Transport carriers & service types available to you in Australia

04 November 2020

If you’re starting out or haven’t researched the market much, there are different types of transport segments available. 

Road Express

From our experience this is the largest method of delivery for ecommerce stores. This type of service provides value for money as it is delivered fairly quickly nationally at a decent price. Road Express carriers include companies like TNT Express, Star Track Express, Couriers Please, Aramex, Allied Express and many, many more. The range of products suitable for Road Express can vary from 500gm to 1 tonne. All products must be suitably packaged for shipment.

Express Premium National

This service was previously called ‘Air Express’ as most of the deliveries are delivered nationally with use of an aeroplane. However many years ago they ran into legal issues because some customers complained that nearby deliveries (e.g.  Sydney to Melbourne) actually ended up travelling via a truck overnight and delivered next day; so the transport carriers changed the name to ‘Express’ or ‘Premium’.

Either way, you will receive the fastest possible delivery service which is usually next business day to many areas. As you can understand this service comes at a premium, so merchants usually limit use to either very small products or products with a high dollar value to allow for the premium shipping cost. Major carriers providing this service are companies like TNT Express, Star Track Express, Toll Priority.

General/Bulk Carriers

This segment usually transports full trailer loads or 20ft/40ft containers, as well as pallet loads of all types of products. This isn’t really an option for a general ecommerce store.

International Carriers

As the name says, these types of carriers can import or export products for you Internationally. There are postal and express options available, each with benefits and disadvantages. Some of the main players in Australia are TNT Express, DHL Express, DHL eCommerce, Auspost, Fedex. Sea freight is also a more competitive option for bulk or large products & containers (although this service is not used widely for ecommerce stores).

Local Same Day/Taxi Trucks

Both of these segments overlap and are usually provided by the same companies that specialise in this area. They deliver mainly within the same local metropolitan area of a city. Examples are postcodes with pickup & delivery within:  2000-2232 or 3000-3210 or 4000-4207. Local same day services are usually for items 1-250kg whereas Taxi Truck services are 250kg-3000kg or more. Both are usually charged either per kilometre or per hour. Carriers like Direct Couriers, Allied Express, Toll Same Day play in this space. The Australian brand ‘Iconic’ has focused their business model around extensively using same day services for local metro deliveries.


It’s really only Australia Post in Australia that provides a postal service domestically.  They have a monopoly for the domestic mail service.

Furniture removalists

If your product is assembled furniture (e.g. sofas, dining tables, etc) then furniture removal companies are the only real option as most courier/freight companies will not transport this product. Flat packed furniture however is fine to be transported by most courier/freight services.


A viable option for the future. There is a lot of hype globally currently by Amazon and others trialing delivery of small parcels or pizza delivery, etc; but due to government regulations and safety concerns there is a lot of planning required to make this happen on a grand scale anytime soon. The other main issue for drone delivery is to high rise residential apartments: most people wouldn’t be happy to go up to the roof to collect their goods, goods might be stolen once left, and let’s not forget about weather issues.

If you’re in ecommerce you may use a variety of these services depending on your product profile and shipping strategy.

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