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Overland Mail Baghdad Haifa Pages

Postal Rates and Overland Mail Surcharges


Eastwards bounded rates from Egypt - Forerunner

Egyptian "By Special Service" Mail to Syria and Lebanon

Forerunner of the Overland Mail Baghdad-Haifa

In April 1923 the Nairns obtained a contract from the Egyptian Postal Administration to carry Egyptian mail from Haifa to Beirut (correspondence for Beirut only) and in May this was extended to mail for the whole of Lebanon and Syria. The contract for this service was ended on the 31st. January 1924. The following extracts from the Egyptian  'JOURNAL OFFICIEL' give the information on 'this service' which was a forerunner to the Nairn's later Overland Mail service Baghdad-Haifa. No cover is known with the endorsement 'By Special Service' addressed to Lebanon or Syria, but maybe they are just hiding in specialist collections, waiting to be discovered.

 Below Extracts are from "THE JOURNAL OFFICIEL", the Bulletin of the Post of Egypt


April 23 (43.7):

The Postmaster-General announces that from April 23 1923 ordinary and registered correspondence for Beyrout only may be despatched by way of Qantara-Haifa and thence by Motor Service to Beyrout.

Correspondence despatched by this rapid postal service, posted in Alexandria before 3.30 PM and Cairo before 5.30 PM will arrive in Haifa the following day at 12.45 PM and will be immediately re-forwarded thence by car, arriving at Beyrout by 6 PM on the same day.


The rates for despatch by this special route are:

  1. 1. The usual postage

  2. 2. A special charge of 5 Milliemes per unit of 20 grammes or fraction of 20 grammes.


The words "By Special Service" must be indicated in red ink upon the address-side of every letter intended for inclusion in the special mail; correspondence not fully prepaid as above will be forwarded by sea.


The Transport Company accepts responsibility within  the customary postal limits for lss of registered correspondence except in the case of loss from brigandage.


The service for Haifa to Beyrout is daily, Sundays excepted.

Baghdad Air Mail Thursday Apr 26.


Apr 26 (44.7):

The Postmaster-General announces with reference to the recent notice published in the Press concerning the special service for the rapid despatch of registered and ordinary letters to Beyrout via Qantara-Haifa that the itinerary has been altered as follows:


Correspondence posted in Alexandria before 3.30 PM and in Cairo before 5.30 PM will arrive in Haifa the following day at 9.30 PM and the time of arrival at Beyrout will be 3 PM.


May 3 (48.7):

The Postmaster-General announces that registered and unregistered correspondence for the whole of Syria and the Lebanon will be accepted for despatch to destination by the special motor service between Kantara and Haifa particulars of which have already been published in these columns.


Feb 4 (12.6):

The Postmaster-General announces that as the contract with the Nairn Transport Company, whose motorcars are utilized for the transport of mail between Haifa and Beyrouth expired on "January 31 1924", the special fee hitherto collected from the public on correspondence for Syria and the Lebanon will be levied with effect from that date.

 All correspondence for Syria and the Lebanon will be despatched daily (except  Sundays) by way of  Qantara-Haifa and thence by motor cars of the Syrian Postal Authorities, without any surcharge, as from the above date, in accordance with the arrangements made to that effect with Syria and Palestine Post Offices. 


Surprisingly i learned of a similar service, the Palestine "Rapide" Mail to Haifa and Beyrouth