Founded in Australia after the second World War, TNT went Dutch in 1992 following rapid international expansion.
In 2016, the company was acquired by FedEx.



Our origins

Today, TNT Express is a global company, operating in 200 countries around the world. But the company actually started from very humble beginnings, in Australia back in the 1940s, when Ken Thomas set up his own transport business with just a single truck.

Business boomed in the 1950s as Ken’s company began offering road and rail freight services across Australia including, for the first time, new overnight services. In 1958, the company became known as Thomas Nationwide Transport or TNT for short and, by 1961, TNT had become so successful that it was listed on the Australian stock exchange.

1946 | Day One

Our roots are in Australia. In 1946, Ken Thomas started his own company - Thomas Nationwide Transport - with a single truck. In less than 50 years, his company grew into a global enterprise, even operating its own fleet of aircraft. Much of the growth came from take-overs and interests acquired in other companies.

1962 | Listing of TNT

TNT was listed on the Sydney stock exchange in January 1962.

1967 | Merge with Alltrans

In 1967, TNT merged with Alltrans, one of the major privately-owned groups in the Australian freight transportation industry, founded in 1950 by (Sir) Peter Abeles. The merger moved TNT into its first overseas business activity - in New Zealand, where Alltrans had a substantial presence.


player in transportation

International expansion

TNT continued to grow throughout the 1960s, and following the company’s success in Australia and New Zealand, international expansion was the next natural step.

The business went global in the 1970s and 1980s. TNT gained an instant foothold in new markets by buying transportation companies in Europe, North America and Brazil.

By the 1980s, the company’s focus, in terms of growth, was very much on Europe. TNT acquired major companies in the overnight and express delivery industry. It was also the first transport company to buy its own aircraft, creating the first pan-European overnight service using a dedicated fleet.

By the 1990s, the TNT group had 70,000 employees. But its bid to become a worldwide player in transportation had led it to diversify very quickly – and it needed to find new investment.

1992 | Participation in GD Express Worldwide

In 1992, TNT’s international time-sensitive freight operations in Europe, together with TNT Skypak and TNT Mailfast, combined with the international time-sensitive mail services businesses of the Dutch telecoms and postal company KPN, plus the postal companies of Canada, France, Germany and Sweden, to form GD Express Worldwide (GDEW). TNT owned 50% of GDEW. A close commercial relationship began to grow between TNT and PTT Post, KPN’s postal division.


Post and Express

The Dutch connection

In the 1990s, the Dutch national post-and-telecoms company was looking to expand its business overseas. It had had a monopoly in the Netherlands for almost 200 years, but, with the arrival of modern communication technology, it needed to move with the times to protect its traditional mail business. In 1989, it had become a private company, called KPN, giving it more flexibility and freedom to diversify. 

KPN took its first steps on the international express market in 1992 and, in 1996, it acquired the TNT group, heralding a new era for the global post and express industry.

By 1998, KPN determined that the collaboration of their postal division with TNT would go it alone and divested TNT Post Group (TPG) to list independently on the stock exchanges of Amsterdam, New York, London and Frankfurt.

To consolidate the brand and improve worldwide recognition, the name 'TPG' was to be dropped in favour of 'TNT' in 2005.

1994 | KPN Flotation I

The State of the Netherlands sold 30% of its shares in PTT Nederland NV to KPN. The combined postal/telecommunications company known as Royal PTT Nederland NV (KPN) listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

1995 | KPN Flotation II

After selling another 25% of its original holding, the State of the Netherlands no longer had a controlling interest in KPN, a clear signal to the international market. The company now also obtained a listing on the New York Stock Exchange, followed in 1996 by listings in Frankfurt and London.

1996 | Acquisition of TNT

On 2 October 1996, KPN publicly bid for TNT. The friendly take-over was completed in December 1996. Important steps were taken to integrate business activities of TNT and KPN’s postal division, PTT Post. TNT's activities outside the core businesses of Mail, Express and Logistics were sold off.

1998 | International road and air hub expansion

In April 1998, TNT opened its state-of-the-art European Express Centre (EEC) in Liège, Belgium, to process all freight consignments within Europe. It became the TNT air hub link with the rest of the world, being designed to handle 1,000 tonnes of freight per night via dedicated sorting systems and units specifically for documents, parcels and aircraft containers.
Later that year, in October 1998, a new international road hub and national depot opened in Duiven, the Netherlands.

1998 | Demerger creates TNT Post Group (TPG)

On Monday 29 June 1998, TNT Post Group (formed by TNT and PTT Post) separated from KPN. From that date, TPG stock was listed independently on the stock exchanges of Amsterdam, New York, London and Frankfurt.

1998 | Acquisition of Jet Services, France

In December 1998, TPG acquired the express company Jet Services S.A. in France. TPG bought 100% of the shares from Financière Jet Services S.A. Founded in 1973, Jet Services provided express services in France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, Hungary and Switzerland.

1999 | Co-operation with Swiss Post

In November 1999, TPG and the Swiss Post established a strategic alliance in express and courier services. TPG gained access to Swiss Post’s network and its highly developed technology. In turn, Swiss Post was able to connect its customers to TPG’s worldwide mail, express and logistics networks. The joint venture still exists with headquarters in Switzerland.

2004 | TNT Express European air hub expands

In May 2004, TPG announced major expansion of the TNT Express European air hub in Liège, Belgium.


Mergers &

All over the world

During the TPG and TNT years, the company acquired one company after another. After Jet Services in France, it acquired in quick succession TG+ in Spain, Hoau in China, Speedage in India, Mercúrio and Araçatuba in Brazil and LIT Cargo in Chile. TNT also opened up intercontinental routes between Asia and Europe with daily dedicated TNT-owned and leased Boeing 747 flights linking China and Southeast Asia to Dubai and Europe. The acquisitions and new intercontinental routes allowed TNT to facilitate its global Focus on Network’s strategy. Meanwhile, in line with this strategy, the Logistics division was sold off.

At this time, TNT also developed a keen social policy, understanding early on its truly positive impact on business, employees, customers, investors, communities and the planet.  In 2002, TNT announced its partnership with the UN World Food Programme, under which it would deploy its people, resources and skills to help WFP in the fight against world hunger. In 2007, TNT launched Planet Me, a programme to reduce the company’s CO2 emissions in a wide variety of ways. TNT consistently ranked first in our industry on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index -  a list that tracks sustainability leaders among the largest companies in the world - and achieved the highest score of any company on the DJSI.

2005 | TPG becomes TNT

On 14 January 2005, the name TPG is discarded, in favour of TNT. The TNT brand is now used globally to increase worldwide recognition and to allow for more efficient brand communication.

2005 | TNT links China to Europe with Boeings

On 31 October 2005, TNT announces the lease of two B747-400ERF freighters to begin a new direct service between Europe and Asia.

2005 | Focus on Networks strategy announced

On 6 December 2005, TNT announces a change in strategy: the company is to focus on delivery services via Mail, Express and Freight transport networks. TNT also announces it is to exit the Logistics business. This division is acquired by Apollo Management in August 2006 which initiates a € 1 billion share repurchase to begin on 6 December.

2005 | TG+ acquired in Spain

On 6 December 2005, TNT announces the acquisition of TG+, a leading Spanish domestic distribution company, to expand and strengthen its domestic express business and to fuel its international express business in Spain, a strategic market in Europe with high growth potential.

2006 | Speedage acquired in India

On 1 September 2006, TNT announces the acquisition of ARC India Limited, one of India’s leading road express companies which operates under the trade name Speedage Express Cargo Services.

2006 | TNT acquires China-based Hoau

On 29 September 2006, TNT signs the Equity Transfer Agreement with Shanghai-based Hoau Group, to acquire its nationwide road transport and freight business.

2007 | TNT acquires Mercúrio in Brazil

On 10 January, 2007, TNT announces the completion of its acquisition of 100% of the shares of Expresso Mercúrio S.A. (Mercúrio), Brazil’s market leader in domestic express. The acquisition provides TNT with an ideal platform to further develop an integrated South American road express network.

2007 | Planet Me launch

In August 2007, TNT’s (then) CEO Peter Bakker launched TNT’s strategy to improve transparency on the company’s carbon footprint, to drastically reduce CO2 emissions from the company’s operations and to stimulate all 159,000 employees to do the same in their private lives. The initiative is called Planet Me.

2009 | Acquisition of LIT Cargo (Chile)

On 16 February 2009, TNT announces the acquisition of 100% of LIT Cargo, a leading express delivery company in Chile. The acquisition gives TNT a strong nationwide road network in Chile and strengthens its position in the country’s domestic express delivery market – both instrumental in TNT’s ambition to develop a South American Road Network (SARN), linking Chile to Brazil and Argentina.

2009 | Araçatuba acquired in Brazil

On 28 April 2009, TNT announces its acquisition of Expresso Araçatuba Transportes e Logística S.A., a key delivery partner of TNT Mercúrio in Brazil's Central West and North regions since 2001.

2010 | TNT to separate Mail and Express

During its annual Analysts' Meeting in December, TNT announces a separation proposal that will see the company being split-up in two independent entities: TNT Express and TNT Post (which would be renamed PostNL).


TNT Express goes public.
FedEx acquires TNT

Onto the future

The split-up of TNT N.V. which was announced in December 2010, materialised in May 2011 when TNT Express and TNT Post (now: PostNL) were separately listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

2011 | TNT Express listed on stock exchange

On May 26, TNT Express was listed on the Euronext NYSE stock exchange. The listing was part of the de-merger from TNT NV, which received shareholder approval at TNT NV’s Extraordinary General Meeting of Shareholders (EGM).

2012 | UPS shows interest

On 19 March, United Parcel Service announced its intention to acquire TNT Express.  

2013 | UPS merger falls through

On 14 January, UPS announced that they would not continue with the proposed acquisition of TNT Express, seeing the objections pronounced by the European Commission.

2013 | Tex Gunning CEO

On June 1, Tex Gunning started as Chief Executive Officer of TNT Express.  

2013 | China Domestic sold

On November 1, the sale of the China domestic road operations (Hoau) to private equity funds was completed.

2014 | Outlook strategy

On 18 February, TNT announced a turnaround and transformation strategy, called Outlook. It targets substantial improvements in performance to meet the needs of TNT's stakeholders (customers, employees and shareholders).

2014 | The People Network

On 29 September, TNT launched a new brand identity, as part of the Outlook strategy. The new brand highlights TNT's dedicated employees and unique European road network, and will help reposition the company as a challenger in the marketplace.

2015 | FedEx shows interest

On April 7, FedEx announced its intention to acquire TNT Express.

2016 | FedEx acquires TNT Express

On 25 May, FedEx completed the acquisition of TNT Express. The combination builds upon competitive positioning in global transportation and logistics industry. 

Page publication date: 12 March 2018 16:20 CET