No matter where in the world a product or piece of machinery needs to go, World Shipping can get it there. “We’re a middle-market company that’s focused on high-service delivery to the discerning international shipper,” President and CEO Fred Hunger says.
World Shipping’s advantage in the logistics market stems from the ability to coordinate and connect its subsidiary companies, each of which specializes in aspects of the supply chain. “We tie together our assets, such as trucks, chassis, tank fleet, warehouses with our customs house brokerage, import/export teams, international offices and deep-sea operations. There’s virtually no international logistics move that we can’t solve or perform with our group,” Hunger explains.
The typical World Shipping customer is focused on manufacturing and marketing products and needs a partner to provide shipping solutions. “They’re relying on us to provide a global, effective distribution system for them,” Hunger says of clients. World Shipping’s subsidiaries have offices in more than a dozen countries, allowing the company to provide customers with a local structure and to work closely with manufacturing clients to lessen the time it takes to deliver a product to market. “Our company has a proud history of providing world-class customer service. We now look to build on that legacy with key investments in technology and skin in the game in terms of assets to service clients,” Hunger adds. “[We are] growing globally while maintaining our continued focus on service and quality.”
Fred Hunger’s father, Jack Hunger, founded World Shipping in 1960 following the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway the year before. The series of canals and locks made the Atlantic Ocean accessible to Great Lakes communities and provided business opportunities for logistics companies, such as World Shipping, to coordinate the rising delivery of goods to the region. By the 1960s, containers had become a more significant part of the shipping industry and World Shipping transitioned its business to liner agents for steam ships to enter the global trade market. “Over time we have grown strategically into a complete international logistics company,” Hunger says.
Depth of Service
The key to World Shipping’s continued growth and evolution is its four subsidiaries: ContainerPort Group, NewPort Tank Containers, United World Line (UWL) and World Distribution Services. “Most logistics companies don’t have the depth of operations and assets that we do,” Hunger says.
The company created ContainerPort in the 1970s as a wholly owned subsidiary to manage cargo transportation services, trucking, warehousing, terminal operations and maintenance. ContainerPort has 21 different terminals throughout the Midwest and East Coast that support the intermodal industry and also operates intermodal railroad ramps for the Class 1 railroads such as Norfolk Southern.
World Distribution Services (WDS) is the warehouse and distribution arm of the company. Clients can utilize the affiliate to store products for import or export prior to transportation at 20 strategically placed locations across the United States. The company has a hands on approach to managing these locations with staff and management across the United States. This division is fully integrated with their trucking and forwarding arm. “WDS has a robust warehousing system that integrates all warehouses and partner warehouses into a consolidated view for clients with complex domestic needs,” Hunger says. “Their network of warehouses was developed specifically to accommodate the flow of international freight, tied to key ports and intermodal hubs.”
To further serve the global transportation network, in 1995 World Shipping started NewPort Tank Containers. NewPort has since risen to become the fourth-largest deep sea tank container operator in the world, with offices in the United States, Netherlands, France, Germany, United Arab Emirates, China, Singapore, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, India and Saudi Arabia. “We have one of the most expansive owned office networks in place and we’re looking to add more locations,” Hunger says. In those regions where NewPort doesn’t have an office, it has a tenured network of agent partners.
Tying it at all together is UWL, a global third-party logistics company providing end-to-end solutions through freight-forwarding, NVOCC ocean and air services for import and export. The resulting coordination between subsidiaries is a one-stop shop for worldwide delivery. “What we’re really able to do with UWL is leverage all the capabilities of the World Shipping group,” Hunger says. ”We tie the assets to the service side, which is a powerful product in the industry today. In recent years, we have seen forwarders struggle to service clients through pure third-party relationships with drayage carriers, as an example. But UWL ties our direct trucking and warehousing companies into one seamless service that is tremendously valuable in our industry.”
A commitment to service is one of World Shipping’s core principles, according to Hunger. The company is bucking the industry trend toward centralizing and consolidating offices in order to maintain a close level of contact with clients. Centralization can sever customer relations because employee contacts are lost in the turnover, Hunger explains. “The market is changing and we’re sticking to a very high service model because we think our clients require that. The major ocean carriers and forwarders have been steadily centralizing operations to cut costs all across the United States and even moved work offshore, but we are doing the opposite and pushing out regional offices to increase our service levels and client communication,” he adds.
To support its customer-first vision, World Shipping has taken care to craft a positive company culture. “We really focus on attracting and retaining the highest-caliber talent in the industry that we can,” Hunger says. The company believes putting trust and energy into caring about its employees translates into a great working environment.
At each branch, an employee-led committee of associates plans monthly social activities – such as bag toss tournaments – while other offices participate in sports leagues. Many of those activities are tied to community service initiatives. “It’s not just a place to work,” Hunger explains. “It’s where you engage with colleagues and become friends. I think that spills over in how we treat customers, it’s an industry that requires a high degree of people interaction and that will not change.”
The effort in developing an internal culture translates into how World Shipping approaches its vendors and independent contractors, as well. Although the logistics industry is suffering from a driver shortage, World Shipping has been able to attract independent truckers through what Hunger calls one of the best driver compensation packages in the market.
Investing In Growth
As World Shipping has taken on more customers and expanded its global reach, the company has invested in technology to match its growth. World Shipping recently launched an improved information technology system for forwarding and customs brokerage, end-to-end freight, ocean-to-air and cross-dock operations. The system has built-in automation to eliminate errors such as the auto-rating of freight bills and automatic reporting. One of the key features of the tracking system is that it captures all the data generated by the ocean, air and trucking carriers to update the customer, helping to ensure a smooth supply chain without the need for manual updates. These tools not only improve service but also provide a centralized database for all freight movement. Shippers can leverage this capability to feed their order management and ERP systems with clean, direct carrier data.
Although, much of World Shipping’s domestic land-based business today remains focused on the Northeast, Midwest and East Coast of the United States, the company has been expanding into the south Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Worldwide, the company is in all core strategic markets and provides point-to-point services in more than 400 global trade lanes. “We’re a growth-oriented company with a unique end product,” Hunger says. “We’re progressive, we buck the corporate trends and we’re excited about the future.