Story & Photography by Kathy Bergren Smith
Antoinette Dove’s journey to the corner office of Global Procurement and Logistics, the warehouse and trucking company she founded in 2016, is not the typical story of a person starting off in the warehouse business.
But then, Antoinette Dove is not a typical person.She is a woman who embraces a challenge even if it means risking everything to start a business from the ground up.
When a partner in her law firm asked her to help him purchase a tractor trailer in 2010, Dove, herself a lawyer, jumped in and researched trucks and wound up starting her own business buying and selling trucks. She left the law office and never looked back. After several years of shipping trucks through the Port of Baltimore, she decided that she was interested in starting her own trucking company within the Port.
“I started making calls and learning about the industry. This was in 2015, and the boom in container traffic was just starting,” Dove recalled. “The Maryland Port Administration team suggested that I consider adding warehousing to my business plan.”
So, in 2016, Dove moved into a 45,000-square-foot warehouse space in the Holabird Industrial Park with one part-time employee.
“It was quiet. Just me, waiting for the phone to ring!” Dove remembers.
She advertised online and approached other warehouses to offer space for their overflow. She recalls her first customer, a non-hazardous chemical supplier from Canada, who came to visit the space. “He looked around, it was empty, and he said, ‘It’s pretty quiet around here.’ I told him, ‘Just wait!’”
Today, the warehouse is full.
There are solar panels, biodegradable paper goods, lumber and wood products, the Canadian chemicals, apparel and all different dry goods being transloaded from containers to dry vans. A small toy company from South Africa uses Global as a “pick and pack” facility. They ship to Dove, who sends out individual orders for the company, becoming its only U.S. facility.
“Because we are small, we can personalize our services and offer a variety of services to help customers,” Dove said.
She has built a team around her who are fiercely loyal to her mission. The women who work with Dove are inspired by her leadership and focus.
Rachel Debonis, a college senior working at Global, said: “I am a business major, and it is amazing working here with Antoinette. She is such an inspiration; her leadership in a male-dominated industry gives me something to aspire to.”
“Our passion is our strength,” Dove said. “Everyone on the team is engaged. There is no disconnect between the office and the warehouse and trucks. The customer is at the forefront of all operations. We had to write our own handbook here. We are very creative and flexible, and it has really paid off.”
Global Procurement and Logistics now has eight full-time employees, two trucks and a fleet of owner-operators to call upon for drayage. The warehouse and trucking are up and running, and now Dove is turning her attention to the final logistics piece — ocean freight.
“We are working hard to keep abreast of the industry and meet the needs of our customers.” The package of services will be complete with the addition of the ocean freight piece, according to Dove.
“Our goal is to be an end-to-end logistics provider,” said Dove. “We currently are a nonvessel operator and freight forwarder. This is the piece we are focused on building now.”
In April, Global plans on moving to a new, larger warehouse even closer to Seagirt Marine Terminal. Already the closest bonded warehouse to the terminal, the new facility will bring more space and convenience to Dove’s customers.
For more information, visit globalprocurementandlogistics.com