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Moving stuff efficiently through our cities


The moment comes when you are standing in gridlock traffic in the middle of your city. You realize: I am the traffic and the traffic is me. Looking around, however, it's not just people moving around people. It's people moving all of our stuff. UPS, Purolator, bike couriers, trucks vans and delivery merchants of all shapes and sizes. Big stuff, small stuff. New stuff, old stuff.

The moving around of stuff has been, and for the most part still is, a very inefficient system. But now thanks to inspiration from the social economy people are banding together to move our stuff. New business models couldn't come at a better time. 

If you need that stuff delivered tomorrow? Things get even more inefficient. After spending $500 in shipping charges and duty to get a $400 insulin fridge from China delivered to Tel Aviv, via Toronto, I realized that there must be a better way of getting stuff inside and between cities faster and with more efficiencies in terms of time, and resources. There are. Here are some of my new favorites:

Shiply from the UK works as a reseller. The company links your single item (any size from a diamond ring to an elephant!) to a large distributed network of shipping companies small and large. Those wanting the business bid on your request, and voila, you get the cheapest and the fastest shipment from Point A to Point B. With rated feedback you can know who to accept and who to avoid. 

If you live in one of the select US cities where they operate, Shyp is the hipster alternative to any kind of courier you already know. Like Uber for couriers (see a version for Australia), Shyp relies on the sharing economy and hive of drivers to help you package, pickup and get your item exactly where it needs to go. Fast. eBay is one of their partners. 

Roadie is another peer-to-peer network that uses people like me and you with time on their hands to move your stuff. They say: "someone is always leaving everywhere." And ain't that the truth! Like Shyp, Roadie connects you and your stuff to people who have the same destination in mind. By taking your couch, surfboard, a pet iguana, or ______ (<---- insert your stuff here), Roadie saves time, money, and puts one less car, truck or van on the road.

And don't we all want that?