Automotive logistics
Australian Automotive Operations
Global Automotive Operations
Equipment Development
Enclosed Car Carriers - 3 Car
Method of transport
Damage elimination programs
Information technology
Company history
Visit TNT


TNT Automotive Logistics, through its extensive experience in the warehousing, distribution and interstate linehaul, aided by its specialist expertise in logistics and supply chain management, is well placed to design, implement, operate and continuously refine a world's best practice logistics service for the Automotive Industry.

The prime objective of TNT Automotive Logistics is to provide the Automotive Industry with quality products that are supported by total management commitment, state of the art computer systems, operational expertise and innovative programs that maintain our competitive advantage. TNT Automotive Logistics through our commitment has now become the major provider to the automotive industry worldwide with revenues approaching A$1 Billion. Whilst being well established in the mature markets of Europe, North America and Australia we have now established contractual commitments in Asia and South America, therefore establishing ourselves as a truly global company.

Within Australia, TNT Automotive Logistics has been involved in the transportation of motor vehicles for major Manufacturers and Importers for over 30 years with particular expertise in the prestige segment. Our list of clientele boasts the majority of prestige Importers who have recognised our ability and desire to provide a specialist, quality service which is a reflection of the product itself. Over the same period of time we have also been the major supplier to the industry of Parts Warehousing and Distribution.

This presentation supports TNT's objective to provide a totally integrated service package which includes vehicle storage, processing and vehicle transportation for the Automotive Industry.


TNT is a major, worldwide transportation and logistics service provider, which is now clearly focused on becoming a world leader in two areas:

Domestic & international time-sensitive distribution

International mail

Value added logistics

The most significant area of growth within the TNT logistics business over the past 3 years has been in the Automotive sector. The revenues from these activities are now in the vicinity of A$1 Billion per annum and encompass inbound logistics for manufacturing, warehousing, distribution of after-market parts vehicle processing and storage and transportation of finished vehicle products.

The automotive industry is a key customer segment to TNT's global logistics business. The creation of TNT Automotive Logistics in Australia came about with the amalgamation and expansion of existing specialist Divisions within the overall organisation and has placed us in the position of making available to our clients a totally integrated logistics package for the automotive industry.

Australian Automotive Operations

A diverse range of services are currently provided to a wide range of clients. Our major clients include:

Vehicle Distribution

Inchcape Group wharf and dealer distribution covering Peugeot, Subaru, VW, Jaguar and Seat.
Mitsubishi imported and local manufactured vehicle distribution for Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
BMW vehicle distribution Australia wide.
Rover national distribution of vehicles covering express enclosed retail deliveries and stock vehicle repleshment.
Mazda direct dealer deliveries for New South Wales.
Saab national dealer distribution.
Lexus national vehicle distribution.
Mercedes-Benz interstate vehicle movements.
Major removals' clients : Wridgways; Allied Pickford; Crown Worldwide; Kent Research; Grace Reynolds

Vehicle Processing

Porsche Bonded Storage and Processing.
Mazda Roadshow involving product preparation and Dealer shows country wide.
Ford Motor Show and special vehicle preparation.
BMW product launches.
Saab product launches and shows.
Toyota vehicle preparation and movements for all advertising shoots.
Land Rover Roadshow covering preparation, co-ordination and staffing for vehicle and accessory presentation.
A full range of services for the majority of international vehicle testing carried out in Australia.
The major supplier for advertising through Automotive Film Services.

Inbound and Outbound Parts Logistics
Inbound supplier delivery to Holden Service Parts Operation.
National distribution to Holden Dealers, including stock and VOR orders and the provision of materials handling equipment.
Inbound logistic services to Ford manufacturing plants at Broadmeadows and Geelong which includes supplier milk run pickups, crossdock consolidation in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney and their National Parts Distribution Centre.
Inbound supplier deliveries for first tier suppliers such as Lear Seating.
After market parts distribution through the TNT Group Express Divisions of Comet, Kwikasair and McPhees and include the following automotive customers.

 International Trucks

Packaging Component parts build up and packaging for Holden Service Parts Operation based at Dandenong

Global Automotive Operations

Overseas, major TNT Automotive Logistics parts distribution activities include:

In the UK TNT Logistics distributes service parts for: Ford (2 depots,178 Dealers),
Nissan (one depot, 307 dealers),
Volkswagen Audi (one depot, 716 dealers),

In Canada TNT Logistics distributes service parts for Ford to 416 dealers.

TNT warehouses and distributes Fiat service parts to all dealerships throughout Europe from multiple warehouses in a number of countries.

TNT Automotive logistics provides inbound logistics services to the Rover Group in the UK. These include the operation of two Distribution Centres supporting Longbridge and Solihul JIT manufacturing. Line sequencing for a number of parts also takes place.
Total supply chain management for catalytic converter bricks manufactured in Sydney, air freighted to catalytic unit supplier in England and delivered to the Rover production line on a JIT basis. This is totally managed by TNT from the supply of vehicle manufacturing schedules.

TNT is a 50% owner of Transfreight, which is the logistics partner for Toyota Manufacturing in Canada. Multiple pickups are carried out from 130 suppliers and staged through a Distribution Centre in Dayton, Ohio. They also service the GM and Suzuki joint venture plants,

In Canada TNT provides inbound logistics services to 7 Ford production plants and is the logistics provider to three assembly plants.
In Spain TNT operate an onsite distribution centre for Seat to support their vehicle manufacturing operation.
Opel Parts Distribution through TNT Express Worldwide.
TNT Logistics Indonesia - Warehousing and distribution for GM.
TNT Logistics Thailand - Vehicle preparation and distribution for GM.
Warehousing and distribution of Fiat South America.
Logistics support, distribution centre and sequencing for VW manufacturing plant in Argentina.

Equipment Development

Similar to cars, the general lay out of car carrying trailers remains the same, however the technology in use today is far removed from what was in use even 5 years ago. The radical changes in the ergonomic design of motor vehicles has seen front and rear bumpers become deeper resulting in reduced angles of entry and exit, whilst roof heights have increased and floor pans have lowered necessitating the reduction in angles and wheel wells on trailers. The current and next generation vehicles has ruled most existing trailer designs obsolete except for our Cartainer and new 25 metre B-Double designs which came into service in the first week of October 1996.

TNT Automotive Logistics has many Customers with a wide range of model choice and therefore has to continually pursue changing design standards to satisfy the clearances necessary to prevent transit damage. This is not just relevant to the trailer design but all ancillary equipment such as loading ramps, vehicle securing systems and load protection.

Car carrying prime movers and trailers now use load friendly suspensions, non slip deck material made from aluminium oxide and walk ways for the safe movement of transport operator. Ideally they are fully enclosed for paint and glass protection and allow for point to point delivery for reduced double handling, thereby minimising transit damage.

We are completely confident that our new generation equipment is ideally suited to Manufacturers and Importers requirements and TNT Automotive Logistics will remain the undisputed leader in equipment design and innovation.

TNT Automotive Logistics has been extremely active in lobbying Government bodies in changing standards to provide long term quality and productivity benefits to our Customers. One of our successes has been an increase in loaded height to 4.6 metres which is unique to car carrying. This has allowed for greater vertical clearances and the development of flat decks rather than driving over angles and into wheel wells. These decks are also coated with aluminium oxide grit for non slip performance which has superseded steel mesh which can damage the softer compound tyres now fitted to vehicles. It also reduces any rust stains that can occur on vehicles during wet weather.


Our recent innovative development has been the Cartainer. This unit is the first fully automated containerised vehicle transporter in the world giving the ultimate in protection for longhaul movements to Perth, Brisbane, North Queensland and the sea leg to Tasmania. Due to its unique configuration vehicles can be loaded direct from the compound with the Cartainer being transhipped at either the railhead or wharf for the longhaul movement.

The use of the adjustable deck within the container allows for the locking of the frame into the roof for the return journey. The Cartainer then allows for the option of carrying freight other than motor vehicles which can provide backloading to reduce the cost impact on the outbound vehicle freight.

The total security and ride qualities that the Cartainer provides continues our quest to deliver a perfect product to your Dealers and ultimately the retail Customer. Internal clearances combined with specifically designed tie downs ensure that the vehicles arrive in exactly the same condition as they leave your Compounds.

Apart from providing a safe environment which reduces transit damage and pilferage, it can deliver a freight cost below current modes with a greater opportunity to contain future costs as competition on the Australian Rail network increases.

Cartainers have been in operation since June 1996 when TNT Automotive was awarded the Adelaide to Perth distribution by Mitsubishi Motors Australia. This service has given a marked decrease in transit performance from the previous road transport supplier. TNT Automotive is extending its Cartainers fleet to meet the increasing demand of this type of service.

The Self Unloading Skel is again unique and allows for the vehicles to be loaded at the compound and unloaded directly at the Dealer. The development of lightweight aluminium unloading ramps utilising parabolic curves gives greater clearance on the front and rear bumper and the underbody of the vehicle.

At the recent 1997 Australian Freight Industry Awards TNT Automotive won the award for Multi-model Road/Rail Innovation. The presentation was centred around Cartainers.

Enclosed Express Carriers (EEC's)

TNT Automotive Logistics developed the first multi vehicle covered transporter in Australia in 1987. This was a modified transporter with limitations on both the number of vehicles carried and interior design. Through an enormous amount of research and development we now have a fleet of what is regarded as the ultimate car carrier. Known as the EEC (Enclosed Express Carrier) this complete unit fulfils the transport requirements for prestige motor vehicles previously unavailable in Australia.

These are bold statements but entirely realistic as the review of its individual features for both quality and economy highlights. In this development it was necessary to investigate the problems inherent in the longhaul movement of motor vehicles. This basically fell into three categories:
1. The vehicle capacity of the trailer.
2. The effect of internal design on vehicles transported.
3. The dynamic road conditions encountered.

To date the movement of vehicles in fully enclosed trailers has been a costly exercise. This has been brought about by constraints on the capacity of existing trailers that conformed to legislation relative to overall dimensions. TNT Automotive Logistics was successful in including enclosed car carriers in the exemption of height restrictions. The loaded height was moved from 4.3 metres to 4.6 metres which provided additional space for the roof and necessary clearance between the vehicles being carried.

Starting with a completely clean slate regarding internal design, TNT Automotive Logistics was able to provide a number of innovations that reflect on the quality of both the service and the physical vehicle. Very similar to active and passive safety features included in modern cars, we were able to provide these for our operators and vehicles being transported. Occupational Health and Safety was a prerequisite in developing non slip surfaces, decking without crossbars and ramps and innovative tie down methods. Lost time through injury reflects in both our ability to maintain transit times and reduce Workers Compensation premiums, which again provides service and economic benefits.

The vehicle being carried came in for even closer attention to provide a risk free environment. This started with the loading angles being greatly reduced by incorporating the rear door as an extended loading ramp. The angles over the axles were minimised and all internal decks were flattened.

To obtain maximum clearances between vehicles whilst loading, the unique multi level roof is further raised which also provides light and ventilation for the operator. The internal decks are fully sealed and absorbent drip trays catch any wayward fluid leakage eliminating paint damage for the vehicles below and behind.

There is no doubt that the benefit of being totally enclosed is most apparent during transit. The combined risk of stone damage, tree scratches, bird strike, vandalism and fluid leakage are totally eliminated in this sealed environment. The unique combination of large distances and small centralised population will continue to provide limited development on our national road network. It is not uncommon for total resprays of vehicles being required all because another semi trailer proceeding in the other direction has sandblasted them due to excessive speed through roadworks. Inherent continuing problems of reduced customer satisfaction through delay and warranty claims caused by non production quality paint can be very costly.

Enclosed Car Carriers - 3 Car

Recently TNT Automotive Logistics has produced 6 specifically designed 3 Car Enclosed Car Carriers for delivery of vehicles, primarily within the metropolitan area.

These vehicles have been positioned around Australia to provide for an extension of our Interstate EEC and Cartainer delivery program.


Currently TNT Automotive Logistics car carrying fleet is operated utilising dedicated Contract Carriers throughout Australia. We have found that the mix of company trailers and Contract Carrier prime movers instils greater responsibility and care for the vehicles being transported.

The selection of both the Contract Carriers and the specification of their prime mover is dictated by TNT Automotive Logistics. Personnel selection and training is covered later in this proposal. Prime Mover specification is carried out both internally and by a consulting Transport Engineer to make sure that every truck complies with the road regulations for weight, height and length and provides the necessary quality relative to airbag suspension, speed limiters and driver appointments.

Although our current fleet comprises of Contract Carriers we carefully investigate every opportunity to see if company prime movers are more cost effective and if so we would have no hesitation to change as necessary.


Branch Information
Along with all other aspects of our business such as equipment, driver training and IT systems, we have continued to upgrade our Branches and Compounds to provide safer and better handling conditions. Through better operational systems we have been able to plan more efficient loading which has resulted in increased direct deliveries. These systems have also allowed for greater efficiency through the depots so a reduction in terminal size has been possible.

While the minimisation of double handling is in line with the Motor Vehicle Industry aims, it has already resulted in better quality through being able to afford undercover warehouses which eliminated pilferage vandalism and compound damage.

We have endeavoured to provide better facilities and operating conditions for our staff and drivers in line with the quality transport requirements of the Motor Vehicle Industry. Facilities such as training areas, showers and recreation rooms help to provide a better operating environment for people spending time away from home.

Currently we are upgrading the vehicle washing facilities in each of the depot to cater for the increased environmental concerns and to allow for faster washing of vehicles prior to delivery particularly for retail customers.


Training Programs
Five years ago TNT Automotive Logistics in conjunction with Mt Cotton Driver Training Centre set about establishing a unique training course specifically structured for our requirements. The end result is a 4 day live in course titled Professional Driver Development Program made up of modules which covers all aspects of car carrying operations. These include actual driving techniques, tie down practices, driving safety right through to diet and health on the road.

There are also separate courses on small business practices to make sure that our operators remain financially viable. These are just a few examples of the detail and depth of our training programs as we strive to make this a professional industry.

Our goal is set at zero damage and whilst this may not be achievable in reality, we must aim to get as close as possible. Every damage which occurs must initially be commented on the Damage Notification Report. This is filled out by the driver detailing what the damage is, the extent, how it occurred, and more importantly how it can be eliminated in the future. This is presented to the State Manager who discusses the matter with the operator then adds comments as to the action taken. Once signed by both the driver and Manager it is forwarded to Head Office for review and noted in the operations file. This individual counselling has been paramount in decreasing the incidence of damage. This is only one aspect of our statistical control with other areas being performance, attitude and presentation of both the car carrying rig and operator. These are constantly reviewed at Head Office and action is taken on any area which is not of a satisfactory standard.

Australian Standards

TNT Automotive Logistics has commenced the accreditation procedures to attain IS9002 on Total Quality Management. To focus on this project and gain maximum benefit we have a dedicated permanent position of Quality Manager based at our Head Office. These published Quality Procedures will be online to all Branches and Depots Australia wide and reflects only part of our push towards a paperless environment. This accreditation process is also supported and will be extended to our fleet of Contract Carriers and major Suppliers.


All operators and yard personnel are supplied with Company uniforms that have been specifically selected without exposed buttons, zips and buckles to prevent any scratching of vehicles when working in the confines of a car carrying trailer. Operators are also supplied with overalls and gloves worn when securing and unsecuring their load so as to have clean uniforms when entering the vehicles.


Computer Systems
The implementation of the core components of our FACTS (Financial and Car Tracking System) went live throughout Australia in mid January,1994. It is based on a Unix system utilising Ingres relational data base and Windows 4GL. To gain additional benefits from this system we have structured ongoing development since its implementation and will continue to expand and modify areas that are critical to the ongoing success of the business. This provides us with an online graphical system which will result in better and more timely information to ensure reduced delivery times and Management Action reporting.

Our system has been recognised by the computer industry as an example of an extremely functional integrated computer system. At the outset we understood that any future system would need to be far more functional and proactive to obtain the many operational and management improvements required to be cost competitive. An example is that the system compares the quoted transit times for each vehicle to a critical path analysis to make sure dispatch from the compound is in time to meet our transit commitments.

We have been actively progressing in the area of electronic communication interface with other existing customers during the past 6 months.

Vehicle Operational Systems
Our current IT system is very strong relative to operational aspects such as vehicle scheduling, capacity utilisation and track and trace, All stock is displayed in real time throughout Australia and is sorted by destination and urgency. We currently have the ability to display stock in three status being Normal, Express and "Super Urgent". It is only a matter of drag and drop to put selected vehicles onto the car carriers where the system is then able to advise if the trailer ETA will still meet the delivery criteria, and if delays are encountered they are noted against that load and the Receiving Branch is advised automatically so Dealers can be notified,

Historically we have found that since the introduction of the system its functionality has nearly eliminated poor transit performance. The system also registers load effectiveness against modelled criteria and logs any under utilisation as a KPI.

The flexibility that the system provides will allows for tailoring of reports, both hard copy and online to the Motor Vehicle Industry requirements,


The First 30 Years

TNT Car Carrying was born in the mid 60's when the Cargo Mercury Group was partly purchased by TNT. Rudders as customs agents, was part of this Group and through this connection were mainly moving imported products such as VW's and Fiats.

This later expanded to metropolitan movements of manufactured vehicles and it became TNT Car Carrying which reported to TNT Pty Ltd on a State by State basis.

At the start of the 70's it became a National Division reporting to a General Manager based in Sydney. The major developments were still based in Sydney and Brisbane with some rigs in Adelaide and expansion came through the acquisition of Auto Trans Express in Perth,

In the early 70's direct delivery contracts came into favour and we expanded into this market for both Ford and Holden. This was still on the basis of movement to the capital city by Rail or Sea and distribution to Metro and Rural Dealers occurred on roughly a 250 mile limit mainly due to Government Laws protecting the Railways.

1975 saw our first dedicated Interstate service operating a triangular run between Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane. This came about by persuading three independent operators who were working for CAT (Complete Auto Transit) to join us and pioneer our Interstate fleet.

We then slowly expanded our Interstate service based on casual vehicles and independent operators. This was supplemented by running company trailers out of the local fleets in Sydney and Brisbane when necessary,

Through the latter part of the 70's we expanded the network to Perth, Darwin and North Queensland and while continuing to expand the local fleets, we made a decision to concentrate on the development of longhaul routes to give us industry growth and stability.

We set about a program of building some Interstate trailers which were not as successful due to design problems and lack of flexibility but were a good lesson for future developments. To give us additional market penetration we then purchased CAT in 1982, significantly expanding our Interstate fleet from 10 to 60 rigs. During the period 1985-1987 we commenced a build program of 8 car carriers which at that time were the state of the art car carriers available in Australia.

TNT Car Carrying developed the most comprehensive network of Branches in Australia with the inclusion of both Townsville and Canberra during 1985, Our online Vehicle Tracking Computer System (VTS) provided vehicle status throughout Australia instantaneously. July 1986 saw the missing link completed in a service which runs from Perth to the Kimberleys through to Darwin and return. This was the last area of Australia which was not serviced by our own equipment and therefore completed the most extensive coverage of Australia that is possible.

During the downturn in the car industry in 1986 we consolidated by being more selective with our drivers and equipment. This made us much stronger as an organisation when the market picked up in late 1988. Comprehensive training programs were developed in conjunction with the Queensland Transport Department which saw a large decline in damages and accidents.

In 1988 saw the completion of two projects that led us into the 1990's, The commissioning of our first 23 metre B Double 11 car carrier and the development of fully enclosed trailers for luxury vehicles are exciting events in our histor.

With a fleet of B-Doubles now in service, we have continued with a long term build program for both fleet expansion and changing over of existing trailers to provide long term productivity gains. In continuing at the forefront of transport development, TNT Car Carrying put into service a prototype RoadRailer which is a world first for enclosed intermodal seamless distribution of motor vehicles.

Our latest developments have been the design and building of the Enclosed Express Carriers (EEC's), Cartainers and the 25 metre new generation B-Doubles. A build program for these three types of equipment has continued through 1997 with volume build production. Click here to visit TNT's home page

Contact CarsOnline
Copyright 1996 - 2011, CarsOnline

Return to