John Tuohy: Logistics & Transport Leader 2018

Mar 26, 2018

While shortlisted candidates across 16 award categories will have to wait until the night of the Irish Logistics & Transport Awards 2018 gala awards ceremony & dinner to find out if they are successful, one trophy recipient has already been named.

John Tuohy

John Tuohy

On Thursday, April 12th, 2018, John Tuohy, co-founder of Nightline, will receive the Logistics & Transport Leader 2018 award, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to this industry.

John Tuohy is an individual whose success has been fuelled by energy, hard work and a vision about how to improve himself and his chosen profession.

His decision to leave secondary school after completing his Intermediate Certificate at Chanel College in Coolock, was certainly no barrier.

Instead, after a brief intermission in retail, he decided upon a career in logistics which has been marked by progress at every step.

After a spell as a driver and customs clearance clerk with Securicor Air, he moved onwards and upwards to City Air Express before becoming the very first Irish employee when FedEx began trading here in 1987.

During his five years with FedEx, he occupied a number of different positions, including - ultimately - the post of Senior Operations Manager for Ireland.

Together with Dave Field - whom he'd grown up alongside in Artane - he then embarked on the venture for which he is best known on these shores and internationally.


In May 1992, they founded Nightline as an international express and freight forwarding business.

Run from John's spare bedroom, its resources included just two vans and a single mobile 'phone, yet over the course of the next quarter of a century grew to become Ireland's dominant independent delivery firm.

Even the early blow of seeing offices into which they moved destroyed by fire didn't deflect the course of the company.

Within a decade, they had taken the decision to move into the domestic parcel market and had seven depots across the Republic, the first of which was a purpose-built hub at Portlaoise that opened in 2001.

By 2004, Nightline opened its first depot in the north in Belfast and, three years later, moved into new headquarters in a 100,000 square foot depot at Mygan Park in Finglas.

Many firms suffered as the Irish economy was buffeted by recession in 2008, yet John viewed uncertainty as opportunity and not a cause for alarm.

He undertook a major rebrand and marketing campaign to cement Nightline's place in the domestic market.

Its first UK sales office was followed by a rapid series of significant steps, including the launch of an award-winning IT platform, Smartship, which had been developed in-house; the launch of an international business postal system, Eirpost, backed by collaboration with Swiss Post; and, perhaps the most notable of all, the launch of Parcel Motel, a hugely successful nationwide network of self-service parcel lockers.

Nightline Group's sales doubled

In just four years up to 2012, the Nightline Group's sales doubled, thanks in part to huge increase in contracts with UK online retailers.

By the time that all five divisions of Nightline were acquired by UPS in May 2017 - 25 years to the day, in fact, after the company was founded - it had grown to 13 depots and close to 1,000 staff, identifiable by the now familiar 'running man' logo.

John's contribution to Nightline's development has been considerable enough but, as someone with experience of being an employee as well as an entrepreneur, he has always been concerned with the fate of the broader logistics industry.

Campaigning for or against changes in the domestic

He was prominent in campaigning for or against changes in the domestic and international logistics industry.

John was heavily involved in lobbying for the introduction of Eircode, citing its potential to make deliveries in Ireland even more efficient.

He was also sought out by politicians in Dublin, Belfast, London and Brussels for his views on policy and possible regulation which might impact on his industry peers in Ireland and abroad.

Even after Nightline's sale and with his 50th birthday fast approaching, John's interest in and passion for the logistics industry remains undiminished.