News Column

Shipping Revenues Growing Beyond Borders

June 2007, HISPANIC BUSINESS Magazine

Frank Nelson

Aurelio Aleman, George Gomez, and Sergio Lagos of USA Logistic Carriers.
Aurelio Aleman, George Gomez, and Sergio Lagos of USA Logistic Carriers.

USA Logistic Carriers LLC has enjoyed phenomenal growth since it was launched six years ago. And CFO Robert D. Long says that trend is set to continue through 2007 and well beyond.

Last year's revenues topped $77 million, more than twice that of any other Hispanic-owned company that returned our survey in the transportation sector. Buoyed by first-quarter results, Mr. Long confidently predicts revenues will virtually double this year to between $135 million and $140 million.

"We're trying to brand ourselves as the top Hispanic [transportation] company," he says, adding that the owners are all Hispanic as are "about 98 percent of employees."

Today, the company that began with two trucks in October 2000 now operates a fleet of around 425 trucks and 1,800 trailers. That's enough to support close to 450 drivers plus more than 100 other staff, ranging from administration and high-tech to the guys in the service shop.

USA Logistic Carriers, which debuts at No. 89 on the Hispanic Business 500, is co-owned by three partners CEO Aurelio Aleman, Sergio Lagos, and George Gomez and based in McAllen, Texas. The town of around 90,000 nestles near the Mexican border about midway between Laredo, Texas and Brownsville, Texas.

Laredo is a major port of entry, but Mr. Long believes his USA Logistic Carriers can help McAllen grab a bigger slice of that cross-border traffic. The company is already in expansion mode elsewhere, opening a Dallas depot this summer with a similar facility for drivers, fuel, and freight slated for El Paso, Texas in the first quarter of 2008.

State-of-the-art technology, embedded in every truck and trailer, enables USA Logistic and its clients 80 percent of them Fortune 500 companies to track every shipment. "IT is key in the future for this business," Mr. Long says.

While he's bullish about the future, Mr. Long keeps an eye on rising prices for fuel and equipment, and the cost of compliance with increasingly stringent clean-air regulations. However, he says fuel costs are not the burden some might suppose since they can be passed on to the customer.

Anna Aguiar Woods, CEO of Public Special Commodities Inc., sees rising fuel costs as an equal problem for everyone in the industry and believes everybody adopts the same solution passing that cost on down the line until eventually it comes out of the consumers' pocket.

Her company, No. 2 in the sector and No. 139 on the Hispanic Business 500, was founded in 1983 and is based in Mira Loma, California. It employs about 30 people but does not have its own fleet. "The only thing you won't see is our name on the trucks," Mrs. Woods says.

Instead, this is a brokerage firm that handles all the logistics for other trucking companies, including the vital function of matching loads with trucks that might otherwise be returning home empty.

Mrs. Woods sees the transportation industry slowing slightly in an economy still dogged by issues like the housing downturn and the ongoing war in Iraq. Against that uncertain backdrop, she's hoping 2007 revenues will match last year's $38 million "or a little bit more."



Source: HISPANIC BUSINESS Magazine and Hispanicbusiness.com, Copyright (c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.


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