Express industry pioneer dies

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Bill Hanley MBE, who played a key role in the development of the express industry in the UK, has died aged 81.

Hanley’s career in transport started in 1952 when he left the RAF and bought a five-tonne truck to work as a self-employed driver delivering coal.

He worked his way up through a series of roles from driver to foreman at David Halls, Lancashire, and traffic operator at R Knowles & Sons Ltd, Ramsbottom where in 1966 he was appointed Transport Manager.

In 1971 Hanley was involved in one of the earliest management buyouts, when Knowles Vanlines was acquired from United Carriers Ltd. The new company continued to grow, buying G Hoyles which operated fifteen vehicles under contract for Smith and Nephew. In 1974, the company expanded further by the amalgamation of Knowles Vanlines with Dickinsons Transport of Rossendale, to form Inter County Express.

He was a director of Inter County Express when it was taken over by TNT in 1978, and went on to hold on various senior management roles within the TNT UK business unit.

In 1982, Alan Jones took the helm as managing director, so Bill Hanley took on the role of director and general manager of TNT UK.

Jones highlighted the contribution he made to the success of the business, saying: “I am immensely proud and honoured to have had the opportunity or working closely with Bill throughout the twenty four years I spent with TNT. He was the architect of so many of the innovative ideas which made TNT UK Limited successful and I give him all the credit for our tremendous success story.”

Hanley became chairman of TNT UK Ltd in 1999 before retiring in 2006.

Alistair Cochrane, managing director, TNT Express Services UK & Ireland said: “Bill was regarded as one of the founders of the original business structure of TNT in the UK. A pioneer and inspirational leader within the transport and express delivery industry, Bill was instrumental in developing the TNT business into the success it has become today.”

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