Courier Companies

When needing to send something quickly or far away, it is important to know which type of courier to use.

There is a difference between UPS, Federal Express and the Post Office, compared to your local courier service? We always see the big names everywhere because they spend millions on advertising every year – is it always necessary to use them? Or will your needs cater to utilising your local courier service?

Understanding the difference between various types of couriers will enable you to utilise them in order to get the best service for your purpose.

Large national and international parcel delivery companies

These are your biggies – the ones we always hear about. United States Postal Service, Federal Express, DHL, UPS – these all handle general envelope and small package services. They offer next day, two day and up to two-week general delivery times.


Freight deliveries are for extra large or extra heavy deliveries – anything from machine equipment, heavy bricks or concrete or even wood for building decks, houses etc. Most freight gets delivered on pallets, and pallet jacks are used for easy loading and unloading.

Specialty deliveries

More sensitive materials like flowers, medical supplies, some legal deliveries and hazardous materials need to be handled by companies that specialise in these loads. There are services that specialise in each of these fields and it would be wise to utilise these companies to ensure safe delivery.

Local Courier services

If you want a package or parcel delivered locally it is best to utilise a local delivery company. Couriers are distinguished from ordinary mail services by features including speed, security, tracking, signature, specialisation and individualisation of services, with committed delivery times.

It is important to remember that not all national well-known delivery companies offer same-day service. If they do it is generally really expensive.

What is chain of custody?

This refers to how many hands your package goes through. With a larger courier company your chain of custody will be much bigger (many more hands handling your package) than using a local courier if you are going local. Many times with a larger company your package will take many detours before getting to its destination. If you utilise a smaller or more local service your chances are that your package will go directly to the destination with minimal chain of custody.

So basically if you are delivering locally, it’s best to go with a local courier, should you need to go national or international, it pays to look at rates and services of your larger companies.

Here is an example of chain of custody for a national delivery company in the case of a package not staying local:

1. Driver - picks up your package
2. Handler or manager – inspects the package at the local hub
3. Loading staff – Unloads the package from the truck
4. Sorters – Sorting packages to determine destinations
5. Loading staff – Loading your package onto correct truck
6. Driver – Takes your package to the airport
7. Plane loaders – Person loading your package onto the plane
8. Plan off-loader – Person taking your package off the plain
9. Driver – Person driving your package to the hub of destination
10. Loading staff – Unloads your package from the vehicle
11. Sorter – Sorts your package
12. Loading staff – Loads your package onto the relevant truck
13. Driver – Takes your package to your door

An example of the chain of custody for a local delivery company

1. Driver – picks up your package
2. Same driver and same truck delivers your package to final destination.


So it really would be so much better to use a local courier for local deliveries.

Courier Services South Africa

With the huge amount of economic growth in South Africa, the country really needs to stay with the times when it comes to courier services. Technological breakthroughs affect us just as much as many first-world countries, and it is important to stay with the times to keep up with the rest of the world.

This is why it is imperative that our courier companies offer excellent service and value.

Let’s take a look at 3 top brands in South Africa:

Speed Service Couriers

This is an independent division of the South African Post Office. It provides extensive domestic overnight express because of its vast network within the country.

Flexible collection and delivery options offer freedom to choose the correct solution for your needs.

Products and Services

Speed Services Couriers offers a full courier service from your premises to delivery destinations on a national basis.

It also delivers internationally, always ready to cater to your needs.

Fastway Couriers

With Fastway the name says it all. You can keep track of your parcel’s journey and see proof of delivery signatures within minutes of your parcel’s arrival.

The company’s approach to courier services is unique. The Franchises offer a cost effective, reliable, timetable courier service, backed up by the latest software and online parcel track facilities, making this the ideal choice for small to medium-sized businesses.

Fastway understands that couriers aren’t just about product delivery; they believe it is about working with a freight provider that is essentially an extension of their own business. They believe in having a partner who can help achieve bottom-line savings, and like to ensure that courier delivery methods enhance your customer experience. With the ever-tightening marketing, they believe they will equip you with a point of difference, ensuring they would be your first choice.


This company prides itself on innovation. It is motivated in providing flexible IT systems to completely support and integrate with the IT systems of the 21st century. It recoginises that it is important to stay as updated with technology and trends as possible, in order to provide the best service possible. The company successfully merges the physical and virtual aspects of logistics to provide its customers with a superior and seamless solution to all their courier needs.

The management team and staff members are highly experienced, self-motivated people with a successful track record for service excellence in the airfreight industry. They utilise a unique training programme whereby historically disadvantaged individuals are trained to become successful entrepreneurs within their industry.


The CourierIT group also specialises in international freight, warehousing and remail, to enhance its current logistics offerings.

FreightIT was born I 2005 due to the demand from existing CourierIT customers who needed to import or export goods. It has been extremely successful with various international contracts, due to its policy of personalized relationships and hand-to-hand logistics solutions, anywhere throughout the globe.

South Africa is truly getting with the times, and with professional courier services a plenty, we are able to keep up with other countries as far as service requirements are concerned. It is a cutthroat business, with so many courier services competing for the top spot.



There are various laws and regulations when it comes to loads in South Africa. It is important for everyone’s safety that these regulations are adhered to. Here are some of the really important rules that all transport companies and private vehicles need to follow:

Dangerous goods

Loading is the responsibility of the consignor
Driving the vehicle that carries these goods is the responsibility of the driver
Off-loading is the responsibility of the consignee.

It is important to note that the supervision of the loading, transportation and off-loading of dangerous goods is in accordance with the relevant national legislation, with specific reference to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Heavy loads

The implementation of The Road Transport Management System (RTMS) ensures that consignees, consignors and transport operators engage in the road logistics value chain to implement a management system that ensures infrastructure is preserved, improvement of road safety is ensured and an increase in the productivity of the logistics chain is always kept in mind.

According to the Road Traffic Act, there is a certain maximum mass limit for certain vehicles, which need to be strictly adhered to.

Rules of the road

As with any vehicle on the road, logistics companies have to adhere with the road rules. There are no exceptions just because the vehicle might be larger or carry a heavy load. In fact, precautions need to be adhered to even more as an accident where one of these heavy vehicles are involved leads to more devastation on our roads.

Some precautions

In South Africa, all vehicles are to be driven on the left side of the roadway, and where the roadway is of sufficient width, in such a manner as not to encroach on that half of the roadway to his or her right. This is especially challenging for a large vehicle – here are the only times such an encroachment will be permissible:

• Where it can be done without obstructing or endangering other traffic or property, at a distance that is no longer than is necessary. Larger vehicles would need more space to turn, so this needs to be considered.
• In compliance with the direction of a traffic officer or road traffic sign.
Passing of other vehicles

Firstly, when it is a heavy loaded vehicle in question, it should not be passing other vehicles on the road in the first place. It is especially important that the distance is safe when passing and a solid white line can never be crossed, no matter how quiet the road is. That solid line is there for a reason, and a heavily loaded vehicle especially, is not permitted to pass.

General duties of a driver on a public road

No person driving a vehicle on a public road can:

• Cause the vehicle to travel backwards unless it is done safely. It may not run backwards for a distance or time longer than is necessary for the safety or reasonable convenience of any occupant of that vehicle or any other traffic on the road
• Follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent having regard to the speed of such other vehicle. The safe distance for normal vehicles is 3 seconds, a larger load would need to keep a larger gap between vehicles.