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TIA members returned to the U.S. after four days touring Cuba

March 28, 2016

A delegation of to learn more about the opportunities and challenges of doing business on that island. TIA’s visit coincided with President Obama's historic visit to Cuba, the first visit by a sitting President to Cuba in over 80 years.

After returning, Sue Spero, a member of this delegation, was one interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. The following is a copy of the publication:

Logistics Executives See Shipping Hub Potential in Cuba

U.S. businesses touring freight sites find modern facilities along with decaying infrastructure and “endless” possibilities for American exports

 Cuba’s Port of Mariel has already drawn investment interest from port operators and developers around the world. Photo: Bloomberg News By Loretta Chao

U.S. logistics executives who toured Cuba’s shipping facilities say the island nation has potential to be a key shipping hub for the region, but that heavy bureaucracy and poor infrastructure pose significant hurdles.

Officials from 18 logistics companies completed a trip to Cuba last Friday—coinciding with President Barack Obama’s historic visit to the island—in which they watched operations at the Port of Mariel and met with prospective partners, including ProCuba, an organization promoting foreign trade and investment in the country.

They said Cuba may be an ideal location for cross-docking, or re-sorting and distributing, cargo from large “post-panamax” ships to smaller vessels headed for U.S. ports. That could include ships from Asia with cargo bound for East Coast ports that aren't equipped to handle the bigger ships, which can carry 14,000 or more twenty-foot-equivalent units, or TEUs, a standard measure for container cargo.

“Their location is absolutely perfect to be a hub…to push freight into northern Mexico, or all along the southern coast, and even up to our ports that don’t have that deep draft on the eastern side,” said Sue Spero, president of transportation brokerage firm Carrier Services of Tennessee Inc. Being able to get goods to market “a few days quicker is huge for us,” she said.

The logistics companies, in a trip organized by the Transportation Intermediaries Association, or TIA, joined other U.S. businesses that met with Cuban officials as the president visited the island nation.

The Obama administration viewed Mr. Obama’s trip as a critical market in its moves to normalize trade relations with Cuba after a 50-year trade embargo. Although the White House and Havana have opened the door to more travel, tourism and some business dealings, important limitations on trade in goods and services remain in place and would have to be removed by the U.S. Congress.

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Sue Spero of Carrier Services of TN Visits Capitol Hill

Sue Spero of Carrier Services of TN Visits Capitol Hill

Sue Spero owner of Carrier Services of TN, Inc. traveled to Capitol Hill in June with the TIA, Transportation Intermediaries Association. The purpose of the trip was to advocate two bills, H.R. 1120 and S. 1454, that create a National Hiring Standard for Motor Carriers.

Brokers, Shippers, and freight forwarders are at risk every day of baseless lawsuits for negligent selection of carriers. . H.R. 1120 and S. 1454 are the result of TIA members and its advocacy professionals working hard to bring Congress’s attention to this critical issue.

Sue was proud to be a part of over 55 members meeting with 116 congressional representatives to help get the attention of Congress, teach them about our industry, and encourage them to work with us on these bills and other priorities.
Sue believes no company should be at risk of a lawsuit because of flawed government programs.

Pictured above with Representative Jimmy Duncan, Tennessee

 

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Broker Doubles Revenue with half the staff

Recently we were featured in DAT Load Boards:

Broker Doubles Revenue with half the staff

What impacts the financial health of a brokerage faster: more revenue producers or better technology? Conventional wisdom would say to add revenue producers but hold the line on back office costs. But when a brokerage in Tennessee was forced to lay off brokers during the recession, it learned how adding technology could increase efficiency and make up for the reduction in staff.

Like many other brokerages, Carrier Services of Tennessee was hit hard by the recession that began in 2008.

That year, the 21-year-old company laid off more than half its brokers—downsizing from 11 brokers to 5. Back-office staffing was already lean. The owner and one other employee provided back-office support, while three independent sales representatives sought out new business.

Before the recession, Carrier Services was doing $3.8 million a year in business. That figure dipped during the recession, but by 2011—and adding back just one broker position—the company hit $7.3 million. Within three years, the company had doubled its revenue with half the staff.

How did they do it?

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