A Tradition of Service Amid Times of Change
The MID-SHIP Group
The MID-SHIP Group is a world leader in the transportation services industry, providing a wide range of services to shippers of industrial raw materials since 1974. With a reputation for dedication and dependability, the company has its clients’ needs covered.
MID-SHIP’s founding chairman, Mathew I Deluca Jr., was a very motivated Marine when he decided to bring his work ethic from the Marine Corps to the transportation business in the 1960s. With his leadership and the support of his founding partners, MID-SHIP Marine was started in 1974 and grew quickly to become one of the largest dry bulk ocean freight brokerage companies in North America.
In 1991, MID-SHIP opened the logistics division, called MID-SHIP Logistics Inc., led by George Kachmar (currently MID-SHIP Group Partner and President of MID-SHIP Logistics) that focused on domestic distribution, primarily in the United States, and was designed to arrange movement of industrial bulk and steel commodities. This addition enabled MID-SHIP to provide a complete supply chain solution between originating plants (or mine sites) and end users for both domestic and international movements.
25 Years later, MID-SHIP Logistics has firmly established itself as an industry leader. The division has evolved and diversified through the years. MID-SHIP Logistics offers barge freight services for inland and coastwise movements, warehousing, inventory management, stevedore coordination, truck freight, cargo inspection, technology solutions and various ancillary services related to movement of industrial raw materials and semi-finished steel products.
MID-SHIP’s development and use of exclusive technology has also helped to improve its service offerings. “We have developed proprietary systems over the years, especially related to inventory management and tracking of shipments,” explains Colin Schneider, Vice President Logistics. “MID-SHIP can provide clients with enhanced visibility of their inventories and shipments throughout the supply chain via our client portal at www.midship.com. In addition, we can deliver a host of powerful reporting tools, providing valuable insight to our clients so they can make informed decisions rapidly. This is an area that we are very proud of. We feel that we’ve been ahead of the curve from a technology perspective.”
MID-SHIP’s truck brokerage division (MID-SHIP Transport) is based in Pittsburgh, PA and is particularly strong in the flatbed and dump truck markets in the US.
The diversity and flexibility of services is one of MID-SHIP’s competitive advantages. “Some clients may choose to utilize one or two of our services, while others may choose to use an entire suite of services, whereby we manage the entire supply chain,” continues Schneider. This flexible approach, enables MID-SHIP to quickly create powerful customized solutions to fit their clients’ needs. “We have these capabilities in-house, and that makes us stand out from the rest,” he says.
“We recognize steel producers and traders continue to face a difficult market in the US (and abroad), with a combination of low raw material costs and relatively soft demand impacting prices for semi-finished steels, such as rebar and pc-strand wire rod. Obtaining competitive transportation costs and providing reliable deliveries has become an increasingly important component of most steel companies’ sales efforts. We feel our expertise, our drive for excellence and the wide range of services that we can offer our clients, makes a compelling value proposition.”
With approximately 150 employees worldwide at fifteen locations, MID-SHIP has experience working with everything from small trading groups to the largest multinational producers. “We have a strong international presence which is very important,” says Schneider.
As the international landscape has changed, MID-SHIP has been successful in expanding its international presence, with offices in strategic markets such as Turkey, Brazil, South Korea, Columbia, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Italy and Mexico. “I think that’s very important for our international clients, as well as our US-based clients who are looking to sell or source products internationally,” says Schneider. MID-SHIP’s employees (international and US-based) not only possess expertise related to the transportation of various commodities, but also come from a wide range of backgrounds, bringing with them a large number of languages, professional experiences and are a great example of globalization.
One thing that sets MID-SHIP apart is the dedicated employees. “You have to look at the people. We have a very hard-working group of employees,” he says. “We have very little turnover, and fortunately, our employees are happy to be here. The work ethic from leadership has been reinforced year after year,” adds Schneider.
MID-SHIP has integrity and is dedicated to its clients. “Our word is our bond,” says Schneider. “We certainly try to do the right thing every day. We hope that by helping our clients, they’ll grow their business, and we’ll grow alongside them,” says Schneider. “One thing that has really guided us at MID-SHIP is an expression from our founding chairman: ‘continuity & change.’ The company believes in continuity, especially with regard to our dedication to our clients.”
The combined collective experience of MID-SHIP’s employees is a testament to that continuity, yet MID-SHIP is also adapting to enhance service to clients. “That’s one area where technology comes into play,” explains Schneider.
“MID-SHIP Logistics is pretty impressive and a great place to work. Our day-to-day operations change a lot, depending on the needs of our clients and conditions on the ground. That’s why we really have to be very nimble and be able to problem solve quickly. This is a real strength of ours.”
The company is very proud of its reputation for trustworthiness and dependability. “Not to take anything away from our formal marketing efforts,” says Schneider. “But word of mouth is a really great business generator for us. We’re happy to say that most of the people that we have worked with have been pleased with our services and have helped us to spread the word. For that we are truly grateful.”
MID-SHIP provides clients with market reports, many of which are commodity specific, maximizing value to clients. “The feedback has been great,” explains Schneider. The company also takes part in industry events and charities to get its name out there.
The company is always loyal to the people it serves. Respectful of the commercial sensitivity, it guards its clients’ confidential information. Because of this, Schneider declined to give examples of past projects but did say that he was very proud of MID-SHIP’s diverse client base which includes smaller shippers and several Fortune 500 companies.
“I’m always proud when a client comes to us with interest in selling a product into a new market, and we’re able to work with them in order to come up with the best supply chain to meet their needs, both from a cost and service standpoint,” says Schneider. “When we have a happy customer at the end of the day, we know we’ve done our job right.”
It is presently a very challenging time for the ocean freight markets, and there are going to be many issues facing the industry within the next couple of years, but MID-SHIP is prepared and confident that it will meet these challenges. “We are a very diverse company,” explains Schneider. “We have various activities that help us weather that storm.
“The landscape has certainly changed,” he says. “I can see us expanding activities on the liquid side of our business. We manage a large fleet of chemical tank barges for some existing customers. This is certainly a growth area for us, and it’s one of the newest markets that we’re involved with,” he shares.
“We also see the technology services being a growing area for us, as there seems to be significant client demand,” says Schneider. “We’re working to meet that demand. We’re very much a long-term company seeking long-term clients and we always look forward to discussing any potential opportunities, especially those that are steel related.”
MID-SHIP Logistics appreciates the loyalty and support that its clients have shown over the years. “Without our clients, we wouldn’t be in business,” says Schneider. “We’ll work as hard as we can to retain their support.”
With sights set high for the future, MID-SHIP looks forward to continued growth and change as it continues to offer excellent service to its clients in this ever-changing industry.