St. George Logistics: Overcoming Port Challenges with Comprehensive Solutions and Technological Upgrades

Recent strikes at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have provided challenges for shippers, but St. George Logistics works hard to overcome them. Its container freight station (CFS) in Los Angeles has two acres of space for trailers and 116 shipping dock doors. “We’re the largest operator of independent network CFS facilities across North America,” President and CEO Denis Reilly declares. “We actually run nine of these facilities at key ports and regional destinations.

“Our customers are some of the largest logistics companies in the world,” he continues. “Since we are a neutral service provider, any large freight forwarder can do business with us. Sometimes competitors will deal only with their own freight or only allow certain customers to come into their operations. We’ll do business with any customer at any location.”

St. George Logistics’ largest business unit is its ocean CFS business. “We have 75 ocean locations across the U.S. in partnership or that we run handling import and export product into key U.S. ports such as Los Angeles, Oakland, Houston, Charleston, Savannah, New Jersey and New York,” Reilly says. “Additionally, we operate in regional locations like Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas. We receive the freight, break it down and ship it to inland locations. We operate more locations than any other provider out there. Our ocean CFS handles over 50,000 containers per year.”

Reilly estimates that 68 percent of the company’s business is ocean CFS, 13 percent air CFS, 13 percent contract logistics and warehousing, and 6 percent domestic transportation. “We provide a wide variety of air import and export services, as well as transportation services at the JFK and New York airport area,” Reilly says. “Our air CFS business, which is handled by J&J – a company that we acquired years ago – totals approximately 90 million kilos of air freight annually. What our customers like is that they can leverage all three services. Domestic transportation is another service that we’re building very rapidly. Once we get their shipment into our facilities, customers would rather we handle the transportation, as well.” St. George Logistics also handles all the customs paperwork.

Among the company’s customers are freight forwarders, NVOCCs, retailers, consumer products companies and 3PLs. “We have some large logistics companies that use multiple services,” Reilly points out. “These large freight forwarders or retailers could use multiple services due to our national footprint of warehouses and diverse services.”

St. George Logistics can provide shared or contract warehousing, pick pack, e-commerce and value-added related services. The company has business partnerships with numerous transportation providers so it can offer any mode necessary. “Whether air or ocean, once it arrives in the U.S., we can get it from the port and ship it to its final destination by any mode of transportation,” Executive Vice President Marie Costa explains.

Upgraded Technology

St. George Logistics is upgrading its CFS operating system to serve its customers better. “The system will be a web-based version,” Costa says. “Some enhancements on the new version will allow our users to set up and schedule most any sort of alert notification that they can think of. That’s going to be a huge enhancement for our site. This will be more automatic and offer complete visibility through the supply chain, which includes from the port to the final destination.”

In its distribution operations, St. George Logistics utilizes Synapse, a warehouse management system used by third-party logistics providers as well as stand-alone operators. Its configurable functionality allows it to handle varied requirements and support demanding distribution models. The entire St. George IT infrastructure is housed remotely in a secure data center to maximize security, redundancy and connectivity, and Synapse provides the latest modern distribution technology.

Reilly estimates that St. George Logistics outsources 98 percent of its transportation to service providers. The company – which is owned by LongueVue Capital, Ironwood Capital and Long Point Capital Investors – leases its warehouses, generally for three up to 10 years. Its Los Angeles facility has a 10-year lease.

“We locked into a longer-term lease because it fits our needs, and it’s a unique piece of real estate,” Reilly says. “It’s close to the ports, and we need to be by the ports. We had it designed to our specifications, so it’s important to lock that building down long-term.”

Reilly attributes the company’s success to its employees’ experience. “Our key value proposition is our highly experienced senior operations team, who have been here 20-plus years,” he emphasizes. “We have a strong focus and track record on service across all our units. We have customers we’ve been doing business with for a long time. Throughout the whole company, we’ve got that subject matter expertise that is essential in each service area we offer.”