EUROPA - The first 50 years!
It all started in 1966 in a tiny office above a bookmakers in the East End of London.
Professional racing car driver Adrian Chambers couldn’t find a company to transport car components across Europe so he and Graham Bill joined forces and set up in business.
Adrian was very much a pioneer in the international transport field and had ambitions to target business in Europe. With just one truck, they set about carrying freight for two customers between the UK and Italy. From these humble beginnings services from London quickly developed to Paris, Milan and Dusseldorf.
The company began to make huge strikes and moved from its original East End offices to the new premises in Erith, south of the River Thames.
The 1970s proved to be a decade of industrial unrest and political uncertainty. Large tax increases on goods imported into Italy and industrial disputes nearly forced the company to go under. But thanks to new investors, the company increased its footprint in the 1970s and 1980s with new services across most of mainland Europe.
The directors pushed forward at a pace which saw the company invest in new hubs across the UK and diversifying into new markets with the launch of new air freight, sea freight and logistics divisions.
In 2005, a new 80,000 sq.ft. purpose designed logistics warehouse opened at Grange Park, Northampton and in 2010 work started on a new 155,000 sq.ft facility in Minworth, Birmingham.
During this time, the development of the Hong Kong operation was a major step forward for both the Air and Sea businesses. New markets in Eastern Europe also provided the company with further growth opportunities.
A new chapter in Europa’s history began in 2013 when Andrew Baxter acquired the company.
He had previously jointly owned RH Freight, a company founded by his father in 1970 and one which he had joined from school. RH Freight became the largest privately owned UK groupage operator before it was sold to Kuehne + Nagel in 2011.
Between 2013 and 2016 with an almost entirely new management team, Europa went through a period of major restructuring.
The concept was to split the company into 3 distinct operating divisions each with dedicated management teams. These changes have improved efficiencies and profitability and Europa is now perfectly geared up for rapid growth.
On our 50th anniversary we are now in a great place, with turnover set to exceed £100m in Q4 of 2016, staff numbers over 600, and running at an annual growth rate of around 20%. We are looking forward with optimism to the next 50 years!