What is last mile delivery?


Last mile services are getting lots of press in transportation circles these days, but what exactly is last mile delivery?


Simply put, a last mile provider handles freight over the first or final link in cargo’s journey from origin to destination. Last mile delivery connects the shipper to the long haul trucker or air cargo carrier moving the goods to the destination region.


The final mile (the last leg of the trip) is perhaps the most critical part of the journey because the customer resides at the journey’s end. That’s where customized needs including appointments, special handling, inside delivery, and assembly or packing requirements come in.


Because of these unique service offerings, last mile delivery is the least cost-efficient stage of the supply chain adding logistical challenges as shippers attempt to solve for both efficiency, as well as, environmentally responsible solutions. All the while providing the tailored service customers expect.


What makes last mile delivery so important?


We’ve discussed the Amazon effect before. According to the folks at Investopedia.com, “The Amazon effect refers to the impact created by the online, e-commerce or digital marketplace on the traditional brick and mortar business model due to the change in shopping patterns, customer expectations and a new competitive landscape.”


The Amazon effect and its profound impact on customer expectations has created an unprecedented need for quality last mile delivery services. Consumer demand for rapid home delivery is driving volume for last mile services and creating a mighty challenge for providers to service wide-ranging residential areas in a safe, timely, and cost-effective manner. A skilled last mile delivery provider offers customized solutions in the commercial space for high value freight for the medical device, retail, pharmaceutical, and consumer electronics industries.  


Last mile delivery and the future.


As the shift to online purchasing continues, many shippers will be looking to replace brick-and- mortar stores with online strategies. And last mile delivery will be a necessary component of those strategies. 


The necessity of cost-effective last mile components will require providers to come up with innovative ways to save money, provide a high level of service to meet customer expectations, while minimizing the impact on the community’s environment.  At the same time, we can expect last mile services to continue offering speed and visibility for high value freight in a way that many traditional freight companies are unable to accommodate.