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business focus


Supreme Freight consolidates global expansion


Despite the uncertainties caused by Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, international shipping and forwarding agent Supreme Freight Services owner Chris Green is in an upbeat mood with his company poised to seize new opportunities, writes Tim Wickham


channel ferries arrived from France, collecting the documentation from the truck drivers and waiting in the customs house for the customs clearance rubber-stamped documents.”


Nowadays, custom clearances are processed online. “We have invested heavily in technology to be ready for Brexit,” said Green. “We are linked to HMRC at every UK seaport and airport.”


Typical cargoes handled by Supreme Freight include toys, clothes, furniture and foodstuffs. Green established the business in 1986 and it currently has offices in Southampton, Felixstowe, Heathrow, Hong Kong, China and the US.


Brexit-ready


When The Business Magazine caught up with owner and managing director Chris Green he was in Los Angeles preparing to begin the latest chapter in Supreme Freight’s 35- year story. The US west coast is the perfect location for two key reasons, he said.


“First, it’s ideal for handling shipments from China and Asia to the US. Second, an office in Los Angeles with the time difference enables us to offer 24/7 customs clearance support for clients moving goods to and from the EU to the UK.”


Back to the future


The need to complete the customs paperwork for EU-based transaction reminds Green of his early career in the 1970s before the UK joined the then European Economic Community.


“It’s back to the future,” he quipped. “My first job involved cycling down to Southampton docks when the cross-


8 MAY/JUNE 2021 businessmag.co.uk


Since Brexit, the company has added around a dozen staff to cope with demand, taking its headcount to a team of over 50. Green expects the number will continue to rise and has recently opened a second office in Southampton. He expects most staff will return to office-based working after the pandemic.


Back in March 2020, the outlook was less certain. “We had the first lockdown, and it was Chinese New Year, so things were quiet for us. We also had the prospect of congestion at UK ports if there were delays obtaining customs clearances,” he recalled.


The company weathered these storms and is busier than ever. Green and his team are forging new relationships on the European mainland. “We’re building strategic partnerships with freight and trucking companies in every EU country that deal with the UK and now need support in meeting the new customs requirements,” he said.


Lockdown boost


The coronavirus pandemic has seen a boom in online purchasing by households in lockdown and employees working from home. For example, during last year’s hot summer, sales of garden furniture saw the volume of imports handled by Supreme Freight rise rapidly.


“A lot of our clients went online to sell and many had their best year ever. We also handle a lot of PPE equipment. In 2020, for the first time we exclusively chartered two aircraft to fly urgent products to the UK from China,” said Green.


Charting new horizons


As well as expanding operations in the US and EU, Green has kept his eye on Supreme Freight’s long-term client base in Asia. “Many of our Asian clients who export to the UK have contacted us for support dealing with the EU and the US,” he said. “As well as China, we are looking at Vietnam, which is a major trading partner with the US.”


He has no plans to take the company out of private ownership. He has a strong board of directors supported by a great team of experienced and professional staff that have all been working tirelessly during these difficult times. Green is happy travelling domestically and worldwide developing new opportunities. Although his face-to-face approach with business partners has been temporarily curtailed by coronavirus, he looks forward to returning to Asia after an 18-month hiatus very soon.


More information: supremefreight.com


Chris Green


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