Couriers are distinguished from ordinary mail services by features such as speed, security, tracking, signature, specialization and individualization of express services, and swift delivery times, which are optional for most everyday mail services. As a premium service, couriers are usually more expensive than standard mail services, and their use is normally limited to packages where one or more of these features are considered important enough to warrant the cost.
Courier services operate on all scales, from within specific towns or cities, to regional, national and global services. Large courier companies include DHL, DTDC, FedEx, EMS International, TNT, UPS, India Post and Aramex. These offer services worldwide, typically via a hub and spoke model.
In cities, there are often bicycle couriers or motorcycle couriers but for consignments requiring delivery over greater distance networks, this may often include Trucks, railroads and aircraft.
Many companies who operate under a Just-In-Time or “JIT” inventory method often use on-board couriers (OBCs). On-board couriers are individuals who can travel at a moment’s notice anywhere in the world, usually via commercial airlines. While this type of service is the second costliest—general aviation charters are far more expensive—companies analyze the cost of service to engage an on-board courier versus the “cost” the company will realize should the product not arrive by a specified time (an assembly line stopping, untimely court filing, lost sales from product or components missing a delivery deadline, organ transplants).
Coming soon – a directory of Courier Companies