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Visit to TNT, Edinburgh: 20 January 2004

The Scottish Region visited TNT's state of the art distribution centre at Edinburgh International Airport on Tuesday 20th January 2004 and received a presentation and tour of the facility.

A DAF delivery truck of TNT in Queen Street, Glasgowd

A DAF delivery truck of TNT in Queen Street, Glasgow

© John G. Fender 2011

The present day TNT can trace its history to the Australian company TNT (Thomas Nationwide Transport), founded in 1946. TNT initially focused on express delivery services. Expansion into North America followed in 1969 and in 1970, European operations commenced.

In 1985 TNT Logistics was launched in the UK as a separate operating division of TNT and in 1986 TNT Newsfast was established to provide specialist nationwide delivery services for the UK publishing industry. TNT Logistics evolved out of TNT Express in the 1980s providing supply chain solutions tailored to customer needs.

In 1996 TNT was acquired by KPN, the Netherlands Postal and Communications operator, but in 1998 TNT Post Group NV (now TPG) was split from KPN. TNT Logistics became a separate division within TPG in 2000. TPG is the Netherlands based holding company of TNT and Royal TPG Post. It is a global leader in logistics, mail and express logistics, employing over 150,000 people in 62 countries and serving more than 200 countries. TPG developed from the 1996 merger of PTT Post, Netherlands postal service and TNT. PTT Post is now TPG Post and is the Netherlands equivalent of the Royal Mail.

TNT Express provides worldwide delivery services, including pan-European and domestic express delivery. TNT Logistics provides some 30% of TPG's business. TNT Logistics operates in most of the world's major markets covering 36 countries. It manages over 400 warehouses with more than 6.2 million square meters of warehouse space. TNT operates over 30,000 vehicles and aircraft and moves over 3.7 million parcels weekly and had more than £11.7bn in annual sales.

The Edinburgh Facility, costing some £6 million, opened in May 2001 and serves the East Coast and Central Scotland. TNT offers a wide range of services, tailored to customers individual requirements including deliveries before 0900 to over 1,000 European destinations or a before 1200 delivery to more than 15,000 destinations. In the UK, TNT has more than 14,300 employees at 60 locations and operates at 9 airports. There are three state of the art parcels centres in Warwickshire. This provides flexibility and continuity of service if one centre is busier or has a problem. In addition, there are mini-centres at Manchester and Edinburgh.

TNT's Next Day service provides a delivery before 0900 to 90% of the UK and can be used for items up to 1,000 kg. TNT can offer such services because it is on control of the entire journey a parcel makes as it has its own drivers, vehicles deport and distribution centres. All items carried by TNT are bar-coded and scanned at each stage of the journey enabling constant tracking of a consignment. Customers can track their shipments online and get proof of delivery via the Internet. TNT does not work for anyone else. Additionally, TNT has it's own security team who investigate claims, screen personnel and advise customers on packaging etc. Staff training is also provided and TNT has a comprehensive staff development programme.

The party was shown round the parcels centre by Raymond Matheson, the Operations Manager who explained how the centre operates. Members saw vehicles being unloaded, with parcels being sorted and transhipped. He gave a demonstration of how parcels are tracked using bar-codes. The party was then shown the international hub, where packages are checked before being loaded into pallets for loading into TNT's own aircraft. Parcels are x-rayed as well as being weighted and measured and a demonstration was given of how a suspect package is detected. An excellent presentation and tour was rounded off by a light buffet and all members were presented with a carrier bag of "goodies" courtesy of TNT.

The Scottish Region would like to than Ailsa Webb, General Manager, TNT Edinburgh for hosting the visit and Patricia Watt, Caroline Moy and Alistair Haggart for their presentations; Raymond Matheson, Operations Manager for the tour of the facility and all of the staff who took the time to explain parts of the operation.

Report by John Fender.


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