TNT Post UK has received visits from two Members of Parliament in recent weeks to highlight job creation as it trials end-to-end delivery services.
The company says its trial delivery service in West London, started mid-April, has already created 400 jobs, while plans to roll out the service nationwide could create a further 20,000 jobs in the next five years.
MPs Dominic Grieve and Angela Bray visited TNT facilities to meet new recruits and highlight the employment opportunities from the project.
Grieve visited the TNT Post depot at Iver, in his constituency in Buckinghamshire, just outside West London.
The three-year-old facility employs 209 staff and handles all of TNT Post UK’s collected mail for the UK with three main letter sorters, a new GBP 500,000 sequencing machine, one large packet sorter and about 30 Vision Stations for the sorting of manual packets.
Although much of the bulk mail presented at the Iver depot is already sorted prior to arriving at the plant, overall the facility has the capacity to handle up to 30m items per day, which as well as coping with day to day volume fluctuations, offers some room for expansion.
Meanwhile, Bray visited a new delivery unit in her West London constituency that is part of the new pilot delivery service, joining local mail carrier Ashley Lowe on his round, and seeing for herself a fleet of 200 bicycles being used in Ealing and surrounding areas on the trial.
The UK postal market has been open to competition since 2006, but in practice most private sector postal companies only collect and process mail, before handing it to Royal Mail to be delivered. Royal Mail currently delivers around 99% of UK mail.
TNT Post UK, part of Dutch postal operator PostNL and the second largest postal operator in the UK, has said the universal service provider’s VAT exemptions still make it tough to compete with Royal Mail over that final mile, but is trialling such a service in the hopes that it will be able to compete.
It wants lawmakers and regulators in the UK to end VAT advantages for Royal Mail.
“I am pleased that companies like TNT Post are investing in Ealing and creating jobs for local people,” said Bray, the MP for Central Ealing & Acton. “I look forward to seeing more TNT posties on the streets in the coming months.”
Nick Wells, the TNT Post UK chief executive, said of his new mail carriers: “They are going a great job providing the quality service our customer demand. TNT Post is proud to be creating many more jobs in London and will work hard to provide many more in the years to come.”
Royal Mail has accused its rival of looking to “cherry pick” the most valuable routes, leaving it with less profitable delivery services.
As though hitting back against TNT Post UK in the lobbying stakes, Royal Mail has also been inviting MPs to join its local mail carriers in Kent over the summer to see how its mail is delivered.
Sidcup MP James Brokenshire saw last week how Royal Mail is reviewing and modernising its operations to increase efficiency, and joined local postman Gary Talbot on his round.
Brokenshire said: “I wanted to get a real understanding of the work that goes into delivering the mail on a daily basis. There can be no better way of getting that insight than actually going out and doing the job alongside a delivery postman.”
Darren Ager, Royal Mail’s delivery officer manager in Sidcup, said: “The visit gave us the opportunity to show Mr Brokenshire how we are modernising the organisation.
“In the South East we have invested over GBP 9m in new automation and new delivery equipment for our postmen and women. We are delivering more parcels and fewer letters than ever before and the tools for the job need to reflect that,” said Ager.
Source: Post&Parcel/TNT Post UK/James Brokenshire MP