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Survey of the couriers and local messengers industry, 2005 (preliminary data) and 2004 (revised data)

  1. The 19,625 active establishments in the industry in 2005 generated $7.2 billion in operating revenue, up 6% from $6.8 billion in 2004.
  2. Operating expenses reached $6.6 billion, an increase of 6% compared to 2004. The largest increases in operating expenses were in salaries, wages and benefits and other operating expenses, which were tied at 10%, followed by depreciation expenses and rental and leasing expenses, also tied, at 7%.
  3. The industry's operating margin reached $591 million, an increase of 10% over 2004. However, the operating ratio (operating expenses divided by operating revenue) remained at 0.92.
  4. The couriers segment showed $5.8 billion in operating revenue, an increase of 10% compared to 2004. This segment's operating margin reached $406 million, up by 14%. Its operating ratio remained unchanged at 0.93.
  5. The local messengers segment totalled $1.4 billion, a decrease of 5% compared to the previous year. This segment showed an operating margin of $185 million, an increase of 2%. Its operating ratio also improved slightly, moving from 0.88 to 0.87.
  6. Overall, establishments belonging to large and medium-sized businesses (businesses with revenue of $1 million or more) delivered almost 654 million pieces, generating just over $5.5 billion in delivery revenue.
  7. Courier establishments delivered 89% of the total number of pieces, generating 90% of the delivery revenue. Couriers also dominated next day/overnight services, with 97% of the total revenue, and two-day or more and other services, with 98% of the total revenue.
  8. Local messenger establishments delivered 11% of the total number of pieces, generating 10% of the industry's delivery revenue. Local messengers mainly specialize in same-day services, producing nearly all the revenue generated by this type of service (96%).
  9. Ontario has remained the dominant region in the industry in terms of delivery revenue based on shipment collection location, generating almost half of the revenue for Canada (47%).
  10. Shipments to Canadian destinations accounted for 80% of total delivery revenue, while those to the United States accounted for approximately 16% and to other countries, 4%.
  11. Establishments belonging to large and medium-sized businesses had approximately 50,600 employees and hired almost 15,200 independent operators. They also used more than 27,800 vehicles and other equipment.

About this publication

This bulletin provides information on the couriers and local messengers industry. It starts by focussing on the results of the 2005 annual survey (preliminary data). It includes an industry profile and tables of operations data with short analytical comments. Secondly, this bulletin provides revised data tables for reference year 2004. This publication concludes with a survey quality statement, a description of the survey methodology and data quality. In particular, it includes a section on changes and revisions.

Notes to users

1- The data on characteristics published in this bulletin (number of packages, origin and destination, equipment and employment) apply solely to establishments belonging to businesses that generated annual revenue of $1 million or more from their courier and local messenger activities. More specifically, this definition applies to tables 4 to 6 and 10 to 12.

2- Starting with reference year 2004r, there are two new important additions: employment data have been added (tables 6 and 12) as well as data on the number of establishments in the population in tables referring to characteristics (tables 4 to 6 and 10 to 12).