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Transportation and Logistics

February, 2017

What Good Is A Package Tracking Number?

If you’re new to the whole mailing and receiving game, you might be a little thrown at all of the options available for you at your local post or shipping service office. Today, we’re going to focus on something that’s generally available from all types of shipping services, from your local federally owned post office to both expensive and cheap international courier services. We’re talking about tracking numbers.

Tracking numbers are usually part of a barcode or QR code on a label attached to the package. These are printed and placed on your package at the mailing office, and is scanned at each new location or change of hands in order to tell the scanner where the package needs to go. When you are given a tracking number, you can search for your package in the shipping service’s database in order to check where it was last scanned as well as being given an estimate for when it will be delivered.

Tracking numbers are especially useful if you’re trying to keep shipping costs down, but still want a little bit of assurance your package will arrive. For example, an international package from Japan to the United States was given a tracking number. The package’s location was updated periodically as it was left the original facility, was placed on a ship, and was eventually received at a sorting facility in New York where it appeared to sit for two weeks. An inquiry was made, with the tracking number included, and four days later the package arrived in Indiana. The exterior had received some serious damage, but due to the well-padded interior all contents remained intact.  A good, cheap international courier service may actually include this number at no extra charge, which makes it even more useful to have.

In conclusion, having a tracking number for your package is an inexpensive way to help keep track of where your package is, in order to know when to expect it and also to have an idea who to contact should it go missing.

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