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Jax Daily Record Friday, May 27, 202205:00 AM EST

Trailer Bridge: Riding the logistics wave

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The company plans to more than double the size of its Jacksonville office.

Jacksonville-based Trailer Bridge Inc., expecting to surpass $350 million in revenue this year, is moving its logistics office within the city to accommodate growth.

The shipping and logistics company sells ocean, truckload, intermodal, expedited, specialized cargo, vehicles, warehousing and transloading services.

Trailer Bridge CEO Mitch Luciano

Trailer Bridge CEO Mitch Luciano said the company needs to double the size of that logistics office from its current 45 employees, including some corporate staff, to almost 100.

“The whole logistics piece has grown tremendously the last six to nine months,” Luciano said.

“The organic growth we’ve seen is really our way of providing a service to shippers who need a partner that has the expertise to navigate today’s supply chain challenges.”

Malcom McLean founded Trailer Bridge in 1991 to begin ocean shipping with 53-foot containers, which shippers began using in the 1990s to transition from different modes of transportation. They transitioned from 40-foot and 45-foot boxes.

The containers were shipped by barge between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico. 

Containers on Trailer Bridge’s roll-on/roll-off barges remain on their chassis. They are driven on and off the barge.

Trailer Bridge has expanded into a global transportation company with more ocean routes, domestic transportation and new international and government divisions.

The company says it offers ocean shipping and freight forwarding by air, rail and land. That includes warehousing and distribution services; customs clearance; and other services.

The Trailer Bridge headquarters at 10405 Berlin Road in North Jacksonville near the Jacksonville Port Authority’s Blount Island Marine Terminal and off Interstate 295.

Trailer Bridge bills itself as a one-stop solution for customers in freight planning. It has grown into a full-service brokerage and logistics provider moving goods across North America. 

Its ocean business is barge service to the Caribbean. Its government business manages freight movements connected with the military.

Its international business handles freight movement globally.

Logistics is the freight brokerage that handles loads moving landside throughout the U.S.

Trailer Bridge has three offices in Jacksonville.

Its headquarters are at 10405 New Berlin Road in North Jacksonville near the Jacksonville Port Authority’s Blount Island Marine Terminal and off Interstate 295.

It also has a port office at Blount Island.

It will move its logistics office from 5011 Gate Parkway in JTB Center about 2 miles north to 4600 Touchton Road E., Building 200, in Deerwood North.

The size more than doubles from 6,517 square feet to 15,000 square feet.

Tenant Contractors Inc. is the contractor for the estimated $639,420 construction project that Luciano expects will be completed in the fall.

He said the two buildings are owned by the same landlord, which eases the transition. The remaining years on the current lease will be rolled into the new one.

Luciano said that 2020, when the pandemic began, was “an OK year,” with three months of little or no business from March to May.

“Then it started coming back,” he said.

“2021 was very good. 2022 has been phenomenal.”

Luciano said Trailer Bridge did not lay off a single employee. 

“We took a lot of risks,” he said, and they were successful. 

The 2021 revenue of $240 million is on track to grow by almost 46% this year, primarily driven by the logistics division.

“We made an investment in our logistics side. We just said, we are going to invest money and we did.”

Luciano said investment in the offices, now at 15, paid off.

“They are all company stores but we like to hire people that want to build a business,” he said.

“They are entrepreneurs themselves and they want to grow.”

The Trailer Bridge brokerage office. The company offers ocean shipping and freight forwarding by air, rail and land. That includes warehousing and distribution services; customs clearance; and other services.

It has offices in Jacksonville; Atlanta; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Los Angeles; Nashville, Tennessee; Overland Park, Kansas; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Juan, Puerto Rico; the Dominican Republic; and two in Mexico.

Jacksonville’s geography includes proximity to the port and its deepened harbor; the interstate system; and rail services.

Luciano said Trailer Bridge’s 260 employees are split between Jacksonville and the other offices.

Trailer Bridge focuses on large and small customers, he said. Larger clients include Walmart. The Home Depot, Ford, US Foods, Rooms To Go and others. 

Because of its services, “there is no limit to what we do,” he said.

He said consumer demand drives the business, including food, medical supplies, household goods and vehicles.

Luciano, 50, joined Trailer Bridge in November 2012 as vice president of logistics. He became CEO in 2015.

He arrived after Trailer Bridge emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in March 2012.

The company marked 30 years of business in 2021.

That year, it added the government and international divisions.

Trailer Bridge said the year also brought rapid growth for its Puerto Rican and Dominican ocean service, plus the expansion of its team by more than 68%, primarily on the logistics side.

Trailer Bridge owns more than 3,100 shipping containers, 2,500 chassis and works with 70 truck-owner operators. Also, 38,000 partner carriers deliver freight across the country.

Luciano said he looks forward to the next three to five years.

“People are going to start to know who Trailer Bridge is,” he said.

“It’s going to be a name that people truly know.”

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