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  • Writer's pictureTeam CargoTalk

Are cargo and courier working in tandem?

International courier companies in the GCC countries handle air cargo and utilize different modes of transportation to ferry their packages. They are dedicated to ensuring all our solutions are environmentally friendly and contribute to a greener future. What makes them work in tandem, CARGOTALK explores.

Abigail Mathias

Cargo companies are usually used for bulk cargo or those that need special handling and management. They can handle large cargos and send them anywhere in the world. Depending on the products transported can hike the costs.

Courier companies are suitable for documents and small items and those that are very valuable. Most, if not all, courier companies have websites where you can browse the services they offer and their cost.

They are usually either just courier or cargo companies or both. The biggest courier companies usually also handle cargos, and they utilize different modes of transporting their packages and cargos.

Mary Oxley

Currently, the opportunities in air freight for DHL Global Forwarding revolve around decarbonization. Approximately 16 per cent of global CO2 emissions stem from transportation, with the sector contributing billions of metric tonnes of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere annually.

However, biofuels such as sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) have the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of air freight, benefiting both the industry and shippers. In fact, sustainability and environmentally friendly transportation are increasingly becoming important and have an advantage, as customers and consumers demonstrate a growing awareness of sustainability.

At DHL Global Forwarding, we are committed to cultivating a sustainable workplace and realigning our personnel policies to be entirely sustainable. The objective extends beyond providing green solutions: we are dedicated to ensuring that all our solutions are environmentally friendly and contribute to a greener future.

Through our GoGreen Plus service, we offer DHL Global Forwarding customers a convenient option to reduce their CO2 emissions, while utilizing SAF and Sustainable Marine Fuel. This carbon reduction is achieved by procuring sustainable fuels through partnerships and matching the consumption with our customers’ needs.

The ‘book and claim’ mechanism eliminates the need for physical traceability of fuel throughout the supply chain. This is because the environmental attributes of sustainable fuels, such as SAF, are separate from the physical fuel itself and can be purchased independently. However, with the increasing demand, there is a critical need to scale up availability of sustainable fuels.

Freight forwarders USP

DHL Global Forwarding’s distinction lies in its global network, complemented by the expertise of its specialists across all regions. Through reliable partnerships with major air freight carriers, we offer our customers ample air freight capacity at a reasonable cost. We also provide a range of value-added services, encompassing track and trace solutions, consolidation, and deconsolidation services as well as customs, pickup, and delivery services for both initial and final stages of transportation. Boosted by our comprehensive carbon intelligence and sustainability solutions, we empower our customers to effectively serve their markets and foster business growth. Our digital solutions, such as ‘myDHLi’ customer portal, grants our customers access to our complete range of transport offerings. Simultaneously, they gain complete transparency not only pertaining to shipments, but also regarding all associated data and documents.

Supriya Salve

Courier and cargo services can work in tandem within the logistics and transportation industry, each fulfilling different roles while contributing to the overall movement of goods and packages. Let us explore how these two services can work together and their significance in the industry, as well as how larger companies in the GCC region handle air

cargo and utilize various modes of transportation.

Specialization: Couriers often specialize in fast and small-scale deliveries, catering to individual customers and smaller businesses. Cargo services typically handle larger shipments, bulk goods, and freight. By collaborating, they can provide a complete range of transportation solutions.

Last-Mile Delivery: Couriers excel in LMD, ensuring that packages reach their final destinations promptly. Cargo services focus on the transportation of goods between cities or countries. Combining these services ensures smooth transitions from long-distance transportation to local delivery.

Efficiency and speed: Couriers emphasize speed, making them suitable for time-sensitive deliveries. Cargo services handle larger volumes and can optimize routes for cost-effectiveness. By coordinating these services, companies can maintain efficiency while accommodating various delivery requirements.


The relationship between courier and cargo services is vital for several reasons:

Comprehensive solutions: The collaboration allows companies to offer comprehensive logistics solutions, catering to a wide range of customer needs.

Flexibility: Customers benefit from flexible options, whether they require rapid courier services or cost-effective cargo transport.

Supply chain optimization: Companies can optimize their supply chain by utilizing the strengths of both services, ensuring efficient transportation from start to finish.

Market reach: This collaboration enhances market reach, enabling businesses to target various segments, from individual consumers to corporate clients.

Transportation in GCC

In the GCC region, air cargo plays a vital role due to its strategic location, international trade, and growing economies. Larger companies in the GCC often utilize a combination of transportation modes for their cargo and packages:

Air freight: Air cargo is crucial for rapid international shipments and connecting the GCC countries with global markets. Major airports, such as Dubai International Airport and Hamad International Airport in Qatar, serve as key hubs for air freight.

Sea freight: The GCC’s proximity to major shipping routes makes sea freight

an important mode of transportation, particularly for bulk goods and trade with distant markets.

Road transportation: Well-developed road networks within the GCC facilitate land-based transportation for courier and cargo services, supporting regional trade.

Intermodal transport: Many larger companies adopt intermodal transportation, seamlessly switching between air, sea, and road modes to optimize efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Moe Abeidat

Aramex has become the first logistics company in the GCC region to test live tracking for last mile delivery, using the Mobility Services from Google Maps Platform and in partnership with OniGroup.

At Aramex, we are always excited by new technology innovation opportunities to optimize our operations and offer more fulfilling experiences to customers by harnessing new frontiers in technology.

The latest iteration of this is the roll out of the beta testing for live tracking for last mile delivery in the GCC, where we are deploying predictive Artificial Intelligence (AI) along with the latest navigation technology in collaboration with Google and OniGroup, to drive digital transformation across the region’s logistics ecosystem.

The innovative live tracking functionality not only expands our digital capabilities but will focus on elevating three parallel experiences which are: keeping our customers engaged and informed, keeping our Delivery Champions on track throughout the day with a much more improved experience, and keeping our fleet performing at its peak to better serve our customers.

Lothar Moehle

Overall, there are different definitions as to what a courier shipment is. I am excluding any ‘On-Board Courier’ shipment, as they require a totally different process and handling. Typically, the on-board courier is travelling as a passenger in the aircraft and any goods OBC is handled by the airline as luggage.

Other urgent shipments often defined as courier, express, or expedited services are typically small in size, e.g. 32 kg maximum weight, with measurement curbs per package. These types of courier services are offered by the well-known integrator service operators, which are easily distinguishable by their corporate colour.

These integrator services are handling all activities, such as collection from shipper, handling in warehouse, loading cargo into unit load devices (ULDs), and the aircraft operation and of final delivery by themselves. For these operations, they use their own planning and measuring systems. There is the perception that these services are quicker than the forwarder-airline offering, although that is not always the case.

Stakeholders in the air cargo industry are collaborating closely, despite several different operators being involved in the movement of the freight. Due to sharing the transport plan and data exchange in real time for status updates, the cooperation among Cargo iQ members can be described as “virtually integrated services”.

However, very often even integrators with their own network of flight operations are using regular airlines. In these instances, the integrators are handing over the shipments like any other consolidator or forwarder to the airline and they are issuing a standard master air waybill.

In this scenario, the Cargo iQ methodology is available to integrator companies and the airlines they are using. As a matter of fact,

frequently, the airline used is a Cargo iQ member and they are applying the Cargo iQ standards, even if the integrator is not a Cargo iQ member.

It is well known that integrators offer typical forwarding services in a different company or business model. In cooperation with the respective airlines (often Cargo iQ members), they are operating in a traditional forwarder- airline environment.

On the other hand, there are also forwarding companies offering typical courier services to their customers—as a one-stop-shop—in cooperation with the airlines but even in cooperation with courier / integrator companies for last-mile deliveries (LMDs).

Overall, there is a trend of cooperation among the forwarder – airline – integrator communities, which is often not clearly visible to the goods owners. This cooperation has grown successfully over the years. The common denominator is that all parties are ultimately working to satisfy their customers’ requirements for high quality standards.

Prashanth Balakrishnan

Orient Cargo, as a company operating in the air cargo industry, likely faces a combination of challenges and opportunities. Here are some of the main ones:


• Global economic conditions: fluctuations in the global economy can impact cargo demand. Economic downturns may lead to reduced consumer spending and manufacturing activity, affecting the need for air freight services

• Fuel costs fluctuation: Fluctuation of fuel costs can

impact operational costs and profitability

• Regulatory compliance: The air cargo industry is subject to a range of global and local regulations, including safety, security, and customs procedures. Ensuring compliance can be complex and time-consuming

• Security concerns: Adhering to security protocols and preventing theft, tampering, and illegal trafficking is a continuous challenge

• Capacity constraints: limited airport infrastructure and available cargo space on

aircraft can lead to capacity constraints, especially during peak seasons.

• Technological advancement: keeping up with tech advancements is essential for efficiency and competitiveness. Companies need to invest in tracking and management systems to optimize operations

• Competition: the air cargo industry is competitive, with numerous players vying for market share. Differentiating Orient Cargo’s services and maintaining customer loyalty is vital


• e-commerce growth: the rise of e-commerce has led to an increased demand for air cargo services, especially for time-sensitive deliveries.

Orient Cargo is tapping this opportunity by offering

specialized services

• emerging markets: air cargo presents opportunities in emerging markets where transportation infrastructure might be less developed. We are catering to growing demand in these regions.

• supply chain integration: by providing end-to-end supply chain solutions, we are becoming a more comprehensive partner for businesses

looking for seamless

logistics solutions

• technological innovation: Leveraging advanced technologies such as IoT, data analytics, and automation can enhance efficiency and customer experience. Real-time tracking,

and process automation

set Orient Cargo apart from

its competitors

• Collaboration with airlines: building strong partnerships with airlines and a cargo-focused approach is helping Orient Cargo access new routes, expand network, and optimize cargo capacity


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