Rupert Murdoch’s News International has given the contract to distribute its national newspapers to DHL Supply Chain.
Under the multi-million pound five-year contract, DHL will deliver The Sun, The Times, News of the World and The Sunday Times – some 25 million newspapers every week – to wholesalers across England and Wales.
The deal follows a 12-way competitive pitch. News International is the largest publisher of newspapers in the UK and the deal covers distribution from its four print plants, through the DHL Supply Chain network, to over 68 locations, seven days a week, 364 days a year.
The operations will be overseen by a control tower based in Edmonton, North London. DHL was awarded the contract based on its ability to respond to the distinct needs of the customer with a cost effective and commercially beneficial solution.
A News International spokesperson said: “DHL has proved its ability to respond to our business needs, demonstrating expertise to drive efficiencies and improve service delivery throughout our newspaper distribution process. The company’s global supply chain capabilities have given us the confidence that its strategic approach will drive further efficiencies and flexibility in our operations.”
This is one of the most famous contracts in the UK logistics market. News International broke the mould of newspaper distribution in the UK in 1986 when it abandoned the traditional rail-based distribution system.
At the time it was involved in a bitter dispute with the print unions who were supported by the rail unions.
The answer was to bring in a road transport operator prepared to cross the picket lines outside its Wapping printing plant to get the papers out each day. That company was TNT and the News International business became the core of TNT Newsfast.
Within months, all the national newspapers had moved away from rail distribution to road-based systems.
The News International contract stayed with TNT until the sale of the logistics business which went on to become Ceva Logistics. Since then the contract has been held by Ceva.