|Subject: SMH: Post office's stamp of
Sydney Morning Herald Thursday, May 4, 2000
Post office's stamp of success
Dili: East Timor's first new post office was so successful that it ran out of stamps.
The stamps, bearing the image of the independence leader Mr Xanana Gusmao, sold out quickly when the post office opened at the weekend, and counters had to be closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Under Portuguese management, the post office, a small building in the city centre, uses Darwin as its main clearing centre for international mail and provides a service to the territory's main centres.
Under Indonesian rule East Timor had a network of post offices, but almost all were destroyed in last September's post-ballot violence. About half a tonne of incoming mail from overseas has since banked up in Darwin.
East Timor's shipping links with its neighbours have also been expanded. As well as regular cargo services between Dili and Darwin, Australian Freight Services and the Swire group of companies have established "Crocodile Line", linking Dili with Jakarta, Surabaya and Singapore.
"This service is proving popular, with local East Timor businesses now beginning to start up, as well as demand by international aid organisations," an AFS representative said.
More air services are being mooted to break the monopoly of Darwin-based Air North, which operates a daily service between Dili and Darwin and charges $750 for a regular return fare.
Qantas is planning six flights a week between Darwin and Dili using its subsidiary Air Link, while the Indonesian national carrier, Garuda, is also keen to open a Dili-Kupang-Bali service, travel industry sources say.
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