Where Does the Term “Courier” Originate From?

Posted on Monday, August 31st

However insignificant this aspect may seem, the courier delivery businesses operating on the market today owe everything to the first couriers, who set the bases of this industry a long time ago. With all the attention going to the top courier names of both the present day and the past, another equally important aspect tends to be overlooked. So let us discover for a change where this industry takes its name from, where the term “courier” originates from.

The term “courier” has its origins in the Latin language, more specifically in the Latin “currere”, which means “to run”. The modern age and its courier companies have accustomed us to goods being delivered using vehicles or various modes of transportation. However, things were quite different at the beginnings of courier delivery. Back in the days, workers in the courier business would grab the packages and run from the point of origin to the destination point to deliver them. One of the most resounding names in history associated with this kind of activity is that of Pheidippides. The Greek soldier delivered the message of a battle victory to the Athenian people after running to Athens all the way from Marathon, 42.2 km away from the Greek capital. The same event lies at the origins of the Olympic marathon, first held in Athens back in 1896 and which originally had the runners dressed up in armours very similar to the ones worn by the Athenian soldiers in the Battle of Marathon. Moreover, the marathon has kept the running distance of 42.2 km. However, this distance was only set in the 20th century, in spite of its ancient origins.

Of course, courier companies now use different much more advanced means to carry out their courier delivery activity in their attempt to reach maximum efficiency levels. The railroad system, for instance, brought about a major change in the courier activity by reducing both the delivery times and the costs significantly. Moreover, it managed to do so while ensuring the safe delivery of bulk shipments as well. Later on, diesel-powered and gasoline-powered trucks were revealed as highly efficient means of transportation. Next was the so-called hub and spoke system, which brought air transportation to the forefront. And the list can go on. Each of these new courier delivery solutions found their way into the courier industry and consolidated their position in the transportation pyramid, creating an ideal context for the development of various types of courier services as well.

However, while the means serving the aforementioned goals to achieve maximum time effectiveness and efficiency may develop as a result of the constantly advancing technological field, the underlying principle of the courier business will always be the same. Moreover, the progress made within this industry and therefore its advent may be clear, but there is no way to anticipate where it is headed. In this context, the industry stakeholders at least owe it to their predecessors to know where it all started from.


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