Tales from the Trenches: New Korean Postal Codes Delay Expedite Shipment

It was 5:30pm on a Wednesday.

My PC&L Manager at our key North American plant sent me an urgent e-mail:

“We had a FedEx shipment of 2 boxes of samples set up to ship to Korea. This morning we called FedEx again to schedule the pickup today. The FedEx driver just arrived and told us that FedEx has suspended all shipments to Korea and left the boxes here. Are you aware of this? This shipment needed to be in Korea.”

LWL037 Korean Post Codes Map of KoreaOk, I thought…there must be some mistake. It is impossible that FedEx is no longer serving South Korea, so what’s happening?

After making some frantic calls to FedEx and providing them with the origin and destination address information, the FedEx representative stopped me when I read out the postal code for the Korean destination (“463-400”).

“Korea uses 5-digit postal codes” was their response.

“We have been shipping to this same address for years. I don’t have a 5-digit postal code,” I said.

FedEx then went on to tell me of the change that took place in August 2015 and that FedEx’s system had been able to accept both up until April 2016.

You can read about the change here.
LWL037 Korean Post Codes Courier
If I wanted to ship with FedEx (or any of the other courier services), I needed to find the new 5-digit code or they would not accept nor process the shipment.

A quick call to our Korean partner!

It was 7:30am and he was on his way to work. He didn’t know the new postal code either, but he would have someone e-mail it to us.

Needless to say, by the time we obtained the new postal code and modified the documentation, we missed the cut-off and even any chance to drop the parcel off at the nearest FedEx airport hub.

The next day, we sent out a communication to all of our plants and engineers to obtain the NEW postal codes for any addresses in Korea to which we send packages or from whom we receive packages.

Hopefully, the lesson we learned the hard way will help you avoid a shipment delay to/from Korea!

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About Lenny

Many years of experience in a Fortune 1000 companies, especially in the logistics and I.T. areas of manufacturing companies. Through process improvements and the use of many of the tools mentioned here, I have been able to identify and implement savings opportunities worth up to $10 million. I hope that some of these real-life stories, suggestions and tools can help you!
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