Toll’s Gomes retires after 44 years

John Gomes says goodbye to work


One of the best-known and most popular figures in UK forwarding has retired after a distinguished career spanning five decades.


John Gomes, the outgoing Regional Managing Director EME of Toll Global Forwarding, first joined the industry in 1965 as a trainee export clerk at Air Shipping Agencies (ASA). By 1982, he had made it to Managing Director of the (by then) re-named Jardine Cargo International, the UK’s second largest airfreight forwarder. He left the company in 1987 shortly after it merged with rival MSAS, and set up Clover Systems Air Freight Ltd as MD along with seven former colleagues.


Two years later, Jardine acquired a majority stake in the company when it re-entered freight forwarding. Gomes was also instrumental in the setting up of Clover operations in South Africa with former colleagues, and in which his UK company took a stake. Clover was renamed to Jardine Logistics Services (JLS) in 1995, and was then acquired by fast-growing Hong Kong-based BALtrans in 2002, to further its expansion plans. Gomes remained as MD of the UK company, and was eventually appointed Chairman in 2006.


The UK operation continued its steady growth, and by the time BALtrans was acquired by Australia’s Toll Group in 2008, it had 5 UK branches and around 100 staff. Gomes remained as UK Chairman, and also took on the role of Regional MD for Europe and Middle East.


Gomes – who was born in Madeira, and educated in Funchal, Curacao and the UK – cites his greatest business influence as Jardine Matheson’s former Taipan Henry (now Sir Henry) Keswick. Gomes himself has been listed in the "International Who’s Who of Professionals", was made an honoured member of the Who’s Who Historical Society, and qualified for inclusion in the Empire’s “Who’s Who Registry of Executives and Professionals”. He has been a member of BIFA (and its forerunner IFF) since 1970, and is a member of the Institute of Directors.


Gomes has 5 grown-up children, and plans to share his retirement between his UK and Algarve homes, pursuing his passion for golf.

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