COFC Logistics is preparing for growth by investing in innovative technology and building key relationships.
By Bianca Herron
Garry Old founded COFC Logistics in 2011 as an independent supplier of intermodal equipment and service. Specializing in 53-foot intermodal containers, the Holland, Ohio-based company has more than 70 lanes of service throughout the United States and Mexico serving intermodal marketing companies (IMCs), third-party logistics providers (3PLs), brokers, freight forwarders, and trucking companies.
When Old, president and CEO, founded COFC Logistics, he saw a need for capacity and service for non-asset-based companies. They were not only competing for the same limited business, but were also working with their competitors, asset-based intermodal providers.
“There was a need for a neutral equipment provider that could work with them,” Old explains. “They needed to be able to share information and not worry about if someone was going to go after their customer.”
Since its founding nearly six years ago, the company has grown by remaining nimble and reacting quickly to both industry changes and its customers’ needs. COFC Logistics aims to provide a quality, easy-to-use and 53-foot intermodal service to intermediaries that will allow them to grow and be successful.
The company isn’t afraid of growth, Old notes, adding that COFC Logistics recently passed 1,000 containers and aims to grow its fleet to 5,000 by 2022.
“Since we’ve hit the thousand mark this year, business has matured and our customers are much more confident in us,” he says. “We’re going to add at least 500, next year just based on the business we now have.”
Reaching its goal will be “much easier” as soon as the company has more than 1,500 containers, according to Old. “Once we get pass that mark, we will continue adding and measuring our KPIs in order to ensure we’re strong,” he says.
COFC Logistics has eight employees, six of whom are operations, accounting and support staff, and the other two are salesmen. Everyone plays a role in the growth of the company, Old says.
“We work really hard on our external image, which we hope will bring customers to us. Our service and communication is critical both internally and externally.”
COFC Logistics has invested heavily in technology. To keep its operations efficient and streamline processes, all of the company’s containers have a GPS unit that is integrated into its operating system. This allows COFC Logistics and its customers to track its containers at all times, which gives them the opportunity to re-book or reuse containers improving utilization.
“Since we know where they are at all times, we can reload them faster,” Old says. “Our customers can re-book containers, and view full details of a load.”
Additionally, the company’s operating system provides its customers with access to key information they view themselves, at any time, such as current and future rates, full details of a load including per diem and live rail activity.
“I don’t want to slow our customers down,” Old notes. “I just want to be a conduit between them and our rail partners. For example, our customers can go onto a rail partners website and view or pull information into their system to populate their own internal reports.”
COFC Logistics’ No. 1 goal is to be a quality intermodal service provider. “We’re not the cheapest or the priciest, but we are competitive,” Old says.
Although it is a relatively new company, COFC Logistics is taking the necessary steps to ensure the relationships with its vendors are longstanding. Treating them fairly is the key, Old notes.
“We’re not interested in chasing the lowest price,” he says. “We want to get everything done quickly and fairly, and I think we’ve found the right vendors to build with. So we’ll stick with them and hope that our loyalty to them will create loyalty to us.”
COFC Logistics aims to continue growing. Old admits he doesn’t have an “end game” in mind because he believes the industry itself will move the needle on where COFC Logistics will go.
“If freight in general picks up a just a little bit, it could make a big difference,” he says. “For example, if we have 5,000 containers moving twice per month, in five years that will consist of nearly two percent of the industry.
“We have so much room to grow,” he continues. “Even one year from today the industry will look different because it continues to evolve. Hopefully, when the time comes, we’re able to recognize those shifts and react because we have the resources to do whatever we need to do. That includes adding new employees, buying more containers and continuously upgrading our operating system.”
Ultimately, Old is very pleased with his customer base. “This year alone we’ve moved at least one load with 173 different customers,” he says. “I anticipate our growth will continue at a steady rate each year.”
He adds that he’s most proud of the buy-in from COFC Logistics’ employees, especially since it’s a small company.
“Everyone knows their job and takes it personally and they always have the company’s best interest in mind,” Old says. “For example, I can leave the office for a week and I don’t worry about how things are handled in the office. They know what to do and they prove it to me each and every day. I’ve been very fortunate to hire the people that we have.”