The holiday season of 2016 marked one of the busiest ever for postal and shipping services. Online shopping and the convenience of overnight or expedited delivery, directly to your home, estimate the volume this year at 750 million packages. This represents an increase of more than 12 percent from 2015, and a whole lot of packages moving from point “A” to point “B” in organized chaos that gets the job done with a less than 5 percent failure rate.
While the United States Postal Service has no official motto, the familiar sentence, “Neither snow, nor rain, nor dark of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” has often been associated with the American postmen and women. The true origin is likely derived from a quote in the “Histories of Herodotus,” referring to the couriers of the Persian Empire. “It is said that as many days as there are in the whole journey, so many are the men and horses that stand along the road, each horse and man at the interval of a day’s journey; and these are stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed.”
Herodotus wrote these things sometime around 500 BC, confirming the fact that interstate travel and over-the-road commerce has been practiced for thousands of years, regardless of the conditions imposed by mother nature.
Modern day transportation enables us almost instant access to the items we want and need, and like the Persian couriers of long ago, it relies on a network to function. This network depends heavily on the trucking industry, which ships an estimated 90 percent of consumer goods within the United States. The truckers feed the postal services from ocean ports, and the postal services feed your mailbox with all the delightful things you order from the convenience of your home.
As weather conditions deteriorate through the winter season, even modern day transportation has its share of obstacles to overcome when it comes to delivering freight. It’s scary stuff when roads are icy, and contrary to popular belief, even the USPS will call it if things get too dangerous.
It’s easy to forget just how the things we as consumers consume, get to the places we consume them. People rarely consider it, until the things they want are not available. Thankfully, this is rarely the case, because we are fortunate enough to have a thriving network of transportation professionals who are tough tested, and get the job done. Do your part by giving them room, especially in bad weather, on the highways and roads we share.