December/January 2019

Moving freight to the Continent

GM Business Connect caught up with Marie Boyer, the owner and MD of France Line International Transport Ltd, the specialist for cross channel freight between the UK and France with growing European-wide services, voted ‘Best Road Freight Company – Western Europe’ at the SME News 2018 North-West Enterprise Awards.

After your move to a bigger office in Trafford Park in October last year, how has business been for you?

Marie Boyer, France Line Ltd

“Business has been good, with ongoing turnover, profits and services growing. Our financial year ending at 30 April 2018 was extremely positive; our turnover increased by 20% to just under £2.7 million whilst the volume of freight we handled rose by 7%.

“For the first 6 months of our current financial year, we have continued to show growth and performed well. We’re pleased with our figures as the activity in our industry has been more challenging; there has been a slowdown in trading between the UK and continental Europe due to the continued uncertainty over the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

“We have also been affected by the volatility of the exchange rate between sterling and the euro linked to Brexit, as well as consistently rising fuel prices over the past few months. However, we remain positive and upbeat for the future. We’re in challenging times, with threats from different quarters, but we will make whatever changes are needed to adapt and carry on being successful.”

To what do you attribute your ongoing growth?
“The growth is due in part to new accounts, manufacturers from different sectors of industry as well as other freight forwarders who subcontract their French work to us. Many of these new customers approached us, they heard of France Line via word of mouth.

“We’ve got a good reputation in the industry, due to our consistent record of 98.5% of deliveries on time, but also due to our strong values on customer service, honesty and relationship building. We have got a fantastic, dedicated multi-lingual team who really go the extra mile for France Line’s customers.

“The growth is also due to France Line now providing abnormal and out of gauge services between the UK and France alongside our long established services for standard commercial and industrial cargo. We are also carrying more and more standard freight into Europe to other destinations than France, and we keep expanding our geographical reach.”

What destinations do you now cover?
“For almost 40 years now, France Line has specialised in France, and we will always do so, due to our in-depth knowledge of the political and economic climate in France. But we are moving an increasing amount of standard freight to and from Belgium and the Netherlands, Poland, and the main other Western and Eastern European countries. Due to the effectiveness and reliability of our European services and our strong customer service, we our increasingly been called upon by our customers to help them with shipments to all kinds of destinations. We are of course more than happy to help, and we recently did a load to Finland and one from Norway.”

If a business was thinking of exporting to the Continent, what sort of advice would you offer?
“We would suggest that they work with freight agents who specialise in the destination markets they want to ship to; their contacts, experience and expertise will help them mitigate any challenges and they will give them relevant advice on how to minimise any possible disruptions.”

You were recently voted ‘Best Road Freight Company – Western Europe’ at the SME News 2018 North-West Enterprise Awards. Well done. How do you feel about this latest award win?
“Our team was proud and excited; it was a nice independent recognition of our focused hard work, and a good endorsement. The win helps cement our good reputation, not just for our specialist market of France but also for our new Western European services. It is an effective way to keep our name in the public arena and in front of some of our audiences, raise our profile and brand with potential customers.”