The Trafford Park-based freight forwarder could never have anticipated turning 40 in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. Despite the challenges, it is keeping positive; it is riding the storm and maintaining a high degree of activity.
The independent European freight forwarder was established in May 1980 by four French hauliers who wanted a sales agent in the UK to provide them with backloads into France. As a result, for much of its history, the business focused purely on handling export loads from the UK to France.
Over the past decade, however, Managing Director Marie Boyer expanded the company’s capabilities, applying its expertise to a growing range of services and countries. France Line introduced import services from France, before extending its geographical reach to all the other main Western and Eastern European countries, including Germany, Poland and Romania.
New cross trade lanes have opened and turnover, profits and staff numbers have increased accordingly.
All are reasons to celebrate as the businesses enters its fifth decade, but formal celebrations are on hold due to the virus. The small company is focusing on responding positively to the current unprecedented situation, with the emphasis on its core values of good customer service, quality and reliability.
Marie commented ‘I am extremely proud of the way we have remained able to operate all of our road freight services, including our import/export core services between the UK and France, at as close to ‘business as usual’ as possible, for standard freight and also express cargo as most border closures and additional restrictions by governments across Europe do not apply to freight movements.
Marie acknowledges that keeping communication channels open has been just as vital as maintaining freight channels. “We are receiving regular updates from our French offices and all of our local commercial partners and hauliers throughout Europe, and we’re passing these on to our customers quickly. We know they really appreciate our reliable news on developments that affect their supply chains.”
Marie added: ‘We service customers across a broad range of industries. Some of our customers are closed or have reduced trading activity, whilst others are still very much open and actively trading with France or Europe. Whist we have seen a downturn for some of our traffic, we have had a significant increase in volume in the pharma and chemicals areas, as well as long life and dry foodstuffs and paper tissue. Overall we are running at around 60% of our normal activity’’.
Marie carried on ‘’we are positive for the future. I think more shippers are realising that paying a bit more for a supply chain solution that works and using a specialist company like ourselves is better’’.