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About Unitrans

OUR HISTORY | OUR LEADERSHIP | OUR FOOTPRINT

Our Proud History

Unitrans’ proud history started as United Transport in 1962 after acquiring a family-owned business, Thornton’s Transport which dated back to 1892. Since these humble beginnings, Unitrans has grown to be one of Southern Africa’s most recognised brands in the logistics and supply chain industry. With roots of well over 100 years, Unitrans continues to grow, innovate and form strategic alliances with its valued customers.

History of Unitrans

1892: Thornton’s Transportation

The origins of the company date back to the 19th century, long before the existence of United Transport. The original core of the business was Thornton’s Transportation, a solid and respectable family transport business founded in 1892 by native Californian Samuel Thornton.

Thornton’s steady growth through the acquisition of other transport companies eventually resulted in a major buyout by the United Transportation Company. In turn, the United Transportation Company had started life as a bus operating company in the United Kingdom in 1930. The bus company evolved into a diversified freight and bus business which, prior to the Thornton acquisition and the entry into SA, successfully operated in several other African countries.

1892: Thornton’s Transportation

The origins of the company date back to the 19th century, long before the existence of United Transport. The original core of the business was Thornton’s Transportation, a solid and respectable family transport business founded in 1892 by native Californian Samuel Thornton.

Thornton’s steady growth through the acquisition of other transport companies eventually resulted in a major buyout by the United Transportation Company. In turn, the United Transportation Company had started life as a bus operating company in the United Kingdom in 1930. The bus company evolved into a diversified freight and bus business which, prior to the Thornton acquisition and the entry into SA, successfully operated in several other African countries.

1962: United Transport

In 1962 United Transport Company is incorporated in South Africa and by the early 1970s United Transport had become the country’s largest road transport organisation, with capabilities and major interests in freight haulage, passenger transport, tourism, tanker services, as well as crane and plant hire. The group operated a fleet of some 1 400 buses and commercial vehicles, making it the second largest fleet in the country after the SA Railways. It had also branched out into a car hire business with some 900 vehicles.

1962: United Transport

In 1962 United Transport Company is incorporated in South Africa and by the early 1970s United Transport had become the country’s largest road transport organisation, with capabilities and major interests in freight haulage, passenger transport, tourism, tanker services, as well as crane and plant hire. The group operated a fleet of some 1 400 buses and commercial vehicles, making it the second largest fleet in the country after the SA Railways. It had also branched out into a car hire business with some 900 vehicles.

1970s: A Focus on Growth

Unitrans has been in business as United Transport since 1962 and has become one of South Africa’s most recognised logistics and supply chain brands, with fleets on roads all over Southern Africa. A growth period followed with acquisitions of a number of regional bus operators and transportation companies including African Bus Services, Rustenburg Bus Services, Vaal Transport Corporation and Empangeni Transport. The company expanded its customer base with contracts in sugar cane that still exists today. The Unitrans Botswana, Malawi and Lesotho businesses were also established during this period.

1970s: A Focus on Growth

Unitrans has been in business as United Transport since 1962 and has become one of South Africa’s most recognised logistics and supply chain brands, with fleets on roads all over Southern Africa. A growth period followed with acquisitions of a number of regional bus operators and transportation companies including African Bus Services, Rustenburg Bus Services, Vaal Transport Corporation and Empangeni Transport. The company expanded its customer base with contracts in sugar cane that still exists today. The Unitrans Botswana, Malawi and Lesotho businesses were also established during this period.

1982: Formation of Passenger and Freight

1982 saw the formation of United Passenger Transport and United Freight Transport as holding companies for the passenger and freight divisions. United Passenger Transport focusing on the movement of people and United Freight Transport focusing on the movement and storage of goods.

1982: Formation of Passenger and Freight

1982 saw the formation of United Passenger Transport and United Freight Transport as holding companies for the passenger and freight divisions. United Passenger Transport focusing on the movement of people and United Freight Transport focusing on the movement and storage of goods.

1987: Unitrans is Born

United Freight Transport changes its name to Unitrans limited with all of its subsidiary businesses assuming the name Unitrans. In October 1987 Unitrans Limited is listed on the JSE.

1987: Unitrans is Born

United Freight Transport changes its name to Unitrans limited with all of its subsidiary businesses assuming the name Unitrans. In October 1987 Unitrans Limited is listed on the JSE.

1990s to 2000s: Growth and Acquisitions

From the late 1990's onwards, several significant acquisitions expanded the range and geographical reach of the Unitrans business. These included the acquisition of Matthysen Bus Transport, which would be renamed Mega Bus and Coach – still an integral part of the Unitrans passenger transportation business. Malbak Motors, a leading national vehicle distributor at the time, was acquired and renamed Unitrans Motors. This was followed by the launch of Unitrans Finance to provide consumer credit to the burgeoning motor vehicle market.

Unitrans Motors subsequently acquired the balance of shares in Hertz Rent-a-Car. The Unitrans Motors successes were followed by the acquisition of the entire shareholding in Roadway Logistics (Pty)Ltd. During this period the Unitrans Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia, and Madagascar were established.

1990s to 2000s: Growth and Acquisitions

From the late 1990's onwards, several significant acquisitions expanded the range and geographical reach of the Unitrans business. These included the acquisition of Matthysen Bus Transport, which would be renamed Mega Bus and Coach – still an integral part of the Unitrans passenger transportation business. Malbak Motors, a leading national vehicle distributor at the time, was acquired and renamed Unitrans Motors. This was followed by the launch of Unitrans Finance to provide consumer credit to the burgeoning motor vehicle market.

Unitrans Motors subsequently acquired the balance of shares in Hertz Rent-a-Car. The Unitrans Motors successes were followed by the acquisition of the entire shareholding in Roadway Logistics (Pty)Ltd. During this period the Unitrans Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia, and Madagascar were established.

2006: A Modern Restructure

In this year a major restructure of the business saw the formation of Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions. This response to sophisticated changes in the supply chain market saw the existing operations of Unitrans Freight; Fuel and Chemical, Agriculture and Mining Services and Roadway Logistics grouped under the new holding division. An important new function, Unitrans Customer Solution Development, was created to deliver new business opportunities and growth to the operational divisions.

2006: A Modern Restructure

In this year a major restructure of the business saw the formation of Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions. This response to sophisticated changes in the supply chain market saw the existing operations of Unitrans Freight; Fuel and Chemical, Agriculture and Mining Services and Roadway Logistics grouped under the new holding division. An important new function, Unitrans Customer Solution Development, was created to deliver new business opportunities and growth to the operational divisions.

2007: Formation of Unitrans Holdings

Unitrans Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of Steinhoff International Group, is formed and acquires the entire business of Unitrans Limited; Unitrans is subsequently delisted.

2007: Formation of Unitrans Holdings

Unitrans Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of Steinhoff International Group, is formed and acquires the entire business of Unitrans Limited; Unitrans is subsequently delisted.

2008: Acquisition of Xinergistix

Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions acquires a 26% stake in line haul business Xinergistix Management Services.

2008: Acquisition of Xinergistix

Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions acquires a 26% stake in line haul business Xinergistix Management Services.

2010s: Growth and Profitability Focus

Unitrans Passenger division starts managing and operating the Gautrain commuter bus fleet.

Unitrans Zambia and Eswatini is established and some businesses are discontinued to focus on profitable services (including dealerships and financial services).

2010s: Growth and Profitability Focus

Unitrans Passenger division starts managing and operating the Gautrain commuter bus fleet.

Unitrans Zambia and Eswatini is established and some businesses are discontinued to focus on profitable services (including dealerships and financial services).

2012: KAP Industrial Holdings

KAP Industrial Holdings acquires Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions and Unitrans Passenger to become part of their diversified portfolio of Industrial brands.

2012: KAP Industrial Holdings

KAP Industrial Holdings acquires Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions and Unitrans Passenger to become part of their diversified portfolio of Industrial brands.

2016: Lucerne Transport

Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions acquires commercial tanker transport company Lucerne Transport.

2016: Lucerne Transport

Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions acquires commercial tanker transport company Lucerne Transport.

2018: B-BBEE transaction and establishment of Unitrans Africa

Unitrans Africa is established as a focused African business in 2018 to drive growth on the continent. Decades of deep relationships laid the foundation for a growing network of operations spanning several Southern African and East African countries. Today Unitrans has a footprint across 10 countries offering tailored innovative solutions and entrenching long-term partnerships. Our market presence spans multiple sectors and industries.

In the same year, a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment deal is concluded and Xinergistix becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of the Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions business.

2018: B-BBEE transaction and establishment of Unitrans Africa

Unitrans Africa is established as a focused African business in 2018 to drive growth on the continent. Decades of deep relationships laid the foundation for a growing network of operations spanning several Southern African and East African countries. Today Unitrans has a footprint across 10 countries offering tailored innovative solutions and entrenching long-term partnerships. Our market presence spans multiple sectors and industries.

In the same year, a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment deal is concluded and Xinergistix becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of the Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions business.

2023: One Unitrans

The three Unitrans businesses, Unitrans Africa, Unitrans Passenger and Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions, are merged into one collective management and operating structure in order to strengthen the market positioning in the various sectors that the business operates in, to leverage collective resources, skills and expertise and to position the collective business for growth.

2023: One Unitrans

The three Unitrans businesses, Unitrans Africa, Unitrans Passenger and Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions, are merged into one collective management and operating structure in order to strengthen the market positioning in the various sectors that the business operates in, to leverage collective resources, skills and expertise and to position the collective business for growth.

Uni Roadmap mobile3 1

1892: Thornton’s Transportation

 

The origins of the company date back to the 19th century, long before the existence of United Transport. The original core of the business was Thornton’s Transportation, a solid and respectable family transport business founded in 1892 by native Californian Samuel Thornton.

 

Thornton’s steady growth through the acquisition of other transport companies eventually resulted in a major buyout by the United Transportation Company. In turn, the United Transportation Company had started life as a bus operating company in the United Kingdom in 1930. The bus company evolved into a diversified freight and bus business which, prior to the Thornton acquisition and the entry into SA, successfully operated in several other African countries.

1962: United Transport

 

In 1962 United Transport Company is incorporated in South Africa and by the early 1970s United Transport had become the country’s largest road transport organisation, with capabilities and major interests in freight haulage, passenger transport, tourism, tanker services, as well as crane and plant hire. The group operated a fleet of some 1 400 buses and commercial vehicles, making it the second largest fleet in the country after the SA Railways. It had also branched out into a car hire business with some 900 vehicles.

1970s: A Focus on Growth

 

Unitrans has been in business as United Transport since 1962 and has become one of South Africa’s most recognised logistics and supply chain brands, with fleets on roads all over Southern Africa. A growth period followed with acquisitions of a number of regional bus operators and transportation companies including African Bus Services, Rustenburg Bus Services, Vaal Transport Corporation and Empangeni Transport. The company expanded its customer base with contracts in sugar cane that still exists today. The Unitrans Botswana, Malawi and Lesotho businesses were also established during this period.

1982: Formation of Passenger and Freight

 

1982 saw the formation of United Passenger Transport and United Freight Transport as holding companies for the passenger and freight divisions. United Passenger Transport focusing on the movement of people and United Freight Transport focusing on the movement and storage of goods.

1987: Unitrans is Born

 

United Freight Transport changes its name to Unitrans limited with all of its subsidiary businesses assuming the name Unitrans. In October 1987 Unitrans Limited is listed on the JSE

1990s to 2000s: Growth and Acquisitions

 

From the late 1990’s onwards, several significant acquisitions expanded the range and geographical reach of the Unitrans business. These included the acquisition of Matthysen Bus Transport, which would be renamed Mega Bus and Coach – still an integral part of the Unitrans passenger transportation business. Malbak Motors, a leading national vehicle distributor at the time, was acquired and renamed Unitrans Motors. This was followed by the launch of Unitrans Finance to provide consumer credit to the burgeoning motor vehicle market.

 

Unitrans Motors subsequently acquired the balance of shares in Hertz Rent-a-Car. The Unitrans Motors successes were followed by the acquisition of the entire shareholding in Roadway Logistics (Pty)Ltd. During this period the Unitrans Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia, and Madagascar were established.

2006: A Modern Restructure

 

In this year a major restructure of the business saw the formation of Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions. This response to sophisticated changes in the supply chain market saw the existing operations of Unitrans Freight; Fuel and Chemical, Agriculture and Mining Services and Roadway Logistics grouped under the new holding division. An important new function, Unitrans Customer Solution Development, was created to deliver new business opportunities and growth to the operational divisions.

2007: Formation of Unitrans Holdings

 

Unitrans Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of Steinhoff International Group, is formed and acquires the entire business of Unitrans Limited; Unitrans is subsequently delisted.

2008: Acquisition of Xinergistix

 

Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions acquires a 26% stake in line haul business Xinergistix Management Services.

2016: Lucerne Transport

 

Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions acquires commercial tanker transport company Lucerne Transport.

2012: KAP Industrial Holdings

 

KAP Industrial Holdings acquires Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions and Unitrans Passenger to become part of their diversified portfolio of Industrial brands.

2010s: Growth and Profitability Focus

Unitrans Passenger division starts managing and operating the Gautrain commuter bus fleet.

Unitrans Zambia and Eswatini is established and some businesses are discontinued to focus on profitable services (including dealerships and financial services).

2018: B-BBEE transaction and establishment of Unitrans Africa

 

Unitrans Africa is established as a focused African business in 2018 to drive growth on the continent. Decades of deep relationships laid the foundation for a growing network of operations spanning several Southern African and East African countries. Today Unitrans has a footprint across 10 countries offering tailored innovative solutions and entrenching long-term partnerships. Our market presence spans multiple sectors and industries.

 

In the same year, a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment deal is concluded and Xinergistix becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of the Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions business.

2023: One Unitrans

 

The three Unitrans businesses, Unitrans Africa, Unitrans Passenger and Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions, are merged into one collective management and operating structure in order to strengthen the market positioning in the various sectors that the business operates in, to leverage collective resources, skills and expertise and to position the collective business for growth.

Terry Bantock Chief Executive Officer at Unitrans

Terry Bantock

Chief Executive Officer

TEAM

Leadership At Unitrans

Unitrans is a company that understands the importance of strong and effective leadership. With a commitment to excellence, our leadership team is dedicated to providing direction, motivation, and support to our employees to ensure the success of our company.

At Unitrans, we value transparency, collaboration, and innovation, and our leadership team is committed to creating a culture that encourages these values. Our leaders lead by example and are committed to building a company that is both successful and fulfilling for all our employees.

Operational Leadership Team

Rob Hayworth Chief Operating Officer; Agriculture at Unitrans

Rob Hayworth

Chief Operating Officer; Agriculture

Martin Loubser Chief Operating Officer; Specialised Bulk at Unitrans

Martin Loubser

Chief Operating Officer; Specialised Bulk

Carl Malherbe Chief Operating Officer; Food and Consumer at Unitrans

Carl Malherbe

Chief Operating Officer; Food and Consumer

Derek Lewis Chief Operating Officer; People Transport at Unitrans

Derek Lewis

Chief Operating Officer; People Transport

John Kettlewell Chief Operating Officer; Mining at Unitrans

John Kettlewell

Chief Operating Officer; Mining

Gareth Jones Chief Operating Officer; Industrial at Unitrans

Gareth Jones

Chief Operating Officer; Industrial

Functional Leadership Team

Andile Luke Chief People Office at Unitrans

Andile Luke

Chief People Officer

Carli Venter Chief Strategy Officer at Unitrans

Carli Venter

Chief Strategy Officer

Chris van Zyl Chief Financial Officer at Unitrans

Chris van Zyl

Chief Financial Officer

Adriaan de Beer Chief Commercial Officer at Unitrans

Adriaan de Beer

Chief Commercial Officer

Gert Brits Chief Technical Officer at Unitrans

Gert Brits

Chief Technical Officer

Jacques Greeff Chief Excellence Officer at Unitrans

Jacques Greeff

Chief Excellence Officer

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