Amtrak, Business Direct in administration


Tough trading conditions are receiving the bulk of the blame for
the recent collapse of two delivery firms, Amtrak and Business
Direct Group.

For Amtrak, August marked the second time in two years that
administrators were called in. Some 900 jobs are on the line at
two distribution hubs and 36 distribution depots across the UK.

As of 1st September, Amtrak’s website was instructing customers
to make alternative arrangements for their delivery requirements.
It struck a deal with Business Post to pick up freight stranded
in the Amtrak network, a move Business Post was quick to point
out did not mean it was looking to acquire Amtrak. By 5th
September the Amtrak site had shut down.

One customer now looking to shift its delivery contract to
another supplier is direct marketer Kleeneze. Managing director
Jamie Stewart told Catalogue/e-business that it suffered minimum
disruption once the news broke in late August. As soon as
Kleeneze discovered that Amtrak had gone into administration,
prior to the public announcement, it contracted with Parcelforce
to pick up the business while Stewart sought a permanent carrier.

“We’re fortunate that as part of [multititle mailer] Findel
we were able to pull in a lot of resources, and Parcelforce bent
over backwards to help too,” he said. “If we had not
had the resources within the group to react quickly to this, it
would have been catastrophic”.

At press time Kleeneze was receiving all parcels stuck in the
Amtrak network back from the administrators and had instructed
all its distributors to reorder, as all previous orders had been
cancelled. All distributors were fully credited for cancelled
orders, Stewart added.

Another victim of the economic downturn, Business Direct Group
went into administration on 29th August. Just days later, on 1st
September, fellow courier firm DX Group acquired two of Business
Direct’s three divisions: In-Night, which operates a network of
secure drop boxes for parcel delivery, and PX Worldwide
Licensing, which licenses secure delivery technology. DX Group
aims to extend the PX (ParcelXChange) network of 4,000 automated
drop boxes from its established user base of field engineers to
offer a consumer proposition for a secure unattended delivery
option.

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