The primary business of the express industry is the delivery of time-sensitive shipments, typically with a transit time of two to three days. These are delivered mainly by air and ground.
The industry has been witnessing significant growth as a result of the constant rise in demand for express and courier services over the last decade across user industries, including manufacturing, pharmaceutical, financial services and high-tech sectors. In the last decade, the advent of e-commerce business models and their subsequent penetration along with increasing demand from the financial services sector contributed to strong industry growth.
Most companies provide an additional range of activities besides pure transportation, including online tracking of shipments, online payment collection and insurance facilities. However, in recent times, the industry has witnessed a deceleration in growth as a result of rising fuel costs and reduced demand from user industries due to the global economic slowdown.
Traditionally, due to low demand and high costs of operation, the express industry has been dominated by national postal departments. While some of them still continue to be dominant in their respective national markets, others have evolved into larger regional and global players with multi-modal operations such as Deutsche Post World Net (which also operates DHL) and La Poste.
Globally, the industry is dominated by the big four — Deutsche Post World Net (DHL), FedEx, United Postal Service (UPS) and TNT, all of which have strong multi-modal arms with worldwide operations.
The US is the single largest market for express services, followed by Europe and the Asia–Pacific region. In recent years, the Asia-Pacific region has experienced tremendous growth, largely attributed to increased demand for express and courier services in China and India as well as sustained demand...