By Tina Irgang Leaderman
East Coast Warehouse & Distribution Corporation, a New Jersey- and Philadelphia-based company that provides temperature-controlled logistics services in the food and beverage space, is making some major moves to expand in Baltimore.
Early in 2021, East Coast Warehouse purchased Temp-Distribution of Maryland, whose offices are located on Hollins Ferry Road — conveniently close to I-95. Making the deal even more advantageous was the fact that East Coast Warehouse already had a relationship with Temp-Distribution, which had been part of the company’s delivery network.
The acquisition “was a chance to dip our toe into the Baltimore marketplace,” said Kevin Daly, Chief Commercial Officer. “We were extremely excited about the opportunity because Baltimore is one of the fastest-growing ports here on the East Coast. There’s a lot of great potential for future development.”
Now, in 2022, East Coast Warehouse’s initial foray into Baltimore is growing into a major expansion. East Coast Warehouse was recently awarded a contract to become a comprehensive container examination station (CES) for U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP). The company has extensive experience with this kind of work, having performed it in New Jersey for almost 20 years.
To support the contract and other Baltimore-based services, the company is building a new, 275,000-square-foot facility that will be part of Tradepoint Atlantic’s global logistics hub. About 50% of the space will be used to accommodate East Coast Warehouse’s work for CBP.
Currently, East Coast Warehouse employs a workforce of approximately 27 people in Baltimore. “We expect to double that number of employees in the next six months,” Daly said. “This new building will likely be the first of many that we put up down there.”
As of mid-January, construction on the Tradepoint facility was set to begin within days, with operations expected to start July 1.
“We welcome this second East Coast Warehouse facility to the Port of Baltimore,” said Maryland Port Administration Executive Director William P. Doyle. “Big things are happening in and around Baltimore and Tradepoint Atlantic is a huge part of it. Bringing in one of the leading temperature-controlled food and beverage logistics providers with their newest warehouse/distribution center will further add to our refrigerated cargo capabilities. More distribution centers mean more ships, more commerce, and more jobs.”
Finding New Ways to Serve Customers
East Coast Warehouse dates back to 1954 — a successful track record that Daly attributes in large part to the company’s core values.
“Our first value is safety. We are in the logistics business, so there are a lot of hurdles that our people face every day. It’s our top priority to ensure that those employees who come into work in the morning get home safely every night to their families,” he said.
Another core value is recognition and development for employees. “We want to do anything possible to keep the people that we have and develop them into future supervisors, managers and leaders in the organization, especially as we take on this expansion effort,” Daly said. East Coast Warehouse’s track record on employee retention speaks for itself: the average employee tenure is nearly 20 years.
The company also places great importance on providing best-in-class customer service. Like every other business in the logistics space, East Coast Warehouse has been severely tested by supply-chain challenges during the COVID pandemic. But those challenges also provided an opportunity to step up for customers in new ways, Daly said.
For example, East Coast Warehouse provides container drayage services in New Jersey, and a shortage of chassis to transport containers has been stretching its usually more than adequate storage space to the breaking point.
“We had to look outside our four walls and develop additional strategic partnerships with people that you might consider to be competitors of ours, just in the spirit of trying to provide solutions for our customers,” Daly said. “This allowed us to move almost 800 containers that we probably would not have been able to because of the lack of chassis and equipment here.”
Locations: Elizabeth, NJ; Jersey City, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Baltimore, MD
CEO: Jamie Overley