The carrying of parcels has grown to be a very significant part of the transportation system, as large or larger by many measures than most of the major traditional elements of the freight transportation system -- airlines, pipelines, railroads, etc. Yet very little is known about the parcel industry. This report provides an overview of the industry and its importance to U.S. commerce. One measure of the size of the parcel industry is its revenues. In 1997, the four carriers that account for well over 90% of the U.S. parcel activity -- Airborne, Federal Express (FedEx), United Parcel Service (UPS), and the U.S. Postal Service -- had $37.9 billion in transportation revenue. This exceeded the domestic transportation revenue of all major freight modes except trucking. Another way of looking at the size of the parcel industry is to examine the goods it delivers. In the BTS' 1977 Commodity Flow Survey, only 3.2% of the value of goods shipped went via parcel carriers. But by the latest survey, in 1997, that percentage had grown to 12.3%. The authors believe there are fundamentally two reasons why parcel service has become so important in recent years. One consists of changes in the way goods and services are produced and distributed in our economy -- globalization, customized mass production, lean inventory management, rapid customer response, and growth in e-commerce, among others. The other is parcel service itself, which is at the vanguard of transportation service modernization with such features as differentiated time-definite service options, intermodal service, in-transit visibility, and data integration with the management systems of customers. Thus parcel service is a major element of the transportation infrastructure of the nation. It is essential for modern commerce. And current trends suggest that parcel service will assume an even more significant role in the future.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 110 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00808895
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Final Report
  • Files: NTL, TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 26 2002 12:00AM