How does the parcel market function?
In last-mile distribution, 'one size fits all' does not exist, even though some carriers would have you believe otherwise. Carriers often have a specialisation in a certain country, a region, in a certain weight class, size or value of the parcel.
We can roughly distinguish three categories. First of all, there is the lower end of the market. The cheapest way to send parcels. You are limited in size and weight. In the Netherlands we often call it a letterbox package and the height is limited to 3.2 cm. In other countries, the height limit is 3 cm (Belgium), but in other countries it is 5 cm (France) or even up to a shoebox size. The cost price is often low, there is not always track and trace and the delivery time and reliability, especially without the T & T, is questionable.
Features of economy parcels:
Type of package: untracked / pack tracked
Longer transit time (2-7 days)
Restriction in weight & size
The second category is also the most frequently used shipping method. The standard packages including track and trace. These include PostNL and DHL in the Netherlands, bpost in Belgium and La Poste in France. But also independent carriers such as DPD, GLS or Hermes who distribute throughout Europe fall into this category. The price-quality ratio is in many cases the best in this category. The parcels are easily traceable, the delivery time is fast, but the price is also slightly higher than in the first category.
Features standard parcels:
Type of package: parcels tracked / ranged
Average transit time (1-3 days)
price increasing with weight & size
The last and third category are the premium carriers. This includes companies such as UPS and FedEx. They ship worldwide, have their own network of hubs, trucks, planes and customs offices, which allows them to provide a very reliable service. If you really want to be sure that your package will be delivered quickly and at the right time, you should choose a carrier in this category. The service is premium, however the rates are too.
Features of premium parcels:
Parcel type: priority / express
Short transit time (1-2 days)
Price increases with weight & size