Courier City is a Zimbabwean owned Canadian-based tech startup looking to build a person-to-person courier service aimed at disrupting the traditional model of shipping documents and parcels across the world, an industry that has made companies like DHL, FedEx, and UPS billions of dollars.
The service uses existing traveler practices carrying documents and parcels on behalf of family and friends especially when traveling back to Zimbabwe from the diaspora. Now Courier City wants to make the practice beneficial to the traveler and both cheaper and more efficient for the sender.
Courier City is approaching their identified gap in the market by providing up to half price on current shipping rates from companies like DHL as well as 24hr delivery cutting the delivery time by almost a third if conventional methods had been used. Also, the traveler is given the incentive to carry and complete the delivery by being paid for being a carrier.
So how will it work?
From what we understood there are three key players in the Courier City model: the Sender, Carrier, and Receiver of the goods. Each individual plays a critical role in ensuring the safe and secure delivery of goods.
It is important to understand the role of the carrier before any other as they play the greatest role in this whole system. To be a carrier one has to follow these steps:
- Step 1: The “carrier” secures their ticket with their final destination being Harare International Airport or any one of the Canadian International ports of entry. The ticket cannot be to a separate destination where you intend on “hustling” a cheap flight to Harare. The ticket is then confirmed and approved by Courier City where you are able to register as a carrier.
- Step 2: The carrier is then matched with a “sender” with preference being given to carriers who have achieved a higher trust/rating score, so the best and most reliable carrier is always matched to a sender first.
- Step 3: The carrier collects the parcel from the departure Airport (from a Courier City depot) and drops it off at the destination Airport at another Courier City depot.
- Step 4: Once you have dropped off the parcel you are paid
The Sender of the goods can either be in Zimbabwe or in Canada. The sender registers on the Courier City platform detailing the nature of goods they want to send and the final receiver of the goods details. Once matched with a carrier, the parcel is dropped off at the departure airport for collection by the carrier.
The receiver simply has to collect the goods from the destination Airport from a Courier City Depot owing that their details match those provided by the sender. Courier City contacts the receiver that their parcel has arrived.
Courier City has three main value propositions:
- It would cost you up to half the cost of conventional means of shipping goods to and from Canada
- It would take the parcel less time to reach its destination as it’s following humans travel routes and not traditional shipping routes promising 24hrs delivery times
- Ability to interact directly with your carrier gives the whole experience a human feel which they feel is better than following a tracking code
At the present moment, Courier City is set to launch in December both in Zimbabwe and in Canada. The company expects to start off with moving documents and slowly scale up as they navigate through any potential issues, especially on the Zimbabwean side.
Sending documents should prove to be easy as there is no actual monetary value so there would be no issues with duty or taxes.
Also, a carrier can simply have the documents in their own hand luggage and move through systems without any questions, there is no law against carrying another person’s documents – it’s a favor. The setup is particularly appealing to students who may not have the required amount to not only buy a ticket but have to spend money on either side of the transaction. Sending documents to Canada can cost you up to $150 so paying half of that is a real cost saver.