Every day, twice a day, like clockwork, there are probably two things that occur in your office. The express
delivery companies drop parcels off. Then, toward the end of the day, the express delivery companies pick parcels up. Despite the many variables inherent to the practice of moving huge trucks through traffic and parking lots, it’s astounding to discover the consistency of their arrival at your door.
Think about the role played by efficient delivery in the growth of our country’s economy. Even in the earliest frontier days, there was a striking degree of regularity in deliveries made by the Pony Express, whose messengers toiled through wind, rain, sleet, and snow. There is much to be admired in some of this nation’s earliest forms of delivery, especially since much of our original infrastructure remains viable to this day.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Erie Canal has recently proven itself to be a vital artery in the transit world once again. As higher fuel prices have made delivery by land more costly, the savings presented by barges traveling on the Erie Canal have triggered more than a 30 percent boost in traffic on the waterway this summer.
What is truly remarkable about the Erie Canal is the enormous efficiency of its 338 miles of waterways. According to an article in The New York Times, “The canal still remains the most fuel-efficient way to ship goods between the East Coast and the upper Midwest. One gallon of diesel pulls one ton of cargo 59 miles by truck, 202 miles by train, and 514 miles by canal barge... A single barge can carry 3,000 tons, enough to replace 100 trucks.”
The ingenuity inherent in the construction of the canal is the engine that has run commerce throughout our history. The quest for a better way is what has bolstered the success of our enterprises over the centuries.
Maybe an even more valuable lesson to be learned from the Erie Canal is the fact that sometimes even the most worn-out practices can sparkle with renewed purpose. As our industry continues to grow and change, there are many vestiges of the past that continue to inform the present. Copper is still here, running alongside fiber, sometimes in the same cable. Similarly, the objective of solving a client’s communication and delivery needs remains a core value to our operations.
If you ever feel old fashioned in your ideals or objectives, just think about those mules dragging barges through the canal in the 19th century. They may have been replaced by steamboats and diesel vessels over time, but they were striving for the same goal. The safe passage of goods through miles of terrain. No matter what the medium, the end result is the same.