Exel plc History

Ocean House, The Ring
Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 1AN
United Kingdom

Telephone: (1344) 302000
Fax: (1344) 710031

Public Company
Incorporated: 1865 as the Ocean Steam Ship Company; 1981 as National Freight Consortium PLC
Employees: 61,700
Sales: £4.5 billion ($6.5 billion) (2001)
Stock Exchanges: London
Ticker Symbol: EXL
NAIC: 541614 Process, Physical Distribution, and Logistics Consulting Services; 488510 Freight Transportation Arrangement

Company Perspectives:

Our global strategy revolves around expanding our geographical and service penetration, strengthening positions in key market sectors, and providing consistent global capabilities and management.

Key Dates:

Alfred and Philip Holt set up the Ocean Steam Ship Company.
World War II has a devastating effect on Ocean's business.
Ocean lists on the London Stock Exchange; the firm begins investing in containerization.
McGregor Swire Air Services (MSAS) is formed as a joint venture between Ocean and Swire; the government forms National Freight Corporation (NFC).
Four British companies establish Overseas Containers Ltd. (OCL).
The British government sells NFC to company employees.
Ocean sells its interest in OCL.
NFC creates Exel Logistics.
Ocean changes its name to Ocean Group plc.
Ocean unites its logistics companies under the MSAS name.
Ocean merges with NFC plc to form Exel plc.

Company History:

Further Reading:

  • Davidson, Andrew, "John Allan," Management Today, April 1998, p. 76.
  • "Exel Confident Despite 6% Fall in Full-Year Pretax Profit," Futures World News, June 8, 2001.
  • "Exel Reorganizes," Chemical Week, November 3, 1999, p. 45.
  • Falkus, Malcolm, The Blue Funnel Legend: A History of the Ocean Steam Ship Company, 1865-1973, London: Macmillan, 1990.
  • Hobsbawm, E. J., Industry and Empire: From 1750 to the Present Day, London: Penguin Books, 1969.
  • Hyde, Francis E., Blue Funnel: A History of Alfred Holt and Company of Liverpool from 1865 to 1914, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1956.
  • McLachlan, Sandy, The National Freight Buy-Out, London: Macmillan, 1983.
  • "NFC, Ocean Group Agree to Combine for 2.66 Billion Euros," Wall Street Journal Europe, February 22, 2000, p. 4.
  • "Ocean, NFC Merger Focuses on Growth," Logistics Management & Distribution Report, May 1, 2000, p. 24.
  • Roskill, S. W., A Merchant Fleet in War: Alfred Holt & Co. 1939-1945, London: Collins, 1962.
  • Thompson, Peter, Sharing the Success: The Story of NFC, London: Collins, 1990.
  • Turnbull, Gerard L., Traffic and Transport: An Economic History of Pickfords, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1979.
  • Turney, Roger, "MSAS Grows," Air Cargo World, April 1999, p. 13.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 51. St. James Press, 2003.