Bob Russo purchased his first truck in 1954 to provide transportation services to grocery stores in the New York/New Jersey metro area. More than 60 years and hundreds of trucks later, Port Jersey Logistics continues the tradition of quality and service established by its founder with his son Rob Russo currently in charge of the company.
Director of Business Development Eric Holck says the company’s family ownership is one of Port Jersey Logistics’ strongest advantages because of the continuity it maintains with long-time customers and the strong internal culture it creates, and it leverages those advantages to hold onto its position as one of the most trusted and respected third-party logistics services providers in the New York City area.
From its headquarters in Cranbury, N.J., Port Jersey Logistics provides a variety of warehousing and transportation services to consumer packaged goods and food companies throughout the greater New York City metropolitan region. Although there are some national third-party logistics firms serving this market, Holck says the majority of the company’s competitors are regional players.
The company’s warehousing division, Tyler Distribution Centers Inc., provides multiple locations within an hour drive from the New York/New Jersey ports, and all of its warehouse facilities boast extensive food-grade certifications. The company says this provides customers with peace of mind that their products will arrive safely on their shelves as quickly as possible.
Through its transportation management division, Continental Logistics Inc., Port Jersey Logistics provides customers with a network of qualified carriers to handle virtually all of their LTL, truckload, container drayage and other transportation services. The company says its network of carriers offers temperature-controlled services as well as intermodal and freight consolidation capabilities. In addition to warehousing and transportation management, Port Jersey Logistics also offers value-added services including labeling, repacking and shrink-wrapping.
The key to Port Jersey Logistics’ reputation for high-quality customer service can be found in the attitude its employees bring to every single interaction they have with customers. The company’s unity of purpose makes it possible for Port Jersey Logistics’ staff to treat every customer’s products as if they were their own. “It’s a really good group of people, all like-minded individuals who understand and drive the culture that we have created here,” Holck says.
Holck describes the culture within the company as very entrepreneurial, with individual representatives given a lot of freedom to ensure that they do whatever is necessary to make their accounts happy. “They really want to own it and take it and run with it,” Holck says.
Holck says the biggest challenges for Port Jersey Logistics are common for third-party logistics companies serving the same customer base in the New York City region. For example, the recent labor strike that affected ports on the West Coast, in turn slowed things down for a while in the East Coast ports, and some in the industry are worried that the East Coast ports won’t be able to handle the additional capacity coming into them. Holck says Port Jersey Logistics isn’t worried about ports in other cities stealing capacity away because the heavy population on the East Coast makes it too attractive for shippers to ignore.
Another major challenge is the proliferation of SKUs as more new products are introduced. Retailers, wanting to keep up with consumer demands for greater selection, are requiring suppliers to provide a larger variety of SKUs. To keep up with customers’ demands and provide just-in-time inventory, Port Jersey Logistics is facing more frequent orders from customers in smaller quantities, Holck says.
Building for Growth
Port Jersey Logistics is working on laying the foundation for greater success in the future. Holck says the company has grown slowly over the last few years to develop a solid foundation, and it is getting its name out to more companies in the food and consumer packages goods sectors to help it expand at about 10 to 15 percent per year in the near future.
“We’re going through a little bit of a redesign here where we’re really trying to rebuild the company for growth at this point,” Holck says.