The 40 year Metro journey

2021 should be a year of celebration for Metro, as it was officially our 40th birthday since commencing trading, but unfortunately, it also sees us dealing with the COVID pandemic and all its associated challenges. The continued home-working of many colleagues and the unprecedented supply chain disruption we are battling, means that we cannot celebrate as originally planned with our colleagues, customers, suppliers and friends!

When working-from-home measures came into force and the seriousness of the situation we faced globally became apparent, we decided that all anniversary plans would have to be put on hold until we can safely celebrate together.

However that does not mean we should not be marking this significant event and the achievements of our team over the last four decades.

1981, the year Paul Carlile launched Metro, above a night club and bar called Metro in Broad Street Birmingham, was quite a year: The first London Marathon was held; Bucks Fizz won the Eurovision song contest; Greece was the 10th country to join the European Economic Community; MTV launched; and Sinclair launched its ZX81 home computer (it had 1kb of internal memory).

Technology has changed dramatically in the last 40 years and as a digital innovator and paperless forwarder, since 2005, we have developed with it.

We have seen conventional mail replaced by fax machines and fax machines replaced by email, and shipping reports replaced by real-time shipment tracking through web platforms. We have gone from data transfer to system integration; and robotics and artificial intelligence (AI)  have been and continue to be embedded in the next generation of Metro digital tools.

Conference calls have been replacing face to face meetings; and Zoom, Teams, Skype and Hangouts are all familiar to us now. Unlike the shaking of hands as a greeting or goodbye gesture as business has be forced to further go ‘online’ due to current global events.

Metro are digital innovators and pioneers, leading the way, serving and supporting customers, creating the right technological solutions for them, for four decades.

Turning 40 is an achievement made possible by the support of our team, customers and partners and an event that we think should be celebrated by marking some of the most transformative events we have experienced over the years, including 10 significant growth milestones:


1981 – Above a night club called Metro in Broad Street Birmingham – 6 employees – focused on export sea freight, as far away from any coastline in the UK as could be achieved!

  • 1984 Tri-State lines established – NVOCC
  • 1998 Global partnership with Fracht
  • 1998 First BPO operation – MData – launched in Malaysia
  • 2005 Global Partnership with Elite
  • 2010 Uniserve take stake in Metro
  • 2011 New UKHQ established in Birmingham
  • 2012 Birmingham airport superhub conceived
  • 2013 Heathrow office established
  • 2014 Metro first £100 million per annum turnover year recorded
  • 2018 Indian BPO team, M-ISC, launch
  • 2005 Became a paperless forwarder
  • 2008 MVT launch
  • 2012 Visibility tool becoming a digital forwarder rolled out to customers
  • 2018 BPO UK Set up in India Chennai
  • 2020 CuDoS Brokerage and Customs Solution designed, developed and created – in time for Jan 1st 2021

The past year has forced change on every business and the way we work in the future will no doubt be different. Will we want to return to the office, or travel for face-to-face meetings, or will we continue to use the technology that we have become so familiar with in the last year?

The answer is, it is for our clients to decide what is right for them. We think there is room for both ways of working and are excited to see what these new challenges will bring, to allow us to innovate and devise new solutions for our customers.

When we do finally get to celebrate our 40 years, it will be in person and in style with our fantastic team, customers and partners. All essential ingredients to our continued success and development for the next 40 years!