In Magazine Article

By Merrill Witty

Photograph by Kathy Bergren Smith

Digital edition

View this article in the July/August 2017 digital edition of our magazine.

Ernie Ferguson, Vice President of Sales at MTC Logistics, has been with the company for 15 years and is in charge of corporate sales and the company’s trucking division, MLogistics.

Founded in 1928 as Merchants Terminal Corporation, the company updated its brand to MTC Logistics in 2009.

“We had developed into a full-service third-party logistics provider,” Ferguson recalled, “and felt it was time to update our name and marketing to better represent our service offerings.” Noting that the firm has always been connected to the Port, he said, “Coinciding with the rebranding, we built Phase 1 of our flagship distribution center adjacent to the Seagirt Marine Terminal and expanded again in 2014.”

Demand for international cargo increased during the 2000s, so MTC hired Brooks Royster, former executive director of the Maryland Port Administration, to help expand its international presence. A new facility at the Port allowed the company to increase the marketing of temperature-controlled cargo with additional storage capacity.

Ernie Ferguson

Ernie Ferguson

“We try to maintain a diverse customer base, handling imported frozen and refrigerated seafood from China, Southeast Asia and South America; imported frozen vegetables and fruit from Europe and South America; imported juice concentrates from China, Argentina and Eastern Europe; and imported pork from Eastern Europe and Ireland,” Ferguson explained.

“Additionally, we support the poultry industry on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware by loading export containers to markets around the world, such as China, Vietnam, various African countries and the Middle East.

“We have invested heavily in technology and facility design as good stewards of the environment. Our facilities are designed with extra R-value insulation, motion sensors, LED lighting and sophisticated power-management software.”

A portion of MTC’s electrical usage at the Port is via a solar array attached to the roof of the distribution center. MTC even helps its customers reduce their carbon footprints through these initiatives and emphasizes the multivendor transportation consolidation program.

“With Baltimore being one of the few East Coast ports capable of handling the large Post-Panamax vessels, the increased numbers of containers on these vessels present challenges to the infrastructure,” Ferguson said. “Fortunately, Ports America Chesapeake is once again the most efficient terminal in the U.S., and they work well with our company to find synergies that benefit both us and, ultimately, our customers.”

In 2011, Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act, the first major Food and Drug Administration reform in more than 70 years. Final implementation for the transportation industry is expected in 2018. These food-safety regulations, aimed at preventing contamination, are causing concern among trucking companies that are already experiencing capacity issues. MTC is focused on helping customers find solutions to potential issues, and its multivendor consolidation program is one way to reduce the number of trucks needed in the supply chain.

“MTC Logistics is bullish about the future of Baltimore and the Port,” said Ferguson, citing the significant financial investment in the company’s new distribution center as testimony to its commitment to the Port of Baltimore. “Food safety and the care and custody of our customers’ products will always be our number-one focus. We were one of the first temperature-controlled logistics providers to have all of our distribution centers British Retail Consortium (BRC) certified for the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmark standard.

“GFSI is the standard for food safety accepted and promoted by many international retail companies, such as Wal-Mart and Ahold Delhaize. Helping to maintain a secure supply chain for our customers will continue to be important for us in the years to come.”