The movement of packages is a lifeline to our economy, and shipping has never been more important. In the U.S., the most prominent avenue to ship packages is antiquated, and it is time for a change. The postal service does get the job done, and private sector competitors like UPS and Fed Ex are established alternatives, but no shipping service has fully harnessed the power of the digital era and the emerging sharing economy—until now.

Pakkage is a North Dakota shipping start-up that professes itself to be the “Uber and Lyft for package delivery,” per Pakkage partner and acting President John Nagel, who will be speaking at 1 Million Cups Fargo on Wednesday, September 12.

The way Pakkage brings the philosophy of those rideshare companies to the world of shipping is by establishing “hubs” in easily accessible areas. A person can drop off a package they want shipped and have it picked up by a person who has signed up to drive for Pakkage, or pick up a package that has been shipped to them.

“The hub is generally a 24-hour convenience store that is located off a major interstate or highway,” Nagel said.

That means there’s no waiting if your package arrives in town on a Sunday—you can go to your hub and pick it up whenever you want. In order to ship something out, you just drop it off at the hub, and drivers in the area, or drivers headed to your intended destination will be notified.

Pakkage also takes care of other notable headaches involved in shipping. The service mitigates the risk of stolen packages and damage due to weather conditions.

Drivers and users of Pakkage conduct their business via the Pakkage app, and drivers get paid on a per-package basis. Shipping a package with Pakkage costs a flat rate of just $10!

“All transactions are conducted via your phone,” Nagel said.

Nagel also pointed out, “The use of smartphones means you can track your package at any time along its journey, which is an upgrade from other means of shipping where you can only track your package by transfer locations.”

Pakkage considers itself to be environmentally friendly…a “green” app. If the person who picks up and drops off a package from a Pakkage hub travels a route they were already planning on traveling, the shipping of the package won’t create a significantly greater environmental impact, hypothetically, than that which was already going to be created by the driver’s travel anyway.

Pakkage was founded by North Dakota serial entrepreneur Marlo Anderson, who also founded National Day Calendar. The Pakkage team will be launching their new website at 1 Million Cups Fargo on September 12, 2018. 1MC Fargo takes place each Wednesday at The Stage at Island Park from 9:15-10:15 a.m.

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Austin Gerth