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A Brief History Of The Courier Service Industry

A Brief History Of The Courier Service Industry

By: Satpal Juttla 29 October 2020

People all over the world have been transporting goods dating back several thousands of years. One of the first well-known instances observed is that of moving goods by the Egyptians from point A to another point via long distances to build the pyramids.

The first-ever documented well-organised courier service dates back to 2400 BC in Egypt which had runners courier parcels or documents carved within stone.

Courier Delivery by Animals

Prior to the invention of the engine, we relied on moving goods using 4-legged and winged animals to help deliver mail. Some of the animals that have been utilised for courier delivery are:

  • Camels. They were widely utilised to move parcels and goods across lengthy distances.
  • Dogs, they were also used to transport mail & parcels around the 17th and 18th century. In recorded cases, around ten dogs would pull loads weighing hundreds of pounds or kilos.
  • Horses, it has been recorded that horses were used to deliver parcels and mail as far back as the 17th century. In America, there was even a company called The Pony Express, that transported and delivered mail and parcels using horses, through North America. While this can seem like a million miles off, horses are still being used in some places like China, Tibet, and at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, to deliver parcels and mail.

Today’s Courier Service Industry

Courier delivery has since evolved into something that is incredibly organised. While it could take days and maybe months to deliver parcels in the past, nowadays it can take just one day to execute delivery from one part of the globe to another. This is mainly due to the advancement in technology and the emergence of the world wide web. Some important moments in the history of the courier service:

  • 1907 - The UPS journey started when Mr Jim Cassey borrowed a hundred dollar note from his friend and kick-started his messenger service in Seattle.
  • 1946 - In Australia, K.W Transport was founded with a single truck by Mr Ken Thomas who later changed its name to TNT twelve years later.
  • 1969 - DHL was founded. Making it the 1st intercontinental express service delivering documents to customers offices.
  • 1973 - FedEx was established this year and it delivered about 180 parcels in its first night of operation.
  • 1980 - TNT became Britains first-ever next day delivery service.
  • 1997 - UPS launches online tracking software, providing a real-time image of the recipients signature.

Today - Courier services have expanded to include services such as same-day delivery. It is now possible for customers to quickly get a quote and have paperwork automatically generated. This now means that in many cases, same-day courier services are much cheaper and faster than postal services like Royal Mail.

With today’s customer demand for urgent and same-day deliveries, customer experience is more important than ever before. With the massive rise in reviews and social media, there is a real focus on standards and reputation. Parcel Direct are one of the few courier service companies that consistently deliver time and time again.