City Link – originally commissioned in 1969 by ‘British Rail’

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Launched in 1969 to provide infrastructure for Red Star Parcels (a now-defunct delivery service run by British Rail – predecessor of National Rail), City Link is now one of the UK’s largest private courier firms.

Mainly specialising in next-day products for both business and individual clients, the company also offer long-haul freight services across the UK.

City Link boast 67 depots across the UK and Ireland, serviced by a fleet of 2,500 delivery vehicles – through which they deal with an estimated 76 million items annually. Although the majority of their business is done between UK destinations, the company have a number of partners across the globe that allow them to offer international shipping – however, they are far behind rivals DPD and DHL in this regard.

In recent years questions have been raised over the viability of the business going forward, with City Link posting heavy losses on their financial returns for a number of years. Previous owners Rentokil Initial stated their intention to reverse the fortunes of the company in 2008 – however, following annual losses rising to £18 million in 2011, the business was sold to private holding firm Better Capital – though it is currently unknown their success in reviving the brand.

One of the main reasons for City Link’s steady decline has been the increasingly competitive nature of the delivery industry in modern times, with newcomers UK Mail and Yodel each becoming forces in their own right, adding to the growth of traditional competitors Hermes, Parcelforce and TNT.