A story that is over a century old
In 1904, Émile Calberson founded a rail freight company in Le Havre, shipping to Rouens and Paris. It involved transporting luggage and packages by passenger train, then delivering them from the train station to the end customer. In 1920, the company shifted to mainly road transport and changed its name to Société des transports routiers Calberson (Calberson Road Transport Company). It then grew throughout France and became the primary French groupage company.
The business was taken over by SCETA, an SNCF subsidiary, in 1961.
A calling for international growth
At the beginning of the 1950s, Calberson began offering its services in North Africa. From 1970 onwards, Calberson opened agencies in the Netherlands, Great Britain, Italy and Germany. In 1984, the company was admitted to the Second Market of the Paris Stock Exchange.
At the end of 1995, the merger with other SCETA Group subsidiaries gave rise to Compagnie Générale Calberson (Calberson General Company), which took the corporate name of GEODIS. Privatized in 1996, the GEODIS Group reorganized into four divisions: Groupage, Road, Logistics and Overseas.
With the 2006 acquisition of TNT Freight Management, renamed as GEODIS Wilson, the Group strengthened its position in Scandinavia, the American continent, Asia and Australia. In so doing, it became one of the premier Freight Forwarding operators in Europe.
In 2008, the Group acquired the IBM worldwide logistics activity monitoring platform, which gave rise to GEODIS’ fifth line of business: Supply Chain Optimization. That same year, GEODIS became a 100% subsidiary of SNCF (Société nationale des chemins de fer (French national railroad company)].
In 2009, GEODIS pursued its external growth program with the acquisition of two of the four divisions of Giraud International: the steel division and the Central and Eastern European zone.
In 2015, the Group brought all of its brands together under the GEODIS brand.
That same year, it acquired OHL (Ozburn-Hessey Logistics) headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Founded in 1951 by Frank Ozburn and Kenneth Hessey, OHL began as a rug cleaning, moving and storage company and grew to more than 120 North America-based value-added distribution centers with approximately 41 million square feet of flexible warehouse space. OHL provided customers with various supply chain management services, including transportation, management, warehousing, customs brokerage, freight forwarding, and import and export consulting services. Prior to being acquired by GEODIS, OHL had more than 10,000 employees and served customers in various sectors, including specialty retail, manufacturing, apparel, electronics, healthcare, food and beverage, and consumer packaged goods.
Where we are today
Thanks to this ambitious strategy of international growth, GEODIS truly is a business success story. We provide supply chain operator excellence with a global reach in 67 countries and a global network spanning 120 countries. But don't take our word for it. Business rankings put us at #1 in France, #4 in Europe and #7 worldwide.