It was in 1904 that Émile Calberson founded his goods transport company in Le Havre (France). The business was initially limited to transporting luggage and parcels on passenger trains and then delivering them from stations to the customer’s address. He soon opened a branch in Paris. Rail activity gave way to road transport and in 1920, the Société des Transports Routiers Calberson company was born. The business was taken over by SCETA, an SNCF subsidiary, in 1961.
The number-two overland transport company in France behind SNCF, Calberson took on an international dimension in 1966 through acquisitions. From 1970 onwards, numerous branches were opened in France and internationally, including in the Netherlands, the UK, Italy and Germany. In 1981, the network covered 93 French departments and in 1984 Calberson was listed on the Second Market of the Paris Stock Exchange. The following year, the company consolidated its position in the UK by buying Cavewood Transport and in 1987 reinforced its international status by taking a majority stake in Hermann Ludwig Gmbh & Co, with its sizeable network of branches in North America and South East Asia.
In late 1995, the merger of SCETA’s other subsidiaries in non-rail goods transport (Bourgey Montreuil, SCETA Transport and SCETA International) gave rise to Compagnie Générale Calberson, which adopted GEODIS as its company name.
On privatization in 1996 the GEODIS group reorganized into four businesses: groupage, road, logistics and overseas.
With the acquisition in 2006 of the Freight Forwarding division of TNT Freight Management, renamed GEODIS Wilson, GEODIS doubled its activity in the sector and strengthened its position in Scandinavia, the Americas, Asia and Australia. In another key development, the Group acquired the worldwide coordination platform for IBM’s logistics activities in 2008 and signed a long-term contract to manage IBM’s entire supply chain. The contract led to the creation of the Group’s fifth Line of Business: Supply Chain Optimization for customers looking to outsource all or part of their logistics activities.
That same year, following a takeover bid from SNCF, which already held a 42% share in the company, GEODIS became a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNCF and joined the group’s new Transport and Logistics division.
Creation of Transports Rapides Calberson in Le Havre, renamed Société des Transports Routiers Calberson in 1920.
SCETA takes over Société des Transports Routiers Calberson.
The GEODIS group is created with the merger of Compagnie Générale Calberson, Bourgey Montreuil, SCETA Transport and SCETA International.
The Group is privatized by the decree of August 20, 1996 and restructures into four Lines of Business: Groupage, Overseas, Logistics and Road.
GEODIS forms a partnership with the German company Rohde & Liesenfeld to strengthen its international sales and transport network. The company confirms a return to profit.
GEODIS expands its Asian network with new business locations in its own name in Indonesia and Korea.
GEODIS Calberson celebrates its centenary. The Group confirms its return to profitable growth.
GEODIS is floated on Compartment B of the Eurolist market of Euronext in Paris. The Group launches its European groupage service, Eurofirst.
The Group acquires TNT’s Freight Forwarding division, ranking it among the leading freight management operators in Europe.
GEODIS launches a share capital increase that proves an outstanding success. The Group acquires Rohde & Liesenfeld and introduces a new organization structure based on four Lines of Business: Groupage, Freight Forwarding, Contract Logistics and Road.
GEODIS joins SNCF’s new Transport and Logistics division following a takeover by its major shareholder. That same year, on the basis of a long-term contract GEODIS acquires IBM Global Logistics, IBM’s global logistics flow management platform, giving rise to the Group’s fifth business: GEODIS Supply Chain Optimization.
GEODIS continues its program of external growth with the acquisition of two of the four divisions of Giraud International: the Iron and Steel business and the Central and Eastern European Area business.
Marie-Christine Lombard joins the Group as Chief Executive Officer.
GEODIS acquires OHL (Ozburn-Hessey Logistics) and enhances its Freight Forwarding and Contract Logistics offering in the US.