Since our earliest origins, we’ve needed to move things, whether it’s food, building materials or goods to trade. The courier is one of the oldest documented occupations, tasked with carrying messages on foot. The word is derived from the Latin ‘currere’, meaning to run. The earliest known courier network was established in ancient Rome.
For longer routes, animals have routinely been used by civilisations throughout the world, from camels in Australia to dogs in countries around the Arctic Circle. During the First World War, carrier pigeons were trained to send messages, on routes which were sometimes as long as 100 miles. Keeping and training animals for the role was no easy task. You can read more about how carrier pigeons were managed during the war years here.
For centuries, horses pulled delivery coaches and carts, in networks stretching across Western Europe and North America, until railways and other modes of transport replaced them. In more remote parts of the world, animals are still used for parcel delivery.
The modern courier service
In 1907, Jim Cassey borrowed $100 and started up a messenger service in Seattle. His company eventually merged with a competitor which had many more vehicles, bearing the brown livery of what was eventually to become UPS. By the 1950s UPS had launched its air service, and by the 1980s had its own designated airline. In the 1970s the company was joined on the international courier scene by TNT from Australia, FedEx and DHL.
Gaps in the market
With the advent of the internet, the demand for parcel delivery intensified, and entrepreneurs discovered a gap in the market. If a South Yorkshire-based business was looking for a same day courier Sheffield, their needs wouldn’t be fulfilled by the one-size-fits-all service from the courier titans. From 2004 onwards smaller, independent companies sprang up, providing friendly, local services. For anyone seeking a same day courier in Sheffield All About Freight and others successfully plugged the gap.
So, whatever your needs, there’s no shortage of choice of couriers to get your parcel to the right place on time.