Globalisation has a lot to thank the parcel industry for. The less appreciated and non-glorified logistics and courier industry employs hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, sending millions of parcels each year. Parcels have played a major role throughout times and across geographies, offering a solid platform for other businesses and industries to grow big. Technology has kept up the pace too. With growing consumer demands, technology has helped reshape logistics, and vice-versa.
Logistics in Ancient Times and How It Evolved
The first letter was delivered in 1516 by Royal Mail. Set up by King Henry VII, the mail system was created to facilitate seamless communication between the chosen Scottish Privy Council and the King. Messengers would ride horses days together to send the King’s letters across.
During the early 1600s, horse-drawn carriages became popular and they became available for hire from 1605 in London, thereby driving the development of a solid logistics route. Until then, the roads were usually muddy and not fit for effective transport. After 1605, roads became better and wider and the national parcel network was born.
With the advent of steam ships and train lines, quickly transporting bigger loads of products and parcels became feasible. The European empires that happened thereafter were extremely keen on improving their logistics infrastructure for military mobility and trade.
Meanwhile, in the UK, the logistic improvements were notably significant. Trains transporting packages and sacks of letters across the length and breadth of the island nation were abound, which paved way for the current postal service industry. With cars and delivery vans entering the scene, delivering increased number of packages and letters to any place connected by roads was no longer a feat.
And when air travel became a reality, the logistics landscape changed forever. Transport planes equipped with large container spaces and powerful engines meant parcels could be delivered to the other part of the planet within days.
The Modern Parcel Industry
The current parcel industry is led by numerous resellers and expert carriers with comprehensive networks worldwide. The following are some important events that mark the evolution of the parcel delivery industry:
• A messenger service, which eventually became UPS (United Parcel Service), was started in 1907 in Seattle.
• In Australia, K.W. Transport was found in 1946, which was later renamed to TNT.
• In 1953, UPS started offering air services between American East coasts and the West.
• DHL was founded in 1969. In 1971, it opened to the Far East regions.
• FedEx was launched in 1973 and it delivered 186 packages.
• In 1977, UPS air services were offered across America.
• TNT opens shop in the UK in 1978. In 1980, it became the country’s very first next day door-to-door delivery service. TNT starts same-day services in 1982.
• In 1985, Fast Lane Couriers starts the online courier reselling business.
• In 1988, UPS starts its aircraft and becomes an airline officially.
• FedEx becomes an international brand in 2000.
Sending parcels across the world is not just about the shipping carrier, rate of shipping, or how long it takes for the parcel to reach its destination. You also have to take into account import duties and associated paperwork, besides other formalities. Conforming to the red tape and submitting the forms in time is imperative for timely deliveries. Dealing with these protocols can be a pain, especially if you are a senior citizen on private pension. Thankfully, there are parcel shipping and consolidation service providers offering cost-effective shipping and necessary guidance.