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Difference Between Speed Post and Courier: An Insight

sahil bajaj

Sahil Bajaj

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

March 6, 2024

12 min read

The speedy delivery services of the postal department and couriers enable you to send parcels to any distance, within the country and abroad, in the minimum possible time. However, with the advent of telephones, fax machines, and the Internet, the use of postal services saw a significant decline. Nonetheless, these technological developments could not hinder the use of postal and courier services since many people still prefer sending letters, important documents, and parcels through these services. Moreover, businesses or individuals need courier or postal services to deliver goods to different locations. With the growing demand for these services, they saw a substantial upgrade over time. It allows quicker and more convenient delivery of documents and goods to their destinations. 

A recent market research report by IMARC shows that the global market size of courier, express, and parcel (CEP) was USD 39.8 billion in 2023. Going forward, this market is expected to reach USD 623.3 Billion by 2032, demonstrating a 3.8% growth rate (CAGR) during the 2024-2032 forecast period. Some of the major factors that propel this market include the booming eCommerce sector, the increasing popularity of on-demand delivery, trade globalisation, rapid urbanisation, digital transformation, and sustainability goals.

Today’s fast-paced world and globally expanding businesses require secure, fast, and timely parcel delivery. Speed post and courier services come into play to fulfill this need by offering reliable solutions. This article will help you better understand the workings of these services and the difference between speed post and courier services. It will allow you to choose the best option for your specific delivery requirements.

Difference Between Speed Post and Courier

Speed Post: Definition

Speed post refers to a premium, swift, and reliable delivery service that helps individuals, organisations, and businesses deliver their parcels and mail to various destinations effortlessly. The postal department owned by the government offers these speed post services in nations worldwide. 

The extensive speed post network, covering urban and remote areas, serves a large customer base that’s looking for fast, safe, and timely delivery. Needless to say, Speed Post Service is an efficient communication bridge and commerce tool that offers affordability and speedy delivery for its customers. 

When is Speed Post Service Used?

People rely on speed post service mostly when there’s an urgency for delivering time-sensitive parcels or important documents. You may need successful and safe deliveries in a short time. This kind of postal service is a good fit for people or businesses requiring quick and reliable delivery for things like urgent contracts, legal documents, or other personal stuff or letters.

Features of Speed Post Service

Speed postal services are a viable delivery option with many impressive features that facilitate successful and speedy deliveries. Some of the key attributes of postal services may include the following:

Quick Delivery

Individuals or businesses can deliver their packages and mail through speed post services within a few hours or a few days. This service has its priority set on executing fast deliveries to meet its customer’s needs within a short period.  

Tracking Ability

In today’s time, knowing the whereabouts of packages throughout the journey is a dire need of people. The new technology has spoiled the majority, and they expect transparency and visibility during the transit. Speed post allows the senders and recipients to keep track of the progress of their documents or packages during transportation.

Domestic and Cross-border Reach

Since businesses are rapidly expanding even into international trade, they require speedy international deliveries as well as domestic ones. Many people also have their family and friends staying abroad whom they might want to communicate with or send stuff to. Speed post services are adept at catering to both domestic and international deliveries while covering various locations within the country and across the globe.

Evidence of Delivery or Receipt

As postal services deal with numerous customers each day and want to ensure each one’s satisfaction, they provide proof of delivery with each parcel sent. The delivery service personnel often require a signature from the recipient to indicate to the sender that the receiver has accepted the package. This proof confirms the receipt of the parcel and informs the sender about the successful delivery. 

Courier: Definition

Similar to conventional postal services, a courier service offers customers fast, reliable, safe, and timely delivery of packages, documents, and parcels to and fro various destinations. However, there is a difference between speed post and courier. In contrast to speed post services coming from government-owned postal facilities, private companies or organisations responsible for the transportation of packages offer courier services. 

Couriers provide an array of services, from same-day and next-day delivery to international delivery options. They also focus on speed, safety, and tracking of the parcels. The advanced technology used by courier companies allows the senders and receivers to stay updated with the shipment’s progress in real time. 

When is Courier Service Utilised?

Courier services promote multipurpose use, as they’re widely utilised by businesses and individuals for eCommerce shipments, business-to-business deliveries, and personal parcel deliveries. Some packages may require special handling or may need to reach in a specific timeframe. Courier services particularly prove helpful in such scenarios where customers need to satisfy their specific requirements.

Features of Courier Service

Catering to the regular and niche requirements and efficiently fulfilling them is what courier service is all about. The key features that help a courier service facilitate these efficient deliveries are mentioned below:

Agile Delivery Options

There’s enormous flexibility in courier services, with its numerous delivery options. The multiple delivery options are capable of accommodating many particular customer requirements. Businesses and individuals can access same-day delivery, next-day delivery, and time-definite delivery for their packages through the facilities provided by courier services. These delivery variants may have differing charges depending on the delivery speed required and package specifications.  

Large-scale Tracking Ability

Most courier companies use the latest technology, like online tracking software or mobile applications, to enable package tracking. Senders can monitor the movement of their packages throughout the transit journey. The proficient systems also provide real-time updates on the whereabouts of the parcel to the sender. It makes the service very transparent, and there is visibility all along the transit. 

Customised Handling 

Individuals or businesses may require special handling of specific items that may be fragile, perishable or of high value. Couriers extend specialised handling facilities, like using protective packaging, to ensure safe and damage-free transportation and delivery of these packages.

Additional Value-added Services

Besides all the other courier services, customers may enjoy other value-added services, including proof of delivery with e-signatures, insurance cover, and customised shipping instructions. 

Speed Post Vs Courier Service: Key Differences (in table)

Let’s look at the difference between speed post and courier in terms of tracking, speed, and other factors. 

Speed Post ServiceCourier Service
Entities offering these servicesIndia Post, the government-owned Indian national postal facility, is responsible for providing Speed Post service in the country. Several private firms that specialise in logistics and package delivery, such as DHL Express India Pvt Ltd, Blue Dart Express Limited, First Flight Courier Limited, etc., are the sources for offering courier services. 
List of servicesThe traditional speed post offers many services, including Speed Post Domestic, Speed Post Express, Speed Post International, and Speed Post Business.The types of services a courier offers involve same-day delivery, express delivery, next-day delivery, standard delivery, and specialised handling services, such as transportation of fragile or perishable items or, temperature-sensitive goods like chocolates, and more.
Network operationsIndia Post uses a vast network covering domestic and international locations to facilitate speed post delivery and serve a wide customer base. Courier companies operate through self-curated networks or partnerships with various delivery partners. Their coverage depends on the firm’s network and may limit the delivery locations.
Tracking facilitiesSpeed post tracking enables customers to monitor their shipment progress throughout the transportation using reference codes or tracking ID/number. Courier companies also allow customers to track packages in transit, but not all private couriers offer this facility. However, a few firms may offer real-time updates of the whereabouts of their shipment. 
Delivery SpeedSpeed Post comparatively is a faster delivery service, considering the amount of time taken by postal departments and courier service generally, at all levels, including major cities, local, and tehsil levels. The speed of delivery may vary in courier, depending upon the type and category of service a customer picks. It can range from same-day and next-day delivery to standard or economy services.
PaperworkSpeed Post has set a prerequisite for customers to fill out shipping forms, attach shipping labels, and provide necessary customs documents for international shipping.Couriers may or may not require customers to complete shipping forms, attach shipping labels, and provide relevant customs documentation. This is all based on the nature of their shipment and the destination country.
Packaging options Speed Post services also provide several packaging options, like cartons or boxes, envelopes, and various other packing materials, considering the size, and type of the shipment.Courier services mostly require their customers to handle packaging at their end, or may offer packaging materials at an  additional cost.
InsurancePostal services extend optional insurance coverage to shield the customers against any probable theft, loss, and/or damage of the shipment during transit.Courier companies may or may not offer optional insurance coverage to protect the shipment. They may offer insurance depending on the declared value of the items.
Availability Speed Post offers a 24×7 booking facility across all major cities in the country. However, in other cities or towns, the service is available only on business days.Customers can avail of Courier services on all days including Sundays and holidays.
PricingThe postal service uses one rate across the country, considering the distance of the destination and the weight of the package or parcel. It usually provides pocket-friendly prices to customers.  Courier pricing generally varies depending on factors like destination distance, weight, dimensions, service level, value-added services (insurance, packaging material), and any other applicable surcharges.
Regulatory ComplianceSpeed Post adheres to the regulations and guidelines of the postal authority in that country Courier services follow the regulations and guidelines set by the country they operate in while complying with the shipping and customs policies and regulations.
UtilisationSpeed Post is useful for providing reliable postal services, especially for delivering parcels, documents, letters, and small packages within the country and across borders.Customers often prefer Courier services for time-sensitive or high-value shipments, since they provide an array of delivery options and quicker transit times.


Owing to the hyper-busy lifestyle and schedules, people can barely spare extra hours to wait for the delivery of their parcels or packages. Therefore, the introduction of speed post and courier services is a boon in this era. These services have considerably reduced delivery times through their lightning-speed delivery services. The shipping process is now more quick and convenient than ever, with options like same-day and next-day delivery. These services are more or less equally efficient, with a slight difference between speed post and courier. 

In addition to the delivery speed and efficiency of speed post and courier, the online tracking software is a productive add-on. Both Speed Post and Courier offer package tracking, which allows their customers to track the movement of their parcels any time. Speed post and courier services pay special attention to safeguarding the parcels all through the voyage and delivering them in a time-bound manner.

How much time does it take for Speed Post to deliver parcels?

There are different time frames for delivery depending on the type of service an individual or business chooses. If they book a parcel for local delivery, the standard timeframe would be 1-2 business days. Local refers to deliveries within identified PIN codes (for metropolitans), within municipality limits (for cities other than metro cities), and inside the same PIN-code delivery jurisdiction in the case of small towns. A parcel booked in and for delivery in a metro city takes around 1 to 3 business days to deliver. At the same time, parcel delivery between state capitals may take 1 to 4 business days. A package booked and delivered in the same state also takes nearly 1 to 4 business days. If a customer needs a parcel delivery to any other destination within the country, then it may take 4 to 5 business days.

Is there a difference between speed post and courier in India based on 
weight limitations and package size?

Speed Post and courier services can surely have specific limitations based on the size and weight of the package they are capable of handling.

Speed post or courier; which is cheaper in pricing?

Speed Post and courier services have different pricing models. The cost of these services is usually based on the delivery speed, package weight, distance, and additional service features. A package sent through courier may take 5-7 business days to deliver. However, the speed post may take another working day for the same. Hence, Speed Post is generally cheaper than courier.

Which is faster: Speed Post or courier in India?

Considering all types of deliveries, courier delivery is usually always quicker than postal service delivery. Although speed may not be essential for particular deliveries, specifically the ones with high-value items, the time difference between speed post and courier delivery is significant.

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