Destination Sort - How to electronically pre-sort your data
The International Destination Sort service requires sortation to country and the receiving office of exchange (mail handover point), known as the ‘Destination’, as required by Foreign Postal Administrations. Most countries have one destination although a handful require multiple sortation for greater speed - i.e. There is only one sortation to France, but there are four to USA by priority speed. The minimum bag weight to a single destination point is 1.5kg, anything lower than this will need to be sent via one of our other contract services. For full service details please refer to the user guide available from this link.
To produce software to electronically sort your data into Destination Sort order, you will need to take the following steps:-
- Sort your data, by appending to each address a nine-digit code, reflecting the world zone, country, and locality of that address. This is known as the International Selection Code (ISC).
- Match the sorted address data ISC with the destination name.
- Produce a mailing report, indicating the total number of items and bags for each destination by ISC (an example can be found later on in this section). This can aid automated docket completion by supplying the information to be input for electronic docketing. For invoicing purposes we require the speed, format (where applicable) total weight and total number of items to each country.
International Destination Sort Coding
The International Destination Sort Database provides a system of codes, which identify specific geographical zones, countries and localities. These codes will need to be appended to your mailing list of international addresses.
The coding system has been designed to simplify the computer sorting processes for International Destination Sort. Using these services may require a particular address to be grouped for one of several different Destinations depending upon the service being used. However, the address will have only one International Selection Code.
The International Selection Code (ISC) is nine digits long and is split into three main parts: Zone, Country and Locality. The first three digits of the Code are the Zone Identifier. Currently there are three zones: WEU (Western Europe), ROE (Rest of Europe) and ROW (Rest of the World). The next three digits of the Code are the Country Identifier and contains alphabetic characters only. Wherever possible, Country Identifiers correspond with ISO country codes. This coding is derived from the ISortA file. The last three digits of the International Selection Code are the Locality Code, which represents a geographical region, locality or postcodes within each country. Locality Codes are numeric in the range 000-999. An example of a full International Selection Code would be: ROWAUS003, in which "ROW" represents "Rest of the World" zone, AUS represents the country Australia and "003" represents the Queensland and Northern Territory areas.
Determining International Destination Sort Codes
To determine a code for a particular address:
- Match the country name from the address to a record in the ISORTA table. ISORTA contains country names and their associated Country Codes. The table includes common alternative representations for country names and so a particular Country Code may appear in several records of ISORTA. Some countries may be grouped together for International Sortation purposes and so these countries will share the same Country Code. This should generate a six digit code ROWAUS - for an Australian address. If an address is not compatible with a Country Code, then it cannot be sent via our International Services, and will need to be edited to contain destination country data.
- Assign a locality code. If the address contains a Postcode, attempt to determine the Locality Code from ISORTC using both the derived Country Code and the Postcode from the address. ISORTC contains Country Codes, partial Postcodes and their associated Locality Codes. The partial Postcodes in this table provide only enough of the Postcode to determine the correct Locality Code - for example, if a record in ISORTC for a particular Country code carries the postcode "4" then any address which has already been matched to this Country Code and which has a Postcode beginning with the digit "4" belongs to the Locality referred to in this record of ISORTC.
If it is not possible to determine a Locality Code from the Postcode it will be necessary to attempt to match the town or district from the address to the Locality Code using ISORTD. ISORTD contains Country Codes, town/district names and their associated Locality Codes. If a Country Code has been successfully derived, but it is not possible to determine a Locality Code from ISORTC or ISORTD, then a Locality Code of "000" should be used. Append the Locality Code to the Country Code to derive the full International Selection Code for the address.
Once International Selection Codes have been applied to an address list, addresses should be sorted and grouped by Destination. The Destination will determine which bag and in some circumstances which bundle an item should be placed for a particular international service speed. The Destination for a specific Selection Code will vary according to the service speed being used. Some Codes will not have a valid Destination for all services (for example the Destination Sort - Standard service is not appropriate for European items). Once a mailing has been sorted and grouped by Destination, sorting by format - Letters, Flats and Packets - will be required for Western European destinations only. *Please note for a direct bag to a destination there needs to be a minimum of 1.5kgs of mail and where format sorting is required there should be 1.5kgs per format per destination.
The International Destination Sort Database provides lists of Destinations in the ISORTB tables. Destinations are referenced by a nine digit code and Service Identifier.
The Service Identifiers are as follows:
- P = Priority
- S = Standard (Not available to Europe and some worldwide destinations)
- E = Economy
To determine the Destination for an item, search for the item′s International Selection Code and Service Identifier in the ISORTB table. As not all codes are valid for all Destination Sort services, you may not be able to find a Destination for all items. If a Destination cannot be found then the item is not eligible for the chosen service. Each ISORTB Destination record contains a Destination Name. The Destination Name will determine which ISC code (or group of ISCs codes are for the same Destination). You should use the Destination Name to select the appropriate bag label. This can be done manually, alternatively see the final bag labelling section below.
A Mailing Report can be produced to aid docket completion when using International Destination Sort. This is in no way mandatory, but can be a useful, time-saving aid.
Mailing Reports should show the following summary information:
- Customer′s name and address
- Customer′s Royal Mail account number
- Customer′s mailing reference
- International Service required (Destination Sort Economy, Destination Sort Standard, Destination Sort Priority)
- International Destination Sort Database Version Number
- Mailing date
In addition, Mailing Reports should indicate the number of items for each International Selection Code used in the mailing. Codes should be grouped by Destination. The following information is required for each Destination:
- Destination Identifier (Name)
- Format (for Western Europe Destinations only)
- Number of items
- Number of bags
- Weight in grams
- Cumulative number of items
- Cumulative number of bags
Click here to view an example of an International Destination Sort Mailing Report (please note, this is for illustrative purposes only, as some of the destinations listed have subsequently changed).