Tuesday, 23 December 2008

The Pope’s courier

I have just been reading this fascinating article in the Guardian about the Pope’s Courier. On average Thaddeus Kühnel does 150,000 miles to collect and deliver gifts from the Pope. This year he has collected his favourite German Sweetmeats (a carload full!) and a footwarmer.

With the Vatican issuing guidelines regarding environmental issues and encouraging their congregation to be greener, I felt they could have been a bit greener themselves. They could have used the secure (diplomatic)  postal systems to deliver his items. Looking at it in more detail, I realise the safest, most secure option for him would have been a dedicated courier which is exactly what he used

When security is of the utmost importance a dedicated courier is the very best option, I hope that Thaddeus Kühnel has his vehicle tracked in case of hijack and remembers to secure his vehicle every time he leaves it. I am sure he uses up to date software to plan his routes - so that they are the most efficient. I know he will be co-loading whenever possible to keep costs down and make the fuel go further…

I also hope that Mr Kühnel has changed his vehicle since this article was published, as he could now become a target. It’s vital to keep things confidential as a courier and unless you have your customers approval, discretion is a must. Especially when your client is a religious world leader.


Infallible Christmas gifts: Pope’s courier reveals secrets | World news | The Guardian

Kühnel drove from the pope’s home state of Bavaria to the Vatican yesterday to personally deliver this year’s boot-load of food, as well as five Christmas trees that were strapped to the roof of his car.

Lebkuchen honey and spice biscuits, stollen German Christmas cake, and chocolate were among the treats, Kühnel told German media. Of the trees, which came from the pope’s home town, Marktl am Inn, Kühnel said: “One is for the Pope’s living room, and two are for private chapels.”

Butchers in Marktl am Inn began selling Ratzinger sausages in his honour when he became pope in 2005.

There was also a present from the pope’s brother, Georg, 84, a retired priest. Kühnel would not reveal what it was, but said “usually they give each other practical things, like wristwatches and electric foot-warmers”.

Kühnel said he had already clocked up around 250,000km 150,000 miles in his car, delivering goods to the pope that he had personally requested, along with presents from his old friends, staff and distant relatives. “I deliver all the things he misses about Bavaria, including fruit nectar, Bavarian sausages from his favourite restaurant, advent wreaths and German sweets. He has a very sweet tooth,” Kühnel said.

“The first thing I brought to Rome, in my car, was a paschal candle, as well as some fruit from Adelholzen and mineral water. He likes the Christmas cookies that women from Bavarian parishes bake at home as well as those made at certain monasteries. He also likes the chocolates made in Aachen.”

The Pope’s courier, Dec 2008


It's not an easy job delivering goods from food stuffs to presents, but having a happy customer is very rewarding.

Merry Christmas

Sarah & Kevin

Monday, 22 December 2008

10,000 hours and you STILL want someone else to deliver?

This week I have been reading articles about someone called Malcolm Gladwell and the Outliers, and in these articles research by a chap called K Anders Ericsson is quoted.

In the early 90s, the psychologist K Anders Ericsson and two colleagues set up shop at Berlin’s elite Academy of Music. With the help of the academy’s professors, they divided the school’s violinists into three groups. The first group were the stars, the students with the potential to become world-class soloists. The second were those judged to be merely “good”. The third were students who were unlikely ever to play professionally, and intended to be music teachers in the school system. All the violinists were then asked the same question. Over the course of your career, ever since you first picked up the violin, how many hours have you practised?

Everyone, from all three groups, started playing at roughly the same time - around the age of five. In those first few years, everyone practised roughly the same amount - about two or three hours a week. But around the age of eight real differences started to emerge. The students who would end up as the best in their class began to practise more than everyone else: six hours a week by age nine, eight by age 12, 16 a week by age 14, and up and up, until by the age of 20 they were practising well over 30 hours a week. By the age of 20, the elite performers had all totalled 10,000 hours of practice over the course of their lives. The merely good students had totalled, by contrast, 8,000 hours, and the future music teachers just over 4,000 hours.

Now, I am not quite sure where this quote comes into play with Mr Gladwells book (ok, maybe it’s about genius ), but I do know that having worked at least 48 hours a week for the last 6 years delivering cargo, freight and the odd sofa or two we have clocked up at least 10,000 hours. Thats in just our own business, Kev has another 14 years experience in doing this for other companies.  So, that makes us an expert apparently…. and we certainly do know all the tips and tricks to get the best out of your delivery.

So, would you rather see the local schools piano teacher or Maksim? Well, I am sure they both have their place in life, and you choose what is appropriate. If Maksim was looking to move his grand piano, would he use Joe Blogs from down the road who had been trading 5 minutes or would he use a professional piano mover? He would use the professional piano mover of course.

We often get phone calls about Freight / Cargo deliveries that have gone wrong, and the most common these people have used someone who are cheap. They have no experience or wisdom to pay for, and then the customer  gets upset when it has gone wrong. We get upset too, why didn’t they come to us first? It would have been the far more cost effective courier option10,000 hours and you STILL want someone else to deliver?



One charge fits all for your local courier?

When you book a parcel courier do you read the small print?

Last week we took on a new customer who had read the ’small print’ and found it not to his liking until he came to us. When doing his research he found that he would often be charged a ’surcharge’ for delivering to a private address rather than a business address - between £3-£5 extra. He would also be charged a 5% fuel surcharge, and if he went over weight by even just a kilo, he would be charged an extra £3.00 as well.

He started to add it all up and realised the £8.95+VAT he was being charged for delivery wasn’t that cheap once the ’surcharges’ had been added, if fact it could double the initial price for a parcel!

At Arrow Light Haulage we believe in a transparent pricing system - that the cost is determined by the items weight, and thats it. The only extras we charge for are items such as packing and wrapping materials, again this is optional.

So, if you have a parcel to collect in Basildon, Chelmsford or West Thurrock & Dartford give us a call on 0844 884 3331 we are a flat rate courier, no surcharges unless of course you want us to charge for them ;-)



Basildon and Pitsea couriers and delivery

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