Postal service undertakes transport of parcels of goods within India and abroad by surface mail or airmail. Parcels may be registered or unregistered. However, for a parcel weighing 4 kg. or more, registration is compulsory. For registered parcels, acknowledgement of the consignee is also available to the sender by post. For this purpose, the parcel has to be sent within ‘Acknowledgement Due’ and an additional amount is charged to the postage payable.
Another facility provided by the postal department is the speed post service whereby parcels can be sent to selected destinations within and outside the country very quickly. Large post offices in the major cities of India offer this service. Postage is to be paid by the sender. Charges are very high and vary according to the weight of the parcel and destination.
High volume users are given special privileges, such as delivery under contract to any place in India, even a remote village or a far-flung town. Besides, regular users can avail of the facility of scheduled pick-ups from their own premises at no extra charge. Credit facility is also given to high volume users who can pay only once a month.
Advantages of Postal Service:
Postal service, as a means of transport, has the following advantages:
(1) It is a convenient means of transport where the quantity is small and the volume is low.
(2) Post Offices are located mostly near market places. Hence dispatch of parcels can be arranged easily.
(3) Parcels are delivered at the doorstep of the addressee’s.
(4) The parcel may also be sent under VPP (Value Payable Post) and the amount due from the consignee can be realized by the sender through the post office.
(5) Main advantage of the speed post service is the assured and speedy delivery of goods.
Disadvantages of Postal Service:
The disadvantages of postal services are:
(1) Sending large quantities of goods by parcel post is more expensive than rail or sea transportation.
(2) The maximum weight of a parcel permitted is 20 kg. The packages should not to be more than one-meter long. Thus, heavy and bulky goods cannot be sent by parcel post.
(3) The main disadvantages of speed post service are that it is very expensive and is available at selected places only.
Suitability of Postal Service:
On the whole, postal service is useful for sending small quantities urgently, where such quantities are uneconomical to carry by other modes such as trucks, trains or ships. For bulky and heavy goods, parcel post or speed post are expensive and not ordinarily found suitable means of transport.
Suitability of Courier Service:
Many private agencies known as couriers operate from different cities and towns and undertake to carry goods to places within the country and abroad. The courier service actually involves transportation of goods by road hail or airways. For short distances, mostly within town or city, they use messengers. Quick and assured delivery is the main advantage of courier service. It also provides the pick-up service at no extra charge. The limitations of courier service are it is quite expensive, and available only in cities and towns between which traffic is regular and substantial.