Great Package Race 2004

Fedex pickup: 05 April 1345h

And they are off…!

We sent packages to:

The start

We phoned each of the carriers at 1100h on 05 April and asked them to come pick up packages:

Fedex pickup: 05 April 1345h

Fedex pickup
Fedex pickup: 05 April 1345h

DHL pickup: 05 April 1540h

DHL pickup
DHL pickup: 05 April 1540h

UPS pickup: 05 April 1600h

UPS pickup
UPS pickup: 05 April 1600h

  • 11:00AM 05 April: We phoned each of UPS, FedEx, and DHL and asked them to pick up packages at the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Tech. We had the shipping forms for UPS and Fedex ready in advance as they are widely available. We did not have shipping forms for DHL.
  • 11:05AM: DHL arrived almost immediately, as the driver was in the area. Unfortunately, we did not have DHL shipping forms ready and had to wait for them to be faxed from DHL. The driver left and promised to return soon.
  • 1:45PM: Fedex picked up its packages.
  • 3:40PM: DHL returned, picked up its packages.
  • 4PM: UPS picked up its packages during its regularly scheduled stop. When we first phoned in the morning we were told that shipping to India required a special certificate from the Embassy of India because the package contained apparel (a GT sweatshirt), and certain dyes require advance approval. We sent this package via DHL instead.

All shipments required airbills and commercial invoices describing the contents.

The results

Fedex clearly won and DHL came in second. UPS finished far behind – in fact, as of 12 April none of their packages had been delivered. Their representative declined to take one package and both of their other packages were delayed by processing errors, rerouting, and flight delays. The package to Lome was finally delivered on 22 June after crossing the Atlantic Ocean 9 times!

Destination Carrier Cost Delivery Route Comments
Lome, Togo DHL USD169.07 08 April 0806h Atlanta, Cincinnati, New York, Brussels, Lagos, Lome
Fedex USD162.91 09 April 1056h Atlanta, Indianapolis, Paris, Abidjan, Lome
Fewer stops than DHL, but slower
UPS ??? 22 June 1705h Atlanta, Louisville, Philadelphia, Koeln (Cologne), Paris,
Johannesburg,… (details)
Finally delivered after crossing the Atlantic Ocean 9 times.
Apparently a UPS “keying error” sent the package repeatedly to
South Africa.
Haifa, Israel Fedex USD90.17 07 April 1540h Atlanta, Memphis, Peta Tiqwa, Haifa
Fewest stops; direct flight from US to Israel
DHL USD134.44 08 April 1408h Atlanta, Cincinnati, New York, Tel Aviv, Haifa
Direct flight from US to Israel
UPS ??? 13 April 1153h Atlanta, Louisville, Philadelphia, Koeln (Cologne), Tel Aviv,
Koeln, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Haifa – note

Many stops even if handled correctly
Bangalore, India Fedex USD94.01 09 April 1215h Atlanta, Memphis, Paris, Mumbai (Bombay), Bangalore
DHL ??? 12 April 1230h Atlanta, Cincinnati, London, Delhi, Bangalore
Delayed because the local office closed for the Christian
holiday “Good Friday” (09 April)
UPS ??? NA NA Declined to take package

The UPS prices were not immediately available. We expect to post more details of the deliveries, possibly including photos, soon.

The routes

The routes by which DHL sent our packages from Atlanta to Lome, Haifa, and Bangalore
Figure 1: The DHL routes from Atlanta to Lome, Haifa, and Bangalore.
Each package went through a sortation facility in the midwestern US: UPS uses Louisville, KY; Fedex uses Indianapolis, IN or Memphis, TN; DHL uses Cincinnati, OH.


Thanks to Jennifer Harris, Anita Race, and Cheryl Wilkerson for sending off the packages; and thanks to the recipients for documenting their arrival!