Has anyone else been hit by the Fedex takeover of TNT ?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Justin Smith, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

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    As many will know Fedex bought out TNT a few years ago. We`ve been TNT customers for about 10 years and there were no particular problems or big upheavals until just recently when the **** has hot the fan in a big way.
    I check over my TNT invoices every few weeks but when I last did so I noticed there were a load of "excess length / non conveyable item" surcharges, literally half the consignments were subject to one. To cut a long story short we `ve been told that these are all due to new supplements introduced in January, and they`re significant, each surcharge is £4.95 + fuel surcharge (why ? ) + VAT.
    Other than a change in the small print at the bottom of the annual price list (I never even saw that ! ) we were never told about this massive change to TNT`s terms of carriage. TBH I could have done with as much notice as possible, a year would have been better but a month would be the absolute minimum required.....

    Has any other TNT customer been affected by this ?
    Were you given advance notice (e.g. by the visit of your rep) ?
    Have you been given clear guidance about what is a box and what is not (I kid you not, a flatpack or a modified box is, apparently, not a box ! ? !) ?
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
    Posted: Feb 1, 2019 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
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  2. JEREMY HAWKE

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

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    Even though it looks like the merger has caused this . This is now becoming an industry wide practice. I think the reality is that the parcel companies don't actually make any money on the low prices they charge and are adding various tarrifs ect .

    It should not be a problem for a standard e commerce operation that sends out normal size freight
     
    Posted: Feb 2, 2019 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
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  3. Blaby Loyal

    Blaby Loyal UKBF Ace Full Member

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    * etc
     
    Posted: Feb 2, 2019 By: Blaby Loyal Member since: Jun 12, 2018
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  4. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

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    There are two points here :

    1 - TNT traditionally charged a bit more than the other carriers but took more "non standard items". That was their USP. TBH I don`t understand why FedEx are just chasing the same market as everyone else, it makes no sense to me.

    2 - I`m particularly incensed that FedEx apparently informed everyone by just altering a line of small print at the bottom of the annual "Your prices" pdf. Unforgiveable.
     
    Posted: Feb 4, 2019 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
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  5. JEREMY HAWKE

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

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    FEDEX are chasing the same market because there is little profit in odd shape and ugly freight especially at the rates they charge .
     
    Posted: Feb 4, 2019 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
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  6. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

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    Ahh there lies a question, what is odd shape freight ? Apparently FedEx charge a supplement for a "flatpack item". That is to say something in a regular shaped box, but a thin box ! In fact they haven`t even been able to tell me the definition of a flatpack, as opposed to a box, which is very important because it almost doubles the cost of sending it. Furthermore we sell an aerial which comes in a box, but the box isn`t square (to save of shipping space and make it cheaper to ship, ironically), does that still qualify as a box ? ! ? The whole thing is ludicrous.
    Lastly, requiring everything to be in a box, even fairly regular shaped stuff, or even stuff already in a box, is quite plainly not environmentally friendly at all. Yet FedEx, and all other large companies, trumpet their environmental credentials. It`s nauseating bollox.
     
    Posted: Feb 4, 2019 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
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  7. JEREMY HAWKE

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

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    The parcel companies don't have the luxury of being nice to the environment ! If it is not boxed it will get damaged or go missing .
     
    Posted: Feb 4, 2019 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
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  8. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

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    Sorry, perhaps I was unclear.
    The second item I was referring to is actually boxed.
    A classic case of the first is a reel of cable on a cardboard drum with cardboard then wrapped round its circumference making a short cylinder shape. Why does that have to be put in a box ? Why is that, apparently, non-conveyable ?
     
    Posted: Feb 4, 2019 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
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  9. JEREMY HAWKE

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

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    These types of questions are simply too much drama for a company like this . They just want a standardised way of doing things . That ensure the smooth day to day running of their operation.
     
    Posted: Feb 4, 2019 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
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  10. AllUpHere

    AllUpHere UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Hope I dont have to send the Mrs anywhere. :D
     
    Posted: Feb 4, 2019 By: AllUpHere Member since: Jun 30, 2014
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  11. stuartm1962

    stuartm1962 UKBF Contributor Full Member

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    UPS are doing the same thing.. Anything not wrapped in cardboard, ie bubble wrap, shrink wrap etc, or odd shaped parcels. They all seem to be moving in the same direction, loads of small square boxes, nothing cylindrical that can roll off the conveyor, or plastic that gets stuck to it. No parcels over 1.2m long. we use DPD for sending bumpers and odd shaped items, but they charge a handling charge if it is bubble wrapped, as they claim it has to be manually removed from the conveyor belt.
     
    Posted: Feb 4, 2019 By: stuartm1962 Member since: Nov 15, 2012
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  12. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

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    So a long triangular box would be acceptable ? If not why not ? ! ?

    I can only say what I`ve said before, I don`t understand why all the carriers want to chase the same market, by definition it`s got to be cheaper there.
    We are stuck in the middle a bit. Carriers like Tuffnells or DX freight will take literally anything but they`re pretty expensive and not designed for relatively small orders. And anyway most of our stuff isn`t that big anyway.
    On the other hand the conventional carriers are all aiming at just relatively small boxes, many just one to each address.
    We need something in the middle, just like TNT were. I obviously wish FedEx hadn`t come within a million miles of TNT, for us there is absolutely nothing positive that`s come out of that merger, it`s all massive negatives.
    The bottom line is if I`d wanted to use FedEx I`d have used them before, as would most of TNT`s customers, so if FedEx change TNT into an exact copy of FedEx they`re bound to lose a significant number of customers, so it makes no business sense to me to do that.
     
    Posted: Feb 5, 2019 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
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  13. chalkie99

    chalkie99 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    At the heart of the matter, when the parcel business was growing rapidly many years ago, the majority of carriers utilised self employed drivers (now re-invented as the Gig "Economy") who had to own their own vans, typically restricted to Mercedes Sprinters or Ford Transits which had to be signwritten with the carriers graphics. This made them appear, to the uninitiated, to be part of the carriers own fleet.

    TNT were one of the few exceptions to this. They ran their own vehicles with properly employed drivers. Their fleet included 7.5 ton trucks which could accommodate large,irregularly shaped items. The majority of other companies, using panel vans, could only prosper from delivering "regular" sizes which fitted neatly in to their smaller vehicles and which would also fit into postcode sorted cages for quick loading/unloading of trunking lorries.

    Anything regarded as irregular or over-size was regarded as "ugly freight". Odd items had to be delivered by the depot's trunking lorry which was primarily a loss leader to get the senders "better" business.

    The business is now on it's knees. Rates haven't kept up with costs and profits have disappeared meaning self employed van drivers are working for next to nothing (but most aren't sharp enough to work out their costs) and the big stuff can't be delivered without hiking the rates for that.
     
    Posted: Feb 5, 2019 By: chalkie99 Member since: Nov 14, 2008
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  14. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

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    I agree with most of what you say, though I would just clarify that you can get a 10ft pole, possibly even a 12ft pole, into a Sprinter type van easily. I know that because quite often these days it`s a TNT Sprinter type van which calls to our shop to do the collections !
    Interestingly about 5 years ago TNT introduced a £5 plus VAT surcharge for all items over 1.6m, that was a significant problem at the time, but we got over it. They gave us plenty of notice and sent a rep round to ensure we knew about it. FedEx`s changes are far more wide reaching than that (including a surcharge for everything over 1.4m) yet we never saw a rep at all, and when we did she didn`t actually know FedEx`s exact definition of a non conveyable. In the mean time I`m stuck with about 50 poles I`ve had cut down to 1.6m so as to avoid my customers having to pay a surcharge ! You can see why I`m pretty annoyed ! !
     
    Posted: Feb 5, 2019 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
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  15. chalkie99

    chalkie99 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    Unfortunately, the world doesn't work like that.

    Yes, you can fit a long pole or whatever, in an otherwise unloaded van but you cannot fit it in with a hundred other boxes, certainly not without it getting in the way while you are delivering other items. Feel free to sign up as a parcel driver and see how it goes for you.

    That 12 foot pole won't go into a cage on a trunking lorry and it will restrict the number of cages which might go on, have to be "handballed" on and off rather than by a forklift and will generally slow the whole operation.

    Without the numbers the job can't be done as TNT have eventually discovered. They have, effectively, been subsidising the cost of the irregular items for years, something the new owners know cannot continue.

    As I have said before, the majority of the industry is based on self employed drivers running their own vehicles in the carriers colours and getting a fraction of what those carriers used to pay. It won't go on much longer before the system cracks.
     
    Posted: Feb 5, 2019 By: chalkie99 Member since: Nov 14, 2008
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  16. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

    576 59
    TNT have been charging a supplement for anything over 1.6m for the last 5 years.

    But, here`s the interesting thing, a 10ft x 2in pole has a volume of about 0.02 cubic metres, and only weighs 2.1Kg.
    FedEx won`t charge a supplement, apparently, for something up to 1.4m x 0.7m x 0.7m, that`s about 0.7 cubic metres, a volume 35 times greater.
     
    Posted: Feb 5, 2019 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
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  17. deniser

    deniser UKBF Legend Free Member

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    I share your frustration. We found out the hard way when DPD took over Interlink that it mattered what you wrote for the parcel weight when you created the label. The Interlink rep who had originally trained us how to use the system said "don't worry about the weight, it's not relevant" so everything defaulted to 1 kg. Lost parcels were reimbursed on the value of the contents.

    When DPD took over and the first rather large and valuable parcel was lost, they gave us compensation for only £12 which was based on 1 kg weight.

    Would have been nice to be told about the changes to the compensation arrangements beforehand!
     
    Posted: Feb 5, 2019 By: deniser Member since: Jun 3, 2008
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  18. stuartm1962

    stuartm1962 UKBF Contributor Full Member

    59 11

    A very accurate description of the process! The carriers (most of them) will try to find every opportunity to apply a surcharge to subsidise the low rates, which are cut to the bone to get the client in.
     
    Posted: Feb 5, 2019 By: stuartm1962 Member since: Nov 15, 2012
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  19. chalkie99

    chalkie99 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    You are still not getting it - and you probably won't unless you do the job.

    A 10 foot pole does not fit in a 6 ft high cage at the depot - Most trunking lorries are double decked so a pole cannot be stood in one as it would foul the upper deck. If it has to be laid flat it cannot be handled by fork lifts and the operation is slowed down.

    A delivery driver in a panel van needs to load as many parcels as possible to even have a chance of earning a living. He/She cannot be messing about with long poles in his way during the deliveries.

    Normally, a driver might do 100+ deliveries (which is a tight schedule) but will often do far lower number of collections as the carriers make their bread and butter from large customers where they can drop off a 40 foot trailer to load. Your collection driver probably has plenty of space when he collects from you but the van would have been rammed full with deliveries early in the day.

    That's sales reps for you. They will tell you anything to get the business as they have targets to meet.

    Drivers may be paid (partially) by weight. Anything, say, over 20 kg will attract a greater payment to offset the fact that there will be less room for other freight and therefore restrict earnings.

    Additionally, some consignments will attract "volumetric weights" In other words, a pallet of feathers might not weigh much but will still take up valuable space.

    When the drivers see this they will rightly moan and the depot will work out a more realistic charge and invoice the sending depot for the surcharge.
     
    Posted: Feb 5, 2019 By: chalkie99 Member since: Nov 14, 2008
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  20. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

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    I think I may have mad an error when working out the volume of a 10ft x 2in pole, I squared the diameter not the radius, so its volume is actually far smaller.

    But, with respect to your main point, what about a 6ft pole then ? That will fit in a 6ft cubed cage and only weighs 0.8Kg (thinner wall cheapo poles sold by our competitors weigh even less.....).
    A 6ft x 1.25" pole has a volume (I think....) about 500X less than the maximum (without surcharge) FedEx box, why should that be surcharged ? Even if it does need a small amount of manual handling the amount of room it`d save on the trunkers (and the vans come to that) is huge.
     
    Posted: Feb 6, 2019 By: Justin Smith Member since: Jun 6, 2012
    #20