Merry Christmas, from Laurie Dealer

Laurie Dealer is signing off for 2010 and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Laurie Dealer, like many others through the holidays, will be braving the motorway network to visit the children and their various offspring.

Otherwise time will be taken up carving turkey and associated trimmings, followed by several days making turkey sandwiches and associated trimmings, and avoid being recruited for an Ugly Sister at the local pantomime.

Laurie Dealer will leave you with the most non-festive of tunes...

Drink up thy zider - The Wurzels

TNT to enter B2C home deliveries in 2011 says new boss Alistair Cochrane

TNT Express Services is to develop a high-end B2C home-delivery service in 2011 following the appointment of Alistair Cochrane as MD. The move is in contrast to Cochrane's predecessor Tom Bell, who retires at the end of the year and was reluctant to expand the B2C business beyond its existing 15% of TNT Express Services' volumes.

"We have always shied away from home deliveries and my stance has always been I don't want B2C," says Bell. "I don't know anyone who makes money out it, so Alistair's challenge will be to embrace it and find a solution."

Speaking to in his first interview since it was announced he was taking the reins at Britain's biggest express parcels carrier, Cochrane agrees that TNT's cost base and high-quality service means it will never compete at the cheap end of the home-delivery market.

"We don't want to be in the lifestyle sector because the margins are too low," he says. "We need to create something in B2C or at least approach it in a different way. It may be a new revenue stream for us and some of our customers would be keen for us to create an offering there. But we have to look at the returns that we can make because it is a low-yielding market."

TNT worked successfully with Apple on home deliveries for the iPad and Cochrane says the focus will be on high-value technology products. The company is planning to run smaller vehicles - 5-tonne rather than 7.5-tonne trucks and possibly electric vans - to cut costs and carbon emissions.

As well as B2C, Cochrane will look to develop TNT Express Services' international and business solutions activities, which includes specialist services such as archive and document management for large public and private organisations.

"Filling Tom's shoes is going to be a tough task," Cochrane admits. "We have to capitalise on the differentiation we create in the marketplace. What has always set TNT apart is the 'can do, make it happen' philosophy and that has to remain front and centre. If you talk to customers, what holds true is that TNT will get through when others can't."