Haulage and Brokerage the niche for Andrew Henry
There is custom brokerage and then there is road haulage, but what separates businessman Andrew Henry from the pack is the ingenuity to offer a combination of both under one roof at his Newport West establishment.
"We're a logistics centre. We say [we are] the one-stop shop for all your import, export needs ... . We're able to take someone's purchase order, and we can deliver their goods from wherever, straight to their door. That's where we differ, that's our advantage," Henry, managing director of Henry's Haulage Service Ltd and Kass Custom Broker Ltd, told The Gleaner last week during an interview.
Along with his father, Henry founded the businesses in September 1998, starting out with a single flatbed truck before encouraging his co-founder to adapt to the times by selling the flatbed to purchase a tractor head so they could capitalise on the then emerging market of container haulage.
"He drove, so I did the bookkeeping, the brokerage and that's how we started, as a father-and-son operation," he said, beaming.
Twenty years onward, and the group of companies has moved from strength to strength - up to 15 trucks, with a further eight to come in the New Year and a staff complement of 40.
Further, they continue to boost their diverse client base, with their services now extending to big names such as Kirk Distributors, Salada Foods, and New Era Homes, in addition to the hotel sector.
"We have got so much business that we're literally challenged to provide the service, but we do cope because of our efficiency," noted Henry, who prides himself on being very hands-on.
Colleen Glavee, general manager of the group, was also quick to point out that the companies have thrived as a result of top-notch logistics.
... Big need for trailer drivers in haulage sector
In terms of the next phase of his group's development, Andrew Henry, managing director of Henry's Haulage Service Ltd and Kass Custom Broker Ltd, says he is keen on tapping into warehousing and acquiring his special economic zone licence in order to capitalise on the Government's highly touted logistics hub master plan.
"That means we can move freight from anywhere in the world. We can put it in our warehouse and it would not be customed, so manufacturers and distributors can take advantage of having just-in-time inventory. In terms of staff complement, we believe we'll triple that in the next two years... . Based on where we see the economy going, we're confident we can achieve this," he added.
Meanwhile, Henry, a past president of the Port Trailer Haulage Association, said the industry as a whole continues to grow, adding that the improved road network will only lead to further development.
This, he said, would also lead to employment creation. He noted that at present, there is a shortage of trailer drivers in the sector.
"We don't have enough drivers. Canada has been taking away a lot of them. They require about 4,000, and naturally, they're taking away the best," said Henry.
"It is a good time for persons wanting to come into this field because right now, there are a lot of opportunities for good employment with good salary. Our current drivers are getting serious income now. Fortnightly, a driver can actually carry home $120,000 net, once the work is flowing properly and his truck is up, easily," he reasoned.
Henry recommended that drivers who wish to enter the field complete the driving programme offered at the Caribbean Maritime University.
He also underscored that the sector presents opportunities in terms of management and logistics services.
"This sector is going to grow, definitely, so all aspects of business will be required for the industry," he contended.