A Brief History of the Package Delivery Industry

3089 Words May 26th, 2011 13 Pages
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PACKAGE DELIVERY INDUSTRY
May 5, 2003

I. Overview

The package delivery industry, which consists of small package and express letter shipments, has changed dramatically over the years. Radical changes have occurred in the goods transported, the geographic scale of the marketplace, customers needs, the range of service options that carriers offer, and the transportation and communications technology that carriers employ. The market today bears little resemblance to the market of 30 years ago (at about the time of the Postal Reorganization Act). It bears even less resemblance to the market of 100 years ago (at about the time Parcel Post service began). It is therefore illogical to consider the
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“The first relay of stages, drivers, mules, and horses westward made the grueling, 2,700-mile journey in twenty-four days and nights in September and October of 1858. It carried the mail and one through passenger. This was the first true transcontinental mail and passenger service.”

Two years later the pony express was founded. As a service, it was heavy on romance and legend, but short-lived and uneconomic. However, it had to be offered if one wanted the stage business. “As a profit maker, the pony express was a loser; as a necessity in order to acquire the lucrative transcontinental mail and express business carried by stage coaches, it was a winner; as an indicator of how a new technology could replace an existing one and render the latter obsolete, it was a precursor to what would come later…[the Pony Express] ran for nineteen months and carried light mail from near St. Louis to Placerville, California, at an eventual price of $1.00 for a half-ounce letter. At $23 in current dollars, it was not a service that was affordable for ordinary folks…First undertaken privately and then under government contract, the Pony Express lasted from April 3, 1860, to October 24, 1861.” The overland stage coach
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