DHL introduces jogging couriers

The return of the foot messenger, only a little faster

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

DHL has contracted foot courier firm JogPost to carry out crucial deliveries in London during the summer of 2012, and potentially beyond.

JogPost couriers will join the DHL workforce to make deliveries on foot or via public transport, direct from DHL Service Centers in London. They will also join driving couriers for the final mile of deliveries in areas that are inaccessible because of the Olympic route network, or congestion which DHL expects to increase by 30 per cent on London’ s core routes.

DHL handles some 50,000 deliveries in London each day.

Phil Couchman, CEO of DHL Express UK and Ireland, said: “Keeping London moving is a priority for us; our customers expect their critical deliveries to arrive on time regardless of what’s happening in London. By using innovative delivery methods we are able to sustain our high service levels during what will be a busy time for businesses, and also reduce our carbon footprint by sending fewer vehicles into the city.”

Throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games DHL will have a dedicated operations control center that will monitor and adapt services for issues such as changes to the network and localized congestion.

“Using joggers to carry out deliveries has the potential to be a viable and environmentally-positive solution well beyond the Olympics,” said JJ Harding, founder of JogPost.

JogPost bills itself as the UK's number one leaflet delivery company.

Not so long ago foot messengers were a part of the fabric of the Capital and every Livery Company used them, every bank, and almost every firm that thought something of itself.

Those were all, predominately, in-house messengers, that is to say, part of a company's workforce, and they went on foot and by public transport all over the capital to deliver important (and not so important) messages. The couriers in cars, on motorbikes, etc. put those employees out of a job however.

Seeing the way many courier companies are either incapable or unwilling to go the extra mile and actually find an address with correct postcode and all because it is a little off the beaten track or because the sat nav says that they have arrived at their destination – a map is something they have no idea of using and asking they can neither – and then don't ever deliver or mis-deliver consignments the old-fashioned foot messenger might be a good idea again and some other kinds of real people willing to do the job rather than faceless companies.

I have had many an escapade so far with courier companies that refuse to find the delivery address for me and then send consignments back twice to a country abroad and on the third attempt, when given a different address to deliver to, end up at the address they could not find the two previous times. And that is but one example.

While there has not been a problem, so far, with any deliveries via DHL, there has been with about every other company, from ANC, FedEx, of which the former is now part of, and especially DPD and Hermes. All of them are useless beyond comprehension.

Yes, it is true that Royal Mail and Parcel Post (the parcel arm of Royal Mail) are a little on the pricey side, maybe, at least, in most instances, they can find an address and, if all else fails, a card is left or sent so that one can collect from a local office.

Let's go back to basics, also in the carrying of messages, mail and packages. Maybe the Penny Post in Coffee Houses needs reintroducing.

© 2012