'Suit yourself' service and Minicons from NCL
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• Two new NCL freight services have been announced by Mr Harry Kinsey, managing director of National Carriers Ltd.
A nationwide break-bulk distribution service, claimed to be the first of its kind and scope offered by any public carrier, is to be introduced following the result of market research involving 450 firms.
To implement the service NCL has divided the country into 14 regions, each served by a main warehouse and a road distribution fleet. The centres of the regions are at Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Norwich, Luton, London, Brighton, Southampton and Bristol. Many of the warehouses serving these regions are those which NCL inherited from British Railways.
The aim of the service is to attract customers, where possible, who will provide fast-moving traffics which, Mr Kinsey said, ire the ones on which most profit is made.
The service is planned to enable customers :o feed stocks into any of the regions using !...1CL vehicles, their own transport, hired -oad haulage or rail whichever suits them Jest. Re-deliveries will be made on NCL Tehicles—pain Led in the customer's own ivery if required—but trunk hauls which +.ICL are not prepared to undertake on their )wn vehicles will be carried out by BRS Ad, by rail or by Freightliner or, if the :ustomer so desires, by private road haulier. :he system is even flexible enough to allow he customer to specify a haulier of his own :hoosing. In the more remote areas where istribution over much longer distances is ecessary rail services may be used for part if the journey but in the heavily populated areas direct road deliveries will be made. The advantages claimed by NCL for the scheme are: a) The offer to customers of a high-level distribution service, with or without warehousing, at very competitive prices.
b) The scheme enables a wide, flexible range of service from a simple pattern to more sophisticated tailor-made projects.
c) Customers can use the whole service or any part of it.
d) Because of the size and scope of NCL, a more frequent coverage in the less-thickly populated areas of Britain can also he achieved, curing a costly headache to the private firm trying to perform its own distribution.
Said Mr Kinsey: "This is a major development in the running of NCL's business, but it is not a revolution. It is the sharpest use yet of storage centres in combination with our great transport network and a new range of delivery services. Some big companies are already keenly interested and some schemes are already in operation."
In answer to questions, Mr Kinsey said that NCL's fleet strength is approximately 9,000 vehicles but many of these are used exclusively for the collection and delivery of traffic for the railways; he also said that NCL has some 5m sq. ft. of warehousing.
The second new service which Mr Kinsey announced is the use of a new mini-container with guaranteed next-day delivery. Introducing the new small container, Mr Kinsey said there is nothing in Europe to match it. Brand named Minicon, it is a collapsible container, constructed of aluminium frames with thick marine ply roof and side panels,
easy to erect and easy to dismantle.
The standard version of the Minicon is approximately a 44in. cube, holding goods up to a weight of 18cwt. There is a smaller version for a maximum weight of contents of 12cwt.
When the container is erected, one side folds down for convenient access during loading and unloading. Vehicles fitted with tail-board lifts, purchased specially for the purpose, will be used for the door-to-door collection and delivery of the containers.
The containers are compatible with ISO standards and 20 of them will fit exactly in a Freightliner container.
The new Minicon services, to be launched on Monday April 6, will operate initially between London—Manchester, London— Glasgow and Manchester—Glasgow and each Minicon depot will cover a wide collection and delivery area.
The service is claimed to be unique because customers will be given NCL's special Yellow Diamond warranty; guaranteed next-day delivery or all charges refunded.
The service is designed to provide a VIP job—fast, guaranteed and secure, with packing and labelling costs substantially reduced. The use of the Minicon gives greater security against damage or theft in transit but does not alter NCL's existing claims conditions.
Provision of the containers does not involve the customer in contractual arrangements for hire; they can be used for single or one-way trips and the customer's obligation for the container ceases when he, or the consignee, has unloaded it. The container then returns to the nearest Minicon pool depot. In order to keep the containers flowing, and not being used for storage, demurrage charges of lOs per working day will be made for any period over 24 hours during which a customer retains a container before loading or unloading it.
An example of the relative charges between the existing Yellow Diamond service and the new service were given as follows: a 15cwt consignment from London to Manchester for next-day delivery would cost £10 4s 6d by Yellow Diamond and £11 lOs by the Minicon service. This means a charge of 25s for greater security and a reduction in packaging materials.
The Minicon containers were designed by Collico Ltd, a subsidiary of Winn Industries Ltd, and well known for their collapsible packing case services for railway freight.