Have you encountered occasions when you have to send a bulky physical item to someone, such as a journalist?

Probably more than five years ago, whenever we needed to send a physical item to a journalist or a stakeholder here, we would call up a courier company, and one of their guys would turn up promptly, and within a couple of hours, the item would have arrived at the destination. The costs were reasonable, comparable to a single cab trip.

Many years on today, the situation has changed drastically.

Just now, we needed to send a small laptop, a handheld game console, and a few T-shirts to a location in Orchard Road. The courier company we use often, quoted – S$70 for a single trip from our office in the central business district (CBD) to Orchard Road.

Let me put the distance in perspective. According to Google Maps, the longest route is 5.2 km, and takes 9 minutes by car.

If I were to hail a typical cab from my office, I would be able to make around 9 to 10 trips with S$70 to Orchard Road. If I were to hail a fancy limousine cab, I can take around 5 trips to the same location.

In short, I would be able to take a trip to the location in Orchard Road by cab, have a nice Americano coffee, take another cab back to the office, and have more than S$50 left in my pocket.

Eventually, we went to another courier company, one that has more limited offerings, but a more palatable cost of S$42. Not a cost easy to swallow, but better than S$70.

Business costs are escalating and no business is spared. There are costs in rental, manpower, equipment, software, utilities, taxes, etc, all of which are increasing, some more than others. Still, the increase has to be congruent with the reality compared to equitable offerings, rather than outpace reality.