We tracked two courier parcels from start to finish to see where they went

MyBroadband did experiments to track the movement of courier packages from The Courier Guy and Fastway, which revealed the routes taken by these packages.

To track their movement, MyBroadband placed Chipfox Internet of Things GPS tracking devices which use the SqwidNet Sigfox network inside the parcels.

The packages were sent from our office in Centurion to Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) and were then returned after they were received.

One parcel was sent with overnight shipping from The Courier Guy and one with standard shipping from Fastway.

We found that The Courier Guy used air freight to move parcels along this route.

Fastway also used air freight from Gauteng to Gqeberha but used road freight for the return trip.

A more complete description of each trip is provided below.


The Courier Guy overnight shipping

The parcel sent using The Courier Guy’s door-to-door service was collected from our office in Irene on a Friday morning.

It made a few stops with the courier driver before being taken to the Johannesburg depot.

There it spent a few hours, after which it left for the cargo area of OR Tambo Airport.

The parcel took an overnight flight to Gqeberha. After the plane landed, it was taken straight to the courier’s local depot.

The package spent the weekend at the depot before going out for delivery on Monday morning.

The tracking showed how the courier vehicle made multiple stops along the way before delivering our parcel.

On the trip back, the parcel only made one stop for another collection on the Monday morning before heading to the Port Elizabeth depot.

The parcel did not spend long at the depot before being placed on an evening flight from the Port Elizabeth International Airport to Johannesburg.

After landing at OR Tambo airport, the parcel was taken directly to the courier’s depot.

It spent a full day at the depot before going out for delivery on Wednesday morning. This was likely due to the high load on couriers during the December period.


Fastway normal shipping

The Fastway parcel was picked up at the office on Thursday and made a few stops on its way to the Pretoria depot in Centurion.

It was sent to the Fastway Johannesburg depot at OR Tambo Airport two hours later.

The package spent the night at the depot, and instead of being flown to Gqeberha, the courier placed it on a vehicle for a road trip.

The vehicle took the R59 and then joined the N1, continuing its journey to Colesberg.

From Colesberg, the parcel continued on the N9/N10/N2 to the Gqeberha depot, where it stayed until Monday morning.

The parcel made a few stops on the way to its final delivery on Monday afternoon.

The return trip started on a Wednesday when the courier collected our parcel from the test location in Gqeberha. It made a few stops before proceeding to the depot.

The package was again driven to Johannesburg — this time through the night.

The tracker struggled with GPS signal during this trip. It fell back on antenna triangulation, which showed that the parcel travelled the same route as when going towards Gqeberha.

The parcel arrived at the Johannesburg depot on Thursday morning, where it stayed until Friday morning.

On the way to the office, the package made a stop at the Pretoria depot and a few other addresses for deliveries.


Now read: SA Post Office’s Speed Services tested — and compared with other courier services

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We tracked two courier parcels from start to finish to see where they went