Georgia: Pathways to Progress

Georgia: Pathways to Progress

In the logistics sphere, Georgia offers every important road—as well as air and sea route—to success.

Some say American business and culture is stuck in a post-truth moment, where we all create our own reality. In this era, success is a relative term; we can define it individually, in whatever way we wish. To which the folks in Georgia say: Nonsense.

Here in the Peach State, where people share the conviction that natural blessings and hard work will carry you to the top, there is nothing ambiguous about the meaning of success. It is defined by taking full advantage of your existing assets and continually working to make them even better.

Certainly that is the approach Georgia takes in the logistics sphere. The state is rife with extraordinary logistical advantages, including a central geographic location, a favorable climate, a highly skilled workforce, and easy access to highways, air services, ports, and rail.

But the state’s government and logistics leaders are hardly slumbering in the bright Georgia sun. On the contrary, they are working together to build on existing assets to create newer and stronger pathways to progress—by land, air, and sea.

Full Speed Ahead

Since 1945, Georgia’s ports have served as magnets for international trade and investment, enriching the state’s economy and providing shippers with the most efficient and productive port facilities in the nation. Overseeing and coordinating these efforts is the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), which creates jobs and business opportunities to benefit more than 9.7 million Georgians.

"The GPA is committed to providing world-class service through superior operational efficiency," says GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. "The Authority is making the necessary investments today to sustain growth and performance tomorrow."

Georgia’s deepwater ports in Savannah and Brunswick, together with inland barge operations in Bainbridge and Columbus, are Georgia’s gateways to the world. Through these critical conduits, raw materials and finished products flow to and from destinations around the globe.

Contributing to the State Economy

The GPA is a state authority; a 13-member board of directors governs its activities. The governor appoints board members from the state at large to serve four-year, staggered terms. The GPA directly employs almost 1,200 trained logistics professionals; it is one of the state’s largest public employers. GPA operations—together with private-sector, port-related operations—account for more than 369,000 jobs statewide, $84.1 billion in revenue, and more than $20.4 billion in income annually.

One gem among Georgia’s ports is the Port of Savannah, composed of two modern, deepwater terminals: Garden City Terminal and Ocean Terminal.

As the nation’s largest single-terminal operation, Garden City’s 1,200-acre footprint eliminates the need to move cargo between smaller terminals, delivers greater flexibility in staging cargo, and provides nine containership berths.

Expanding the Fleet of Cranes

To better accommodate the larger vessels now calling on Savannah, Lynch says, in 2018 the GPA will commission four new Neo-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes at Garden City Terminal, bringing its fleet to 30—the most of any single terminal in North America. In 2020, the GPA will commission another four Neo-Panamax cranes.

The growing crane fleet, working over nearly 10,000 contiguous feet of dock, will be able to handle more than 1,300 container moves per hour when all 36 cranes are in place.

This growth will enhance Savannah’s existing advantages, which include highly competitive rates and schedules to all major international markets.

"The Port of Savannah provides superior carrier capacity and greater scheduling flexibility, with the most shipping services on the U.S. East Coast at 36 weekly calls," Lynch says.

Those weekly calls include: 13 to Europe/Mediterranean, six to Latin America, eight to Asia via the Panama Canal, eight to Asia/India/Middle East via the Suez Canal, and one to Australia/New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Ocean Terminal, Savannah’s dedicated breakbulk and roll-on/roll-off facility, covers more than 200 acres and provides customers with in excess of 1.4 million square feet of covered, versatile storage.

Port of Brunswick Shines

Some 83 miles south via I-95 is the Port of Brunswick, composed of three GPA-owned deepwater terminals, two of which are directly operated by the GPA. Its position as one of the fastest-growing auto and heavy machinery ports in North America heightens the port’s well-earned reputation for productivity and efficiency. Today, more than 30 auto and heavy equipment manufacturers, supported by three auto processors, utilize the port’s Colonel’s Island Terminal.

At the same time, Brunswick’s Mayor’s Point Terminal facilitates the export of Georgia’s valuable forest products, while Marine Port Terminals, operated by Logistec U.S.A., specializes in handling bulk commodities. Additionally, inland terminal operations—Port Bainbridge and Port Columbus—provide a strategic advantage for bulk commodities moving to and from the southeastern United States.

Featuring two on-terminal rail yards, the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal is the region’s busiest intermodal gateway, handling 38 trains of import and export cargo every week.

"Savannah’s location, 100 miles closer to Atlanta than any other port, makes the terminal the perfect partner for the long-time rail hub of Atlanta," Lynch adds. "From Georgia’s capital city, rail cargo fans out to reach important population centers including Memphis, Charlotte, St. Louis, and Chicago."

GPA will soon break ground on its Mason Mega Rail terminal. Through a $44-million Build America Bureau FASTLANE grant administered by the Maritime Administration (MARAD), along with $84 million in local matching funds, GPA will greatly expand its two on-terminal rail yards. Set for completion in 2020, the project will double rail capacity at Garden City Terminal to one million lifts per year.

Served by Class I rail providers CSX and Norfolk Southern, Savannah already boasts one of the nation’s most extensive on-dock rail infrastructures. "Through this improvement, we will create a state-of-the-art facility, unique on the U.S. East Coast," Lynch says.

The improvement will add 97,000 feet of new rail at Garden City Terminal, and expand the number of working tracks from eight to 18. This will allow GPA to bring all rail switching onto the terminal, improving vehicle traffic flow around the port.

The project will allow the Port of Savannah to better accommodate 10,000-foot-long unit trains. And its ability to build longer trains on terminal will incentivize rail carriers to expand the service area best served by the Port of Savannah–positioning GPA to rapidly increase service to an arc of inland markets, from Atlanta to Memphis, St. Louis, Chicago, and the Ohio Valley.

Later in 2018, the Appalachian Regional Port, an inland port to be operated by the GPA, will open new markets across Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. On 42 acres in Northwest Georgia’s Murray County, the site will feature on-terminal rail service from CSX Transportation.

The location is adjacent to U.S. 411 and features easy access to Interstate 75. The facility will handle import, export, and domestic cargo. For manufacturers in North Georgia, the Appalachian Regional Port will deliver supply chain savings and environmental benefits through reduced diesel consumption. Each container moved by rail from the inland terminal will offset 355 truck miles on Georgia highways.

Special Services and Sustainability

The Port of Savannah is the nation’s largest exporter of frozen poultry, moving 40 percent of the product that leaves the United States. Currently, the port features 104 electric-powered refrigerated container racks, which accommodate 2,496 containers of poultry and other farm products at one time. Counting 738 chassis plug-ins, Savannah’s total capacity is 3,234 refrigerated boxes. This has helped grow Savannah to the busiest import-export terminal in the Southeast for refrigerated containers.

It’s also one of the most efficient: Investments in upgraded cranes, lighting, and other equipment reduce fuel consumption and air-polluting emissions. Moving to electric rubber-tired gantry cranes for container handling reduces GPA’s carbon footprint by 96 percent per crane. Savannah’s electric ship-to-shore cranes capture enough energy from lowering boxes to power themselves for 18 minutes of each hour.

Garden City Terminal features four major truck gates providing a total of 48 truck lanes, which helps the terminal avoid congestion and maintain superior cargo fluidity. "The port’s single-terminal design allows for fast, simple check-in, even when moving containers for multiple shipping lines," Lynch says.

Speeding the Flow

The expedited process allows for industry-leading turn times of 33 minutes for the pickup or delivery of a single container, and 53 minutes for the delivery of one box and the pick-up of a second container. Savannah’s streamlined process means lower emissions from idling trucks.

The GPA is in the process of adding another eight truck lanes at the Port of Savannah.

The Port of Savannah’s ample capacity to handle the influx of trade from today’s larger vessels ensures the free flow of cargo on and off terminal. Better connections by road and rail mean that cargo moves to important inland markets without delay.

Savannah is North America’s most connected container port, according to the Drewry Maritime Advisers port connectivity index, which is based on the number of direct shipping services, and the number of world regions those services connect to. Drewry’s research shows that Savannah’s weekly vessel calls provide superior service to Europe, Asia, and other global destinations.

Already the nation’s largest autoport, Colonel’s Island Terminal started 2016 with 60,000 spaces for automobile processing. In fiscal 2017, the GPA added 30,000 spaces to stay ahead of customer demand. Auto processors Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, Mercedes, and International Auto Processors have grown their operations by 200 acres on the island’s south side, bringing total auto processing space to 547 acres.

In addition to the land recently developed, GPA’s long-term plan is to add 60,000 vehicle spaces on Colonel’s Island. A full build-out of 150,000 spaces will more than double the terminal’s 2016 footprint, and bring annual throughput capacity to 1.4 million units of cars and heavy machinery.

Immediate access to I-95 means key cities and manufacturing points throughout the eastern United States may be reached within a one- to two-day drive from Brunswick. Additionally, the port provides Class 1 rail service via both Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX Transportation, linking customers to major population centers.

Access is Key

If access represents the golden ticket to logistics success, it is important to ask: Access to what? The available routes from here to there to Market Square are vital, but so is the ability to take advantage of them.

"The two most significant advantages for Georgia are location and labor," says Hal Justice, vice president of sales and operations for Atlanta Bonded Warehouse (ABW), a leading provider of temperature-controlled warehousing and less-than-truckload (LTL) and truckload transportation services in the Southeast.

But even with a highly skilled workforce located in the logistics sweet spot, a third box on the ticket still needs to be checked: the right—and continually updated—resources. Georgia checks that box as well, says Justice.

"The deepening of the fourth-largest container port in the United States with the most western orientation compared to other East Coast ports gives Georgia faster transport times to other markets in the Southeast, Southwest, and Midwest," he says. "The continued improvement of the interstate system and other state-designated corridors facilitate the movement of freight originating not only at the port but all over the state."

Still, Georgia is hardly resting on its laurels. "In the past two years, we have seen an increase in manufacturing and processing in Georgia, both in consumer goods and other manufactured or assembled products," Justice says. "This increase is due not only to the growth in demand within Georgia but also because it is becoming more cost-effective to serve the larger growing Southeastern markets from Georgia.

"There is no doubt labor supply has tightened, but, in talking to colleagues in the 3PL industry across the country, we are still on the positive end of a tightening market," he adds.

ABW constantly works to leverage those assets. "We continue to grow our distribution programs to deliver ambient and temperature-controlled products originating locally, nationally, and internationally via Savannah into the Southeast, Southwest, and Midwest via our LTL consolidation programs," Justice says.

"As a result of transportation supply tightening, we also see more volume taking advantage of crossdock and pool consolidation," he adds. "Trucks moving freight originating in the upper Midwest or the East Coast destined to Southeast and Southwest markets that used to ‘drive through’ metro Atlanta to their final destinations are now dropping consolidated LTL orders on our docks for final-leg distribution. This has become more cost effective than the multi-drop trucks that could take three to five days to make the final drop.

"The growth of our program, the higher transportation costs of inefficient multi-stop trucks, and the growing volume of freight originating in Georgia destined for markets back into the Midwest and the East Coast makes this process more cost effective," Justice says.

A Rich History

ABW views its perspective on Georgia and its logistics infrastructure through the lens of its own rich history. The company was organized in 1948 by a Peter Paul candy broker seeking to provide protective warehousing to confectioners. The company operated as Acme Bonded Warehouse until 1981, when it adopted its current name. After two expansions, the "original" Acme facility encompassed 42,500 square feet of refrigerated storage space with a 10-foot clear height.

Back when ABW came into being, no one could have envisioned the challenges and opportunities that would surface through today’s technological advances. While ABW remains steadfast in its commitment to personal service, the company’s leadership is mindful of the tidal wave of change e-commerce is bringing about.

"Many of our customers and other consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies understand they must be in e-commerce, but have not yet figured out how to make the economics of ‘high touch’ and the expense of parcel delivery work for comparatively low revenue items," Justice says. "There is more to come in technology and automation to make it cost effective for CPG companies to be profitable—not just successful—in e-commerce. It is work we perform today and we have the platform to scale when we are ready and find the right opportunity.

"Metro Atlanta is already a hub for e-commerce. That will grow exponentially in the next five years and ABW will be a part of that growth," he adds.

It has been said that growth and strength come only through continuous effort and struggle. That attitude, which certainly characterizes Georgia’s logistics industry, resonates throughout the companies that make up the state’s logistics infrastructure. At Syfan Logistics, a full-scale, asset-based logistics management company based in Gainesville, some 55 miles north of Atlanta on I-85, continuous growth has been a company hallmark from the start.

Syfan Logistics was established in 2011, but can trace its birth to 1984 when Jim Syfan founded Turbo Logistics. He now operates Syfan Logistics with sons Greg and Steve.

The company, which is well recognized for its expertise in delivering deadline-sensitive, perishable food products, is in the process of expanding its headquarters—strategically located to take advantage of Georgia’s major rail and highway systems, as well as the airport in Atlanta and the ports in Savannah and Brunswick.

In addition, the company is investing in more equipment and expanding its over-the-road fleet of Syfan Transport trucks as part of an increasing effort to better serve its shipper customers. The company works extensively with the nation’s largest foodstuffs companies in the poultry, seafood, confectionery, cereal, and soft drink industries.

Meeting the Demand

The company also serves the largest package-delivery companies in the world, along with all expedited divisions of America’s major automotive manufacturers. With a professional staff of 150, Syfan Logistics meets the most demanding shipping needs for temperature-controlled, dry or flatbed loads with on-time pickup and delivery throughout the continental United States, Mexico, and Canada. UPS recognized Syfan Logistics as one of its top partners during the past two consecutive Christmas seasons.

"Syfan’s professionals are available 24/7 to meet our customers’ needs," says Greg Syfan, company president. "There is no after-hours answering service. We started in the poultry industry, where we learned the importance of communication and how to deliver on time."

Syfan owns its fleet of Syfan Transport trucks, providing shippers with an extraordinary degree of flexibility and convenience in equipment options and availability.

Despite its growth, Syfan Logistics remains a family business with a long professional history. Jim Syfan worked in the transportation brokerage industry for nearly a decade before launching the original company with his wife, Gloria, along with Greg and Steve.

As president of one of Georgia’s premier logistics firms, Greg Syfan is an unabashed cheerleader for the state’s logistics assets. "Georgia has a high volume of available freight moving into and out of the state, which provides opportunities for transportation logistics companies," he says. "Many other states do not offer as much opportunity."

In addition to Georgia’s port, rail, and highway advantages, Syfan cites Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which provides air service to six continents and nearly two million square feet of cargo handling space.

With its focus on growth and strength, Syfan Logistics works hard to leverage those assets for its customers. Through its four specialized divisions, Syfan Transport hauls dry, refrigerated, expedited, and dedicated freight.

The company’s Freight Management Services (FMS) provides a new pathway to cost savings for its clients. And sophisticated McLeod software and training helps customers trim upwards of 10 percent off their freight costs.

Customers can access Syfan’s web portals to track their freight status. All Syfan trucks have GPS, and it can track brokered trucks with MacroPoint technology on the driver’s smartphone.

Cutting-edge Technology

For all of Georgia’s geographical assets and logistics expertise, the importance of staying on top of logistics technology advances remains of paramount concern. Jeff Lantz, president of C.L Services, Inc. (CLS), puts the matter simply: Growth in the sector is technology-driven.

"We are developing cutting-edge technology to stay ahead of the curve," says Lantz, adding that CLS continually enhances its technology to share data with shippers both up and down the supply chain.

The Atlanta-based company moves shipments nationally and internationally, and specializes in dry van, flatbed, and temperature-controlled truckload services throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. An extensive carrier network augments the company’s assets. CLS is an industry leader in providing intermodal and drayage services. Additional services include warehousing and transloading, real-time updates, and shipment tracking.

The company’s location near the Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport provides an ideal command post from which its technology is dispatched into the field. "Atlanta is the hub of the South," Lantz says. "We’re right in the middle of everything."

Onward and Onshore

Coupled with its ideal location, the development of cutting-edge technology at companies such as CLS has moved Georgia to the forefront of onshoring—returning business operations that had moved overseas back to the United States. Lantz has seen these efforts grow throughout the state, and he is proud that CLS plays a major part.

More than half the CLS staff are certified transportation brokers, completing an extensive Transportation Intermediaries Association certification program that requires a thorough knowledge of brokerage rules, regulations, principles, and procedures.

"Successful logistics execution hinges on proactive communications," Lantz says. "If a customer needs a spot quote, shipment tracing, or proof of delivery, we can provide an immediate and accurate response. In addition, each of our customers and carriers is provided with their own secure log-on and password."

Shippers can track their shipments and carriers can see available shipments, upload available equipment, and check payment status. "We continually reinvest in communications and technological enhancements such as EDI and internet services to eliminate outage and down time." Lantz says, adding that data is available to customers 24/7.

Not surprisingly, technology investments, along with years of transportation experience, have made CLS another gem of the Georgia logistics field. The company opened its doors in 1997, and has thrived by adhering to ethical business practices and offering cost-effective transportation solutions, Lantz says.

In addition, CLS operates debt-free, which allows it to utilize the finest vendor partners in the industry. "While we understand the need to continually enhance our technology—EDI, web-based services and on-board communications—we never lose sight of the all-important human touch," he says. "We strongly believe our greatest asset is our people. By taking proper care of our people, our people will take proper care of our customers.

"C. L. Services is customer obligated," he adds. "We expect to always do the right thing. Integrity is part of the decisions we make in the best interests of our team, customers, and vendors."

Moving Forward

Georgia’s long-established logistics leadership serves as a platform for more growth. Case in point: Burris Logistics, which recently completed construction of a 250,000-square-foot public refrigerated warehouse in McDonough, 30 miles outside Atlanta. This new cold-storage facility expands the company’s existing East Coast capabilities while offering its partners an even stronger refrigerated warehouse network.

Burris, an industry leader in cold storage solutions with dedicated public refrigerated warehouse facilities spanning the East Coast, has enjoyed a Peach State presence for several years. Its new facility in McDonough is another milestone in a company history that traces back to 1925 when John W. Burris and his father, Edward, worked together to ship tomatoes from the Delmarva Peninsula—a large peninsula on the East Coast occupied by most of Delaware as well as the eastern shores of Maryland and Virginia—into Philadelphia. On the return trip, they carried Acme Markets’ bread to its Delmarva region stores.

Cold Storage a Hot Spot

Over the years, Burris has branched out into food-service redistribution, public refrigerated warehousing, and custom and retail specialty work.

"We weren’t the first company to delve into cold-storage solutions, but our commitment to excellence has made us an industry leader," says Michael T. Pitcher, sales director. "We continue to open state-of-the-art facilities with cutting-edge technology to keep businesses ahead of the competition."

Pitcher is among several of the Delaware-based company’s management leaders who will have offices in the new McDonough facility. "We are committed long term to Georgia," says Pitcher. "Atlanta is the East Coast gateway and the McDonough location will increase our presence and import/export capabilities."

Because Burris already had been positioned in Georgia, the new facility was up and running quickly with high-performing team members. While primarily a cold-storage warehouse, McDonough also hosts a freight management division. In addition to its direct work, it also serves as a brokerage.

"The coolest part of the new building is the refrigeration system," Pitcher says. The system uses a Freon-blended refrigerant, which translates into a safer environment for products as well as team members. "It’s sustainable and eco-friendly," he adds.

While its expanded Georgia presence is new, the Burris tradition in logistics is not. "This is a family company with all the culture and values that go with it," Pitcher says. "The fifth generation is currently in charge." That family culture results in empowered team members. "We give employees the confidence to do what’s right," he adds.

"The Burris family’s commitment to exceptional customer service goes back five generations," says Donnie Burris, CEO. "Carrying the torch passed by my father, Bob Burris, our company promise of ‘integrity delivered’ will remain an integral part of everything we do today—and in all the years to come."

The new McDonough facility joins the list of Burris facilities in Elkton and Federalsburg, Maryland; Haines City, Orlando, Jacksonville and Lakeland, Florida; Harrington, New Castle, and Milford, Delaware; Rocky Hill, Connecticut; Lyndhurst, Virginia; Philadelphia; and Springfield, Massachusetts. Through this network, the company hits a home run in logistics services—custom retail distribution, cold storage, food service redistribution, and freight management.

Technology Central

The litany of Georgia’s logistics assets is so extensive that sometimes its technology advantages are not readily top of mind. "In Georgia logistics, what’s sometimes overlooked is how much supply chain technology is based in Atlanta and the surrounding area," says Andrew Slusher, CEO and president of SMC³, an information provider for leading technology and manufacturing powerhouses around the country and beyond. Its client list includes Oracle, MercuryGate and McLeod Software, and SAP. In addition to its headquarters in the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City, the company maintains an office in Louisville, Kentucky.

From the broad perspective SMC³ provides, Atlanta is technology central in the supply chain landscape. "The city’s Technology Square is the region’s technology and innovation nucleus, and new technology companies always pop up in the greater metro area, striving to create new efficiencies in myriad industries," Slusher notes. "We’re based in Atlanta because this enormous technology base attracts the best IT and development talent around."

Atlanta’s proximity to the Port of Savannah ensures the city remains a major waypoint as international shipments head out across the country. "Additionally, the sheer volume of air freight Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport handles each year speaks for itself," Slusher says. "In fact, air cargo continues to grow in Atlanta, so the airport will only become more valuable for logistics in Georgia."

All this adds up to enormous benefits for SMC³. "We provide full visibility for LTL shipments from rating to dispatch to delivery," Slusher says. "Positioning ourselves in the midst of so much technology talent is a major benefit."

Using a blend of analytical and transactional APIs (application programming interfaces), SMC³ strives to solve the entire LTL shipment lifecycle. The company’s solutions take shippers and 3PLs from transportation procurement, pricing, and transit-time analysis, all the way to shipment execution, visibility, and audit.

Creating Solutions

Georgia logistics companies of every size use SMC³ tools to optimize their supply chains. While the volume of supply chain activity in Georgia—and the area’s capacity for more activity—is encouraging, it also creates challenges.

"Congestion on the infrastructure in and around Atlanta can be frustrating to the supply chain community, and we can’t ignore the environmental impact our industry leaves behind with every shipment," Slusher explains. "Using our solutions, carriers save on fuel and labor costs, not only putting fewer trucks on the road but also making sure that deliveries are optimized for the best possible routing. As a progressive technology company, we take pride in knowing that companies use our tools to help create a greener supply chain."

SMC³ focuses on creating value-added solutions for shippers, carriers, 3PLs, and other logistics stakeholders operating in the LTL arena. "As the Georgia logistics marketplace evolves, and supply chain disruptors come and go, we’re evolving in parallel, providing solutions to achieve the results our customers and their end consumers demand," Slusher says. "We pride ourselves on delivering the right information at the right time so our clients, and the industry, can make the right decisions."

In 2017, SMC³ brought its trusted third-party CzarLite family of base rates to Mexico, providing reliable LTL rate information for point-to-point service inside the country. The rate benchmark created a level rate playing field for shippers and 3PLs with intra-Mexico supply chain needs, a reliable way to benchmark the pricing data they received from carriers.

In January 2018, SMC³ acquired intra-Canadian base rates from the Freight Carriers Association of Canada. This extension of SMC³’s price benchmarking offers shippers and 3PLs around the globe better insight to manage their intra-Canadian supply chain needs.

"We’re also focused on continually improving our direct-to-carrier API services, offering shippers and 3PLs transactional alternatives to our high-powered analytical APIs such as RateWare XL and CarrierConnect XL," Slusher says. "The transactional API economy is continuing to expand, and we offer numerous API solutions to provide customers with visibility, rating, and transit-time options.

"While transactional APIs are incredibly useful and should be a tool in any shipper’s array of solutions, they may not always be the best option," Slusher adds. "Shippers and 3PLs that need to rate a high volume of shipments quickly often turn to our analytical APIs for more computing power.

"We provide solutions for all shippers—whether they send 50 shipments weekly or 5,000 shipments daily," he notes.

"We continue to give truckload and LTL carriers complete clarity into their costs at the shipment level via our activity-based costing model," Slusher says. "Carriers use the SMC³ Transportation Costing Group solutions to maintain cost-effective yield management and analyze their true shipping costs, helping them increase profitability."

Providing Security

One company that benefits mightily from Georgia’s logistics strengths returns the favor by contributing mightily to the logistics sector. Atlanta-based TydenBrooks Security Products Group, established in 1873, produces customizable security seals, tapes, labels, and other security devices.

"TydenBrooks is the oldest and largest security seals manufacturer in the world," says William McKeen, marketing communications manager. "Myriad industries, and most commonly logistics companies, use our seals to secure shipments and provide tamper evidence.

"Every month we produce and ship millions of units," McKeen explains. "Access to three major interstates, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, and the Port of Savannah allows us to keep our seals moving quickly and efficiently to customers all over the world. Additionally, locating our largest North American production facility and corporate headquarters in the Atlanta area allows us to provide excellent service and rapid delivery to customers such as UPS, Coca-Cola, Delta, and Norfolk Southern."

The company, which maintains manufacturing plants in Tallapoosa, Georgia, and Angola, Indiana, serves more than 75 countries and holds 150-plus patents worldwide. TydenBrooks employs more than 250 U.S. workers, and supports and secures U.S. airlines, borders, the chemical industry, defense capabilities, energy production, food supply, railroads, and other vital interests. The company played a key role in World War II efforts to secure communication and shipments, both at home and abroad.

Best Lead Times, Best Pricing

Georgia provides the ideal foundation for the company’s success, McKeen says. "Georgia’s business-friendly environment, readily available work force, and recent and continuous infrastructure investments help us provide our seals with the best lead times and pricing in our industry," he notes. "We are proud to secure billions of dollars of cross-border shipments and high-value cargo as our customers meet their security needs."

The company’s long tradition as a market leader and logistics service provider has not put it on cruise control. "Over the past few years, we’ve invested more than $2.5 million into our Georgia manufacturing processes, specifically for capacity improvements, warehouse expansion, infrastructure upgrades, and personnel," McKeen says. "We have upgraded our integrated real-time logistics software to improve our small package and LTL tracking.

"We also conduct regular conferences with our domestic and international 3PL to discuss optimizing our carrier selection to maximize customer service levels and reduce costs," he adds.

Likewise, the company’s products are expanding. "We continue to build our security solutions portfolio, creating more ISO-certified options such as our new Flex Bolt security seal," he says.

"In addition, we are investing in track and trace innovations," McKeen says. "We plan to introduce products that will allow customers to keep better tabs on their cargo. These recent improvements, along with our continuous research and development, enable us to support logistics in Georgia and around the world."

The Georgia General Assembly recently recognized and commended TydenBrooks on the 145th anniversary of its founding and on its exceptional service to the state and the nation.

Logistics Footprints

The footprints of logistics are deeply set in the rich Georgia soil. And they are getting more plentiful every day.

Consider, for example, The Shippers Group. Since its founding in 1901, The Shippers Group has grown and evolved to continuously meet the growing demands of the regional, national, and Fortune 100 customer businesses it serves. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, The Shippers Group has operated in Georgia for more than 20 years.

"Our footprint in Georgia could soon exceed the square footage that we operate in the Dallas market," says Rob Doyle, company president.

Why the focus on Georgia? "The state is booming," Doyle explains. "Demand for warehouse space has surged in recent months. We’ve seen a significant increase in demand for our packaging and e-commerce services. We are stepping up every functional area within our company through process improvements, training, and talent acquisition to provide warehousing, packaging, and e-commerce solutions and exceptional service."

Deep Logistics Expertise

Doyle, who is widely respected for his expertise in everything from operations to business development, joined The Shippers Group in late 2016 and is leading the company to its next phase of growth by leveraging his diverse and high-profile industry experience. A graduate of Georgia State University, Doyle was the 2015-2016 International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA) chairman of the board. He served on the IWLA board starting in 2007 and on the executive committee from 2012 to 2016.

With 18 years of logistics experience, Doyle was previously the president of Doyle Distribution, president of Amware Logistics, and vice president of business development for Commercial Warehousing Inc. He began his logistics career after completing six years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1989 to 1995.

Earlier this year, the company added 540,000 square feet of space in a new facility located in Austell, Georgia, convenient to Interstate 20 and I-285 to meet the growing demands of its food/consumer goods and automotive customers for contract packaging, e-commerce, and traditional retail distribution services.

"This brings our total square footage in Georgia to more than one million square feet and 4.5 million square feet in total," Doyle says. In addition to its Georgia locations, The Shippers Group operates facilities in Texas, California, Illinois, and Virginia.

The company provides an array of logistics services including public and contract warehousing, fulfillment and packaging, transportation management, information management, and 4PL integration.

The Shippers Group receives and services more than 40,000 orders per month, shipping more than four million cases of its products to its customers’ customers. The economies of scale and flexibility enable customers to be more competitive in the marketplace.

Not surprisingly, Doyle’s leadership in logistics translates to a keen awareness of how important it is to maintain cutting-edge technology. "We are investing in innovative technologies to meet demand for systems integration and automation that improve service performance and operating efficiency, especially within packaging and e-commerce as we grow in that area," he says. "In Atlanta specifically, The Shippers Group is focused on growth, both organic and through acquisition. Our focus on technology, quality processes, and talent acquisition and development is driving The Shippers Group to our next phase of growth."

Anywhere, Anytime

On the road to logistics success, you must follow all pathways to progress. Take a wrong turn—or skip one—and you end up at a dead end or in serious danger. Georgia became an international logistics leader by making sure that help is available at every milepost along the journey—the right people at the right place and time with the right technology, equipment, and knowledge—to maximize efficiency and safety.

That best-of-everything model the state sets is mirrored in its logistics companies. Ben Goldberg, president of JIT Warehousing & Logistics, credits the Georgia Ports Authority for setting the standard. "Georgia’s biggest logistical advantage is the GPA and its web of operations throughout the state," he says.

JIT, which operates throughout the United States, handles numerous commodities in addition to steel products and palletized cargo. The company is situated about a half-mile from the GPA’s Ocean Terminal and 3.5 miles from the container port.

With more than two decades of import/export experience, JIT provides warehousing, trucking, shipside delivery, port pickup, container drayage, stripping, stuffing, cross-docking, and overdimensional/crane services. The company’s overdimensional division includes road escort, rigging, and trailers for heavy haul.

JIT operates facilities on both the CSX and Norfolk Southern rail lines. These facilities are in addition to two other Savannah locations offering more than 750,000 square feet of warehouse space.

The GPA’s efforts have resulted in new pathways to progress. "The GPA’s expansion to include inland rail ports and deepening of the harbor increase opportunities for Georgia businesses," Goldberg says.

JIT leverages those assets to the best advantage of all concerned. "JIT’s four facilities are located in close proximity to both the Garden City and Ocean terminals, allowing efficient cargo movement in and out," Goldberg says. "Over the past year, we have also increased our rail access to include an additional 13-space capacity on Norfolk Southern.

"With the growth of rail service capacity and usage in Georgia, this is the next way to increase options for our customers and add new business to our existing operations," he adds.

Ready for Anything and Everything

The key is be ready for anything and everything. "One of our biggest advantages is our capability to move many varieties of cargo in a variety of methods," Goldberg says. "We handle metal products, lumber and paper products, palletized, slip sheet, and other commodities. We have capacity for local dray and transload, over-the-road intermodal, rail car loading and unloading, and import/export."

The company’s capabilities mirror the state’s—prepared to take all manner of products on the road (or in the air or by sea) to anywhere. Likewise, reflecting the state’s ambitions and energy in the logistics space, JIT continually builds new and better paths to make the journey smoother and more efficient.

"Given the growing shortage of trucks and limited capabilities due to new ELD regulations, our capacity to offer transloading and rail services allows customers other options for cargo traditionally moved over the road," Goldberg says. "We also are looking to expand our export volume to leverage the new rail spots."

Goldberg believes that JIT’s location, historical success, and ever-expanding expertise provide the company with endless opportunities for growth in import and export cargo handling.

In fact, any company seeking new pathways to progress can end their search in Georgia.

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