What's Your View on Road Charging

Home arrow Boot Hill
Boot Hill

E-CourierNews remembers past parcel and courier companies.

If you have any information please send to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


ANC Taken over by FedEx in December 2006 and rebranded as FedEx UK in the latter months of 2007.

APEX (1992- 2002) Established out of the former Nightshift franchise in 1993 by Ray Giblin.

ARROWFAST Another regional operator swallowed up by United Carriers, and closed!

ATLAS EXPRESS ( - 1986) One of the oldest parcel companies in the UK. It was then taken over by United Carriers but did not move with the times.

BAC (1993-1996) Breakaway from Force 10, ceased trading in 1996


Remember the yellow and blue vans that delivered in towns. In the early 1900's these were the Scammell Scarab mechanical horse which formed the backbone of the British Rail town parcels delivery service during the heyday of steam.

The railway offered a nationwide goods delivery for everything from a packet of needles to an industrial transformer. As time went on BR invested in many different van types some of which are shown here.

BRS PARCELS Swallowed up time and again by various companies, now they are part of Lynx.

BREVETTS ( -1986) Ceased trading in 1986 when they were taken over by Parceline.

CARRYFAST Started as parcel division of Unilever, subsequently sold to UPS, by which time it had fallen significantly behind the times.

CARSWELLS (1980-1988) Ceased trading in 1980, when it was taken over by Mayne Nicholas and renamed Parceline.

COURIER EXPRESS (1995-1997)Name taken up again mid-90s by an ex-Parceline/ ex Direct Express Franchise.

CONVEYERQUICK (1981-1989)Sold to Parceline in 1989.

CRONOPOST UK (1998 - 2001) Panic Link was acquired by La Poste in 1998, and renamed as Chronopost UK. However trading remained bad, and it was easier for La Poste to send in the receivers in June 2001, rather than try to turn it around, and to rely instead on its more healthy recent acquisitions of Interlink and Parceline. Chronpost as an entity still exists in the UK, but as an international brand offered by Interlink/Parceline, rather than as a company.

DATA EXPRESS Taken over by Hays and re-named Hays Express, which subsequently merged with Securicor Omega. Now DHL.

DIAMOND EXPRESS Details coming shortly.

DIRECT EXPRESS (1984 - 1996) After many takeovers and mergers with Lightning Despatch and then Panic Link, it was taken over by the French Post Office. Became Crona Post.

EAGLE EXPRESS Formally known as Connect UK? Packed in on a Christmas Eve in the mid 80's.ELAN (1985-1995) Started as the domestic division of DHL , but high overheads took their toll. A subsequent management buy-out ended in disaster.

FAST TRACK Established only in 1998 and originally called Captain Cargo. Their rapid move into home delivery resulted in a profits tumble. They were eventually taken over by On Time which also folded spectacularly.

FOCUS Started from the ashes of Peggs, taken over by Pallex, finally sold to Blue Band whereupon it was closed with extensive losses.

FEDERAL EXPRESS Ceased trading in1992. American giant took over Lex Wilkinson and became a very average parcel carrier which never targeted the product correctly.

FORCE 10 (1990-1994)This was a Co-operative, owned by the depots, as a breakaway from WPS. High ideals seem to work at first, then some depots got greedy and the Board went off-track.

GEC PARCELS Set up by GEC to move their in-house products with some outside work. Closed down as a non-core business.

GREEN LINE Taken over by Nightfreight.

GROUP 4 NIGHTSPEED Parcel division of Group 4. Sold to management buy-out, name changed to Nightspeed.

HAYS Formally Data Express, subsequently merged with Securicor Omega.

HELLMANN'S (1990-2003) Hellmann's was German owned until January 2003. Company operating via agent depots. Became a UK Limited company owned by the Germans and closed within a year.

INTERCOUNTY EXPRESS This company was purchased by TNT and formed the backbone of the TNT network by 1981.

LIGHTNING DESPATCH (1986-1996) Ceased trading in 1996, when it merged with Direct Express.

LEX WILKINSON'S Sold to Federal Express.

INDEPENDENT (1996-1998) With their very pink livery and slogan 'Think Pink', this breakaway IPEC group merged in 1998 with Tuffnels.

IDS (1997-1997)Started by Eric Gracie, ex ANC, Red Star, and N.C.N. without any finance, and very little credibility. Tried to poach most of APC Management and succeeded in taking the Manager and Accountant. Never really got going.

IPEC (1984-1986) Sold to TNT.

MERCURY (1995-1997)Ceased trading in 1997 with massive debts.

MULTI FREIGHT (1998-1990)This was a very expensive flop for United Carriers. It failed to reach the levels of input required to make the expensive pod-based sorting equipment and IT pay.

NATIONWIDE Private company taken over by United Carriers in mid 80's.

N.C.N. Founded by Simon Bliss in the early nineties, the company originally started to link Couriers nationwide to offer a lightweight nationwide parcel service. The company only lasted a short time, and had to close for financial reasons.

Simon Bliss reopened the company with new structures, and the new company paid off bad debts from the old company. N.C.N advanced and started to grow spectacularly. Then the company brought in Erick Grassy as Managing Director. This led to a major change in direction and ultimately led to a break away network APC. N.C.N. grew in turnover, but margins and profitability for the company and its Depots were poor to say the least. The company closed its doors on 23rd December 2004. N.C.N. had many quality depots but the centres poor management of the system, and lack of clear direction had dire effects.


Top North East of England carriers. Taken over by Conveyor Quick of Manchester. Started by Maurice Birkett, who stayed in parcel industry working with Amtrak, Direct Express, and APC-Overnight. Now editor of E-Couriernews.

NEXT DAY (1986-1994)This was a break-away group from the early days of IPEC; it was subsequently taken over by Ziff and franchised. It lost its way, started selling cheap and went into receivership.

NIGHTSHIFT (1985-1992)Started as a franchise, then a system it started carrying cheap, ugly freight, acquired big depots, special deals and ended in collapse. Apex started up from the collapse.

NATIONAL CARRIERS Taken over by Lynx.

ONLINE EXPRESS PARCELS (1999 - 2001) Online Express established itself as an on-line company. The company seemed to be an Amtrak style operation heavily skewed towards the Internet. Number of depots was in the region of 20 when it closed.

ON TIME (1998 - 2001) Started by Jacobs (a large, established transport and warehousing company) subsequently took over Fast Track, but threw in the towel when debts reached £8 million plus.

OVERNIGHT Started by some disaffected ANC franchisees and keeled over in 92 or 93.

PACESETTER PARCELS (1984 -1986) Started by ex Wilkinson's managers.

PANIC LINK Started by Eric Norman, subsequently sold to Phil Kirk in 1997. Panic Link was acquired by La Poste in 1998 and renamed as Chronopost UK.

PARCEL POWER Started by Eric Coachman, who established ANC. It never really got going, was under-financed, with high overheads and very little credibility.

PARCELS EXPRESS Private company taken over by United Carriers in mid 80's.

PEGGS Started by John Deathrage, then taken over by some of the depots. It collapsed under poor management, cheap, carry anything philosophy and no identity.

PONY EXPRESS Pony Express was bought by Securicor in the 80's. They developed it from it's office in Wembley into the UK's largest courier Company (by turnover) generating a profit of £3m. This was by opening branches all across the country - some 55 or so in total, some through franchising. It turned into Securicor Omega Sameday

The green white and black Pony leathers were famous though......often appearing on the front page of MCN(motor Cycle News) when riders were returning from round the world trips etc....

RED STAR Originally part of British Rail, offering Same Day station to station and then moved into overnight. It privatised to the management for £1.00, but later sold to Lynx, then was closed due to continued poor performance.

ROADLINE Taken over by Lynx.

SECURICOR OMEGA Taken over by the German Post Office. Now operating as DHL.

SHUNTERS (1984 - 1985) Franchised 3 Day carrier, lots of problems, and some involvement with Carryfast. Vanished.

SYSTEMLINE Closed with big financial losses. Offered cheap, ugly freight. Nearly made it, but effort lacking.

TNT KWICKASAIR TNT's first foray into the UK which ended in tears,

TRANSAM Established by a break-away group from Amtrak. Ran before they could walk; Spent the money on cars etc, until the money ran out.

THE LAST POST Big depots and special deals, but they had a lot of political problems which probably contributed to their downfall.

UNITED CARRIERS (1965 - 200) Started as a consortium of independent regional carriers after the government opened the market, After many different owners and a management buy-out, United Carriers ceased trading.

UPS 5 WAYS A smart operation, under financed, and sold too cheap.

UPS NORTHERN Started from the close of UPS 5 Ways but did not last long. Yellow Express picked up the pieces, and this became Business Post.

WPS Totally lost its way by moving from profitable corporate business to non-profitable carry anything.

XPRESS GROUP Carried for Airborne with All Systems Couriers and Silver Bullet as prime members. Folded in early 90's.

ZIFF (1988 - 1989) Started by an American, Mr Zockle who was the founder of Dyno Rod, (many say he had the original idea for Interlink). Ziff took over Next Day, and merged the two. Next Day subsequently went into receivership.



BBC News

Dafydd Hughes Ltd
 Require couriers of any size shape or form to assist with its workload, simply register by sending an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it