Navigating Urban Delivery: The Right Tools and Strategies for the Job

Urban delivery is an entirely different animal than rural and suburban delivery. Rural and suburban delivery is about optimizing routes for the most efficient paths between individual houses, businesses, or apartment buildings. The map of a delivery itinerary can cover several dozen miles in a day.


Urban delivery, meanwhile, can involve an entire day of deliveries within a couple of square miles while proving considerably more logistically difficult. Rural or suburban delivery can involve tight spaces; heavy traffic; steep, narrow staircases; finding the service entrances of huge buildings; and winding through cramped hallways and corridors with bulky packages. Urban delivery, on the other hand, is defined by days like that. Thankfully, there are tools that can help the process be smoothed out a bit.

Dealing with Stairs

There’s nothing like backing a delivery truck into box- and dumpster-crammed alley before attempting to ease a full keg down a constricted staircase on a wobbly hand truck. There’s not much that can be done about the truck, but the delivery tools can be sorted out.

For starters, if your deliveries have you going up and down stairs quite a bit—a virtual certainty in the city—investing in a stair climbing cart can make all the difference. All the difference both to the efficiency of the delivery operation and to the painless operation of the deliverer’s back.

While the health of the delivery personnel is always going to be the top priority, there’s significant financial motivation to keep those lower backs pain-free as well. Injuries suffered from the cumulative stress of the earlier-mentioned nearly 200-pound keg, and every other delivery item of any substance, jolting down stairs repeatedly is responsible every year for delivery companies losing considerable income to time off or workers’ comp. Investing in a hand truck or hand cart designed to navigate stairs can save those same delivery companies quite a bit in the long-term.

Logistics of Urban Areas

For rural and suburban delivery, as mentioned, for the most part, the logistical considerations are entirely concerned with finding addresses on an east/west and north/south set of axes. Addressing those coordinates are certainly a necessity for urban delivery as well, but with the added complication of maneuvering around in a skyscraper. Often, finding the building address, where the process generally ends for rural and suburban delivery, is where the challenge begins for urban delivery.

What floor and which suite, and routes to them, have to be figured out, but so does access to them. Knowing where the (right) delivery door is, for instance, can prove a challenge. And once that’s been established, there are the freight elevators to be located. In this climate of fast delivery expectations, details like these can be time- and business-killers. So the best bet when delivering to an unfamiliar address is being up-front about it being unfamiliar. If possible, have instructions included with the delivery order identifying the location of the appropriate door, elevators, etc. for delivery personnel to use.

For threading through office hallways or narrow doorways, etc., consider a collapsible hand truck. They’re not “collapsible” as in they break down for storage. In this case, collapsible means that they can be used in more than one position. Depending on the model, that means they can be used vertically, horizontally, and sometimes tipped at an incline. And, depending on the terrain, width of passage, type of package, and ease of access, having those additional options can make all the difference.

About Magline

The brand “Magliner” is such a trusted name in the materials handling industry that for many it has become synonymous with hand trucks, hand carts, dollies, and other product-moving solutions. For over 70 years, Magline has been producing the sturdiest, toughest, most reliable loading and transport equipment, including their hand lift truck line. If a safe, durable suite of materials moving tools would contribute to the continued success and growth of your business, choose Magline.

Learn more about everything Magline has to offer at

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