In 1904, Emile Calberson founded a rail freight company in Le Havre, shipping goods to Rouen and Paris. At the time, its business was transporting luggage and parcels by passenger train, and then delivering them from the train station to the end customer.
In 1920, the company shifted its focus to road transport and changed its name to Société des Transports Routiers Calberson (Calberson Road Transport Company). It went on to expand throughout France, becoming the top French express shipping company.
The business was taken over by SCETA, a subsidiary of SNCF (France’s public railway company), in 1961.
International expansion of the network
In the early 1950s, Calberson began marketing its services in North Africa. Starting in 1970, Calberson opened new offices in the Netherlands, Great Britain, Italy and Germany. In 1984, the company went public on the Paris Stock Exchange’s unlisted securities market. Toward the end of 1995, a merger with other SCETA Group subsidiaries gave rise to Compagnie Générale Calberson (Calberson General Company), doing business as Geodis. After being privatized in 1996, the Geodis Group reorganized into four business branches: Express, Road, Logistics and Overseas.
With the 2006 acquisition of TNT Freight Management (renamed Geodis Wilson), the Group strengthened its position in Scandinavia, the Americas, Asia and Australia. By doing so, it became one of Europe’s premier freight forwarding operators. In 2008, the Group acquired IBM’s worldwide logistics monitoring platform, which resulted in Geodis’s fifth line of business, Supply Chain Optimization. That same year, Geodis became a wholly owned subsidiary of SNCF.
In 2009, Geodis continued to pursue its external growth plans with the acquisition of two of the four divisions of Giraud International: its steel division and its Central and Eastern European zone.