How it all started…
In mid 1970, two business acquaintances, Sir Gerald Glover and Ronald Knight happened upon a struggling freight forwarding, warehousing and barging business based near to the River Thames in London. The two entrepreneurs, although having little knowledge of the transport business and having no connections to it, still felt that the purchase of this struggling company would give a springboard into international trade and related services. The acquired business enterprise commenced trading as Knight & Morris (Services) Ltd in November 1970.
The international shipping landscape had already started to see changes with the onset of containerisation starting to make an impact on world trade at the end of the 1960’s and early 1970’s. This meant that the offloading of ocean-going vessels to docks, to barge and to warehouses was starting to become redundant. The fledgling organisation was caught up in the National Dock Strike of July 1972, where longshoremen had started to require greater job security in the face of increased use of shipping containers (which could be handled at inland sites). The dispute was ultimately resolved; however, the strike really marked the death-knell of bulk shipping and saw a rapid rise into containerised transport.
Along with a like minded friendly competitor Knight & Morris Ltd in fact launched one of the first ever LCL groupage services to Sydney, although dock labour did as much as was in their power to stop the inland loading of the containers; however the seed was sown and fully fledged containerisation commenced and along with it, the new concept of cargo moving as LCL.
With the decline of warehousing and barging on the River Thames, the company embarked on selling off these assets and invested the proceeds into buying a number of freight forwarding companies.
These included Stephenson & Ephgrave Ltd in 1973 which apart from international chartering operations, ocean freight forwarding, airline ticketing, also had a small airfreight forwarding department, which ultimately launched the group into its airfreight activities.