The basics of shipment tracking

Transportation of goods is one of the oldest businesses that has been around for centuries in one form or another, and the demand has only continued to increase as time has gone by. Back in the day, sending a package meant going over to the post office, filling out a bunch of forms, seeing your parcel disappear behind the counter, and then waiting to hear from the person you’d sent it to, that it had reached them safe and sound. And hope and pray the package did not get lost, delayed, or damaged in transit.

How times have changed! Historically, the reason to offer package tracking was just that – so senders and receivers could know about the route their package would take, and get an estimated date of delivery. Today, one can print a shipping label at home, and get the parcel collected from one’s doorstep too. And you can get information about the journey said package is undertaking, from start to finish, literally tracking its whereabouts from your doorstep to the doorstep of the person you’re sending it to – all thanks to technology.

Every package, whether sent by regular United States Postal Service or through a private courier company like FedEx, DHL, UPS, or TNT, gets a unique identification code, in the form of a bar code, and that code, when scanned with the bar scanners that every employee of the postal or courier service who is handling the package has, gives one the latest information as to its location along the trail. So, each time the parcel is loaded or unloaded from a truck, train, mail van, or airplane, it gets scanned and each successive scan updates the available information, which you can track using the tracking number that the courier service has provided you with for just that purpose.

This is real time tracking, where the courier delivery company or United States Postal Service worker has a handheld scanner which they wave in front of the package’s barcode and the information is updated online and anyone with the package’s tracking number can look up its trajectory along the path, online. Or if you prefer, you can also choose to have said information sent to your mobile phone or email id, which means you get live updates automatically. This service is not always available from every courier service or for every kind of package, but you can check to see if it is.

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