1993 saw the meeting of two minds with a single thought, to provide route planning services for the road
transport industry, itineraries and guides for the leisure industry and the independent traveller. Jean-Michel and Jacquie-Althia realized, talking to drivers and tourists alike, that the major
problem was a lack of local knowledge, which causes untold problems. So H.S.M. International was formed, a small company with three employees, Jean-Michel, Jacquie-Althia and her sister Azliz.
Between them, they produced good quality advice and assistance at a very low cost for the area they knew: Bretagne & Normandie.
By 1996, they had expanded, employing four additional office extra staff and leasing office space. At the time improving their services by providing qualified guides for areas of Bretagne on a sub-contract basis.
During September 1999 Jean-Michel and Jacquie-Althia bought and renovated a property in Finistère, near Port Manech as Jacquie-Althia felt that they should return to her homeland and their Celtic roots. In early 2000 realizing that further expansion was necessary, they purchased the building that housed their office, renovating the entire building whilst still keeping the business operating to full capacity. May 2001 saw the completion of the renovations and the employment of an extra ten staff and with that came the first diversification: The provision of “Pilotage”, escorting wide, indivisible loads across North-Western France. A service that now covers the whole of France and Spain, employing over 200 people on a sub-contract/franchise basis.
2004 saw the company become a French registered organization and the formation of Breizh Poellrezh SF by Valérie Ronarc’h, the legal advisor to the founders. This trust company becoming the vehicle for further expansion with all employees receiving a share in the profits and having a voice in the operation of the company. Later the same year, following the death of Jean-Michel’s father, the company received an unexpected bonus, Alba Transport, based in Scotland was bequeathed to Jean-Michel, who immediately integrated it into the newly formed trust company, renaming it “Alba Transporteurs”. This rapid expansion gave the organization a fleet of trucks transporting Abnormal Loads, such as Yachts, Generators, Aircraft Parts and Hazardous Cargoes, and a presence in five European countries with a staff of 230.
Never forgetting their original concept, the provision of maps, route plans, itineraries, places of interest for the independent traveller. A dedicated team, based in Pont Aven, was set up with the express intention of expanding this facet of the business for the 21st century, including suggestions and recommendations for accommodation, hotels, guest-houses, gites etc. All of which have been thoroughly inspected by our staff without the prior knowledge of the owners and with reports based on first hand experiences. The vast majority of this team’s work is Internet based, requested information being dispatched the same day, as it is felt that the independent traveller requires a very fast reply to their enquiries. Non-internet clients have their requirements dispatched to them by DHL Worldwide. By using this company, it is virtually guaranteed that documentation is with our clients within 48 hours, anywhere in Western Europe or United States of America, missing packages being kept to a minimum, as we are able to track all consignments.
November 2005 saw another dramatic expansion, the acquisition of all the assets and client base of TGM, Bordeaux, including facilities in St.Malo, Santander, Bilbao, Algeciras and Vigo. All the acquired properties and facilities have been upgraded and refurbished to bring them up into line with existing depots and facilities. This allowed the company to expand and improve its services to existing and new clients, including new worldwide freight forwarding operation. This acquisition has increased the number of employees to 1,370, the fleet of vehicles to 278 and freight handling facilities to fifteen. All depots and warehouses are now able to offer a worldwide freight services by land, sea and air.
Today, we employ 1,370 people across four autonomous companies and a further 1,500 on sub-contract and franchise basis:
* Agencies TGM:: Import/Export agency with storage, warehousing and distribution facilities.
* Alba Transportes: Specialist Road Haulage Services
* Services Touristiques - Breizh: Travel & Accommodation Information, Route Planners, Tourist Guide provider, Brochure Designers
* Services De Convoi, Breizh: Services all aspects of Convoi Exceptional assistance including documentation, liaison with the statutory authorities and escorts.
Our founders’ believe that by creating a group of such diversity, they have created a unique source of competitive advantage that will fuel profitable growth and enhance our reputation amongst customers and suppliers, something unparalleled in the industry. Today, they take no active part in the day-to-day operation of the group, however they are a source of assistance, guidance and most of all,inspiration, whilst administering the trust company and planning for the future, taking the group to a new dimension.
Claude Mieųssens, Gérant
Tuesday January 1st, 2008.