Regional carriers such as Courier Express, Eastern Connection, Express Courier International, LaserShip, Lone Star Overnight, OnTrac, Pitt-Ohio, Prestige Delivery and Spee-Dee Delivery cover more than 85% of the U.S. population and specialize in short-haul delivery (typically up to 500 miles).
Is your business a candidate for regional carrier services? Companies looking to achieve any of the following benefits should consider regional carriers to complement national service provided by FedEx, UPS and USPS.
REGIONAL CARRIER BENEFITS
Regional carriers maintain a low cost of operation through their regional focus, direct loading and transportation primarily via truck. With significantly lower operating costs than the “Big Two”, regional carriers are often 10% to 40% less expensive than UPS and FedEx.
Moreover, many regional carriers offer discounted pricing through simple contracts that often carry no volume commitments, include better pricing, improved dimensional divisors and far fewer surcharges than FedEx and UPS. Consider the fact that 3 of the top 6 regional carriers don’t tack on surcharges for residential deliveries!
You might also find that it’s easier to negotiate with the smaller and hungrier regional carriers.
Same Day Service and Expanded Next-Day Delivery Footprint
With retail and e-commerce companies like Amazon, Wal-Mart and others moving towards same day delivery, regionals and specialty couriers stand to benefit with same day service offerings. Since regionals concentrate operations in a well-defined geographic market, service to that market is often better than what the national carriers provide.
For example, Eastern Connection handles East Coast deliveries from Maine to Virginia, all included as “next day” delivery points. Using FedEx and UPS Ground service, the same coverage area extends to five zones for 1-4 day delivery.
Shippers with a high concentration of customers in a particular market are also prime candidates for regional carrier services. As an example, if you have high volumes of packages going to the West Coast, you could truck those shipments to OnTrac’s hub in Reno, NV and achieve next day delivery to 8 western states from the Canadian to Mexican borders.
Flexibility, Customer-Centric, Customized Solutions
Getting the national carriers to customize service to improve your operation can be a frustrating experience—even for multimillion dollar shippers. Shippers that make the switch to regionals often see a greater degree of customer service and accommodation.
In addition, regional carriers can provide customized service solutions including later pickup times and earlier deliveries than the standard 10:30 a.m. service. Moreover, by bypassing national and multiple regional hubs, service can be more reliable in inclement weather.
Similarly, regional carriers provide terrific alternatives to mitigate holiday season delivery challenges due to overcapacity like we saw Christmas 2013.
Regional parcel carriers can help shippers reduce costs, improve delivery times and provide a competitive advantage, especially for e-commerce companies. Although there are potential disadvantages to evaluate, shippers looking to cut costs and expand their options from the big two national providers should explore regional carrier options.