Courier services and logistics are the two terms that are mostly used interchangeably. The meaning of these two terms differs slightly and that discrepancy is subtle. In this article we will look at the differences between these two terms to make it easier for a layperson to understand.
The term courier refers to the person or the firm that provides the shipping services.
The term cargo stands for the process of transportation of bulky items by a shipping company also known as freight.
Courier services are usually a little costly as compared to the typical postal services. There are several types of courier services according to the types of consignment and the speed of delivery.
Standard courier service
In a standard courier service, small and medium sized parcels are collected and delivered to their destination. The time of delivery is not exact, which implies that it is approximate. The standard courier service is the most cost effective service as compared to the other courier services.
Same day courier service
In a same day courier service, the parcel is delivered to the point of destination on the same day as the order was placed. This service is usually fast and quick. If same day courier service is combined with the express delivery service, then it becomes one of the most costly options.
Overnight courier service
In an overnight courier service, the parcel is delivered to the target place on the next day. Nevertheless, this service is usually not available for international routes located at large distances from each other. This service can be expensive.
Prices and Transport
For the national and international courier services, the prices vary depending on the distance and route between the collection point and target point.
In the courier service for pallet delivery, the time of collection and delivery of the parcel is exactly defined and prices are affordable.
The goods are mostly delivered by road in a courier service by using a vehicle such as a van, truck or a car. This mode of delivery is used because the goods delivered by courier are usually light with small dimensions.
Sometimes the term logistic services encompass all the transportation services that also include courier services. In a more technical sense, the term logistics refers to all the processes that take place while delivering the goods from point of collection to the point of destination. This includes all the people, resources, mechanisms and manufacture points involved in the process of delivery of goods.
So, logistic service is basically an umbrella term that refers to the consignment of large goods that need special care. Logistic services are often safer than the courier services when it comes to the transportation of valuable goods because it can accommodate the transport of containers and pallets. The logistic service provider also handles the packaging, inventory and security functions of the shipments.
There are different types of logistic services with diverse impact on services and customers.
Before the shipment, a product is held at the warehouse or a number of warehouses. Many firms use third party logistic services while some companies have their own ware houses. The third party warehouses are usually beneficial for small startups as they receive, stock up and dispatch the items on the company’s behalf. This eliminates the need to invest in a new independent warehouse.
Warehousing service is an adaptable part of logistics. The storage needs are determined by the type of product, how much space it requires, how long it has to be kept there, the ease of access to the products and more. For example, if a company is selling Christmas trees, it may require long time storage for the products from January to September. Then it will be followed by quick inventory changes as the Christmas time gets closer.
Freight shipping service
The bulky items with large dimensions are usually shipped through the freight service. Freight service uses more than one means of transportation i.e. ships, trucks, train and cargo etc. Like warehousing services, freight services also require adaptation to the demands of customer and type of product. The freight shipping service provider has to ensure that the orders are processed in a timely manner without any delays.
In-house logistic service
This is similar to having your own warehouse. In the in-house logistics, the company has its own team of professionals to look after the storage, reception and shipment of goods. The company has control over the quality of its services.
The disadvantage of an in-house logistic service is that it is very costly. The company has to pay large sum to the employers who help with logistics. An experienced logistic service professional earns up to $80,000 for providing services to the company.
Third party logistic service
The greatest advantage of third party logistic service provider is that the company is made to assist in all the logistic service tasks. The third party logistic provider will take care of everything from shipping arrangement to management of transport and warehouse storage. The company does not have to recruit the workers and constantly look after them. These services are costly too.
The greatest disadvantage of a third party logistic service provider is lack of communication and the cost involved. The more services a company avails, higher the cost.
Means of transport
Just like the courier services, the means of transport in logistic services also vary depending on the type of product.
Ships are used for the stacked pallets
Aircrafts are the fastest means of transportation and they are used for perishable goods. Livestock can also be transported in the specially designed stables for this purpose.
Trains are usually used for the transportation of mining products because it has the capacity for large products. So, train is a suitable and safe way of transportation of mining goods.
Trucks are used for the transportation of heavy and large products like furniture, equipment and machinery. They can also be used for the transportation of livestock.
Although it is hard to mark a line between courier and logistic services, there are some differences that differentiate one from the other.