In this era of widespread mobile telecommunications use, the courier service is thriving as a lucrative business. Customers are extremely satisfied with this transport of documents and other items with total security, inside the country and outside.
Once, the postal system was the sole way to carry out the same service. When telephone arrived it was restricted to some specific people and specific areas until the arrival of the mobile revolution in the middle of 1990s.
In the wake of postal system's inefficiency, which includes procrastination in delivery at the right time, missing documents and other formidable weaknesses, the courier service has emerged as an attractive alternative.
Sources said, "Even at the golden age of mobile communication people have to depend on courier service for sending any document or parcel which is not possible through mobile, internet or any other medium of communication."
Over the years people have developed a near unshakable faith in the courier service in terms of prompt delivery of parcels and documents while maintaining secrecy.
Courier sources said, "Currently about 15 companies are engaged in sending documents, parcels, letters across the country as well as abroad."
Continental, Sundarban, Dreamland, Baishaki, Padma, Korotoa, Resala, Air Express and Bangladesh Courier are the top names and most trusted among the couriers in the country.
Among the companies Continental is the biggest with about 6000 agents across the country followed by Sundarban and other companies, sources informed. About 13000 to 14000 agents of different courier services are working round the clock across the country.
Normally, through a courier service a document reaches its destination within twenty-four hours if inside Bangladesh. In case of foreign countries, it takes a little longer, courier sources said.
Courier companies charge Tk 15 for delivery of letters within country. In case of parcel the charge is Tk 8 to 10 per Kg. But concessions are on offer to clients, different kinds for different professions and income like students, unemployed people, youth, businessmen and so on. For these people, courier companies charge Tk 8 for a letter and give the same level of concession when they send parcel or any other document. Continental, for instance distributed discount cards from the time they first started operating in the country.
Continental is spreading its network even at the union level to make sending and receiving of documents and parcel easier and simple so that people can send their document and parcel. Courier agents said, "We place the greatest emphasis on living up to people's trust and ensuring security and secrecy to keep the flow of business."
About the incident of August 17 when about 500 'bombs' went off simultaneously around the whole country and the sending of explosives and firearms through courier service, the agent of Continental of Paltan Branch Abdul Gafur said, "We have been completely dumbfounded by the irresponsible and criminal behaviour of some people! How could people send destructive material in the name of documents! This is an attack on the future of our business."
"That incident made us stop and think. Now we check any parcel or any document but unfortunately it has happened."
Whether they will use metal detector for checking parcel and document to be sure about the carrying of destructive elements into parcels agents replied, "Yes, time has come for us to be extra careful otherwise incidents like that will happen and then it will seriously effect our business."
Some agents think the government should set specific rules for courier companies to comply with so that further incidents of delivery of dangerous material can be avoided at the outset.