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1887 - 2012: 125 Years of Charles Gee History in the Making SERVICES 


1880 - Mr Charles Edward Gee (1845-1922)

History doesn’t record the reasons behind Mr. Charles Edward Gee’s move from Hull to Gracechurch Street in the City of London, but it was there in 1887 that his Shipbroking business was established. Whatever the motivation, by the time Brunel had started the revolution in ship design, Mr. Gee was ensconced in the shipping epicentre of the world: the City of London. It is clear in retrospect that Mr. Gee could be confident he had the knowledge and contacts necessary to establish a flourishing and healthy business. Early correspondence shows that he enjoyed various Chartering and Agency connections, particularly in the Baltic and North Atlantic trades.

1890 - Deptford Electric Power Station

Mr. Gee inhabited a world very different from that which we know today. It is certain that his business life was less regulated and the pace of business would have been very measured. His working day did not enjoy the benefits and drawbacks of mobile phones and computers; daylight was supplemented purely by gas light as the first Electricity Power Station would not be built until 1891 in Deptford.

1900 - Queen Victoria dies 1901

The late 19th Century was a time of great prosperity for the UK and we ruled the industrialised world, a fact not lost on Mr. Gee and the timing of his business start up. He was a well known figure at the Baltic Exchange by the time it moved to its purpose built headquarters in St. Mary Axe, London in 1903. This pulled together the various syndicates and related groups into one entity. Business was conducted face to face on the floor of the exchange and ethics were to the fore: A gentleman’s word was his bond.

1910 - The Great War

The outbreak of war in 1914 wrought considerable change, most importantly the declining influence of the UK in world economics, creating a negative influence on trading. Shortly after the start of the war, Mr. Gee made the decision to retire from business life and passed away at the age of 77 in 1922. By 1929, the Wall Street crash had made the business landscape even rockier as national governments turned to protectionist polices in the face of a massive global depression.

1920 - BBC formed, disolved, reformed

Throughout this turbulent era, Mr. Gee’s legacy of prudent business practices meant that the company he had founded continued to flourish where others failed. As he had no heirs, he had commenced the policy of inviting trusted staff into Partnership with him. This practice continued until 2010, keeping the group that his company would become in private hands. Mr. Gee’s successors had the foresight to form the company P.L.A. (Gee) Stevedoring Ltd., in order to provide labour for the ships under their control in the Port of London in 1929.

1930 - Amelia Earhart flies solo across Atlantic

The commencement of hostilities in 1939 put chartering firmly in the hands of the Ministry of Shipping until peace returned in 1945. The company continued to prosper through diversification, such as the previously mentioned P.L.A. (Gee) Stevedoring Ltd.

1940 - World War 2

From the end of the Second World War, through the 1950s and 1960s, the company functioned largely as a Shipbroker, Ships’ Agent and Stevedore, until the 1970s when the company would start its expansion into the group that we know today.

1950 - Elvis

There was no place in the Moon landing of 1969 for the Gee Group; their focus was elsewhere, embarking on activities that would become known as freight forwarding.

In 1970, thr group would purchase the company C&H (Hauliers) Ltd.. This company has since forged itself into the pre-eminent provider of haulage services to the Forest products industry across the UK and continental Europe.

1960 - Applo 11 on the moon

Decimal currency created consternation and delight in equal measure in 1971. In recognition of the 1973 change in nature of Anglo-Nordic logistics, the group invested in a fleet of TIR, “tilt” trailers, which would soon number in excess of 200.

1977 became the year best known for the death of Elvis Presley, whilst Queen Elizabeth II enjoyed her Silver Jubilee. As loyal servants to the Crown, the Charles Gee Group kitted out several trailers in a special, Silver Jubilee livery, which was seen across Europe and Scandinavia.

1970 - Fashion highlights

Margaret Thatcher created history in 1979 by becoming the UK’s first female PM and, during the 1980s, the company that would eventually become Charles Gee Fleetcare Ltd. was building and maintaining the group’s trailers whilst offering engineering solutions to its customers. The Charles Gee Group would be among the first of its kind to gain accreditation to the new BS5750 quality standard.

1980 - Berlin Wall falls, injures 3

As the Berlin Wall fell and communism weakened in 1989, the group expanded its operations into what would become the former Soviet Union and would open its first office in St. Petersburg.

1990 - Nelson Mandela released

The 1990s saw growth accelerate with the Channel Tunnel opening in 1994, expanding the group’s options for entering continental Europe. By the time Princess Diana passed away in 1997, the structure of the group had been established, and its portfolio of abilities would grow and prosper.

2000 - The internet

Only just into the 21st Century, the shocking events of 11th September 2001 paled all else into insignificance. The United States of America, as a result of this dreadful day, developed Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) as a directive intended to secure international supply chains. The European Community responded with the creation of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO), a regime for which the Charles Gee Group of Companies are currently aiming for accreditation.

Olympic year 2008 saw the purchase of an air freight company, C T Freight (UK) Ltd. Aerospace logistics would soon become a strong area of expertise within the group, with a specialist, out of gauge haulage company founded in support of this business. The name of this company, Charles Gee Heathrow Ltd., is derived from its operating base where it has “Regulated Agent” status, thereby allowing it to support the airfreight division.

Growth of business in 2009 in the field of military and defence logistics led to the requirement for a new company: PDF Services Ltd. Operating highly specialised crane and “HiAb” equipment PDF also holds a Home Office Section Five Licence among it’s many accreditations. However, the real story of 2009 belongs to Pilot Chesley B “Sully” Sullenberger who successfully crash-landed his US Airways jetliner into the chilly Hudson River, saving the lives of all his 155 passengers.

2010 - Japanese earthquanke and tsunami

The year 2010 saw the creation of Charles Gee International Trade Solutions Ltd. as a provider of Customs compliance and regulatory control services. This year also had the world following a multi-country offensive of 6,000 troops launched in Afghanistan in a bid to overturn the Taliban. The Charles Gee Group moved into 2011 with the acquisition of Land & Sea Logistics, an offshoot of Charles Gee Asia Pacific Ltd., who focus on the difficult area of carriage and logistics into Afghanistan and the Middle East.

In short, from Mr. Gee’s somewhat humble beginnings, the group has grown to be a major, end-to-end logistics provider, adding value in ways not common in its industry. The 21st century will see further growth as this privately owned group maintains its place at the forefront of service provision to a diverse range of industries. The Group’s motto, “We serve, you prosper”, the customers’ wishes always paramount. Tailored solutions are the watchwords for this group, which never seeks to impose its systems on a client but rather asks the client “what do you need from us?”.

And the next 125 years? Our history is ready to be written.




Image Credits

1880: Charles Gee & Co.
1890: South Western Electricity Historical Society
1900: Alexander Bassano (1829-1913), Scanned from the book The National Portrait Gallery History of the Kings and Queens of England by David Williamson, ISBN 1855142287.
1910: UK Government
1920: Likely to be British Broadcasting Company
1930: Los Angeles Times photographic archive, UCLA Library
1940: US Government (US Marine Corps)
1950: Unknown
1960: NASA
1970: Image origin unknown.
1980: Unknown
1990: US Government
2000: The OPTE Project
2010: US Government (US Navy)

For Image Takedown, please contact Site Webmaster

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