When expedited shipping first appeared in the early 1980s, it was described as “the ambulance service of the trucking industry, rushing freight when and where needed as quickly as possible,” and while the service still fills that role, it has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years.
No longer solely the purview of businesses in need of “emergency” or “extremely urgent” services, expedited service has become an option of first resort for many businesses, a preferred solution for “routine” supply chain needs, and an important way to meet customer delivery expectations.
What exactly is meant by expedited shipping?
The definition itself has evolved. Today, expedited service refers to fast, uninterrupted delivery service with premium attention to customer service and shipment specifics.
Or as one provider defined the service to the Journal of Commerce:
“Expedited trucking today is about customized solutions for critical shipping needs. It’s evolved from being just a time-specific service. People come to us for so much more than that. They’re sophisticated about how they purchase transportation, and they’re shopping.”
But whereas the service was once considered the “Rolls-Royce” of logistics, with a price tag to match, today’s businesses are often surprised to find costs are quite manageable.
Costs are still higher than standard service but in many cases at a much lower price point than might be expected, given the premium level of service.