So far the current 6-digit system seemed to be doing well. But who knows, it may not be long before we need to expand it to 8-digits system. Now, that will be even more difficult to remember!
Some Interesting Facts
Singapore is a bit unusual in that it is a city that is also a country, just like the Vatican City.
To comply with USPS format, instead of writing the postal codes on the country line (ie Singapore XXXXXX), we use Singapore as a city name as well as the country name:
Block XXX, Marine Parade Road
Did you know?
SingPost has been named one of the most efficient postal operators in the world. In May 2007, it made its mark in the international postal industry by winning the World Mail Awards for the Quality category. Another international accolade in our bag it seemed…:)