Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Broomall firm adds Caribbean, US warehouses

Leading Edge Logistics buys C&F of Puerto Rico

Broomall firm adds Caribbean, US warehouses


Leading Edge Logistics, a Broomall-based company that tells shippers it can find cheaper, faster cargo haulers between ports, truck terminals and airports, says it has purchased C&F Logistics, San Juan, Puerto Rico, from father-and-son owners Jose' and Jose' Andres del Cueto, for an undisclosed sum. 

The move unites Leading Edge, which employs more than 80 people and helps move cargo worth over $100 million a year from offices in East and West Coast U.S. ports and Mexico, with C&F's 55-person business. C&F will be combined with Leading Edge's Puerto Rico division, LEL Caribe, which also serves the Dominican Republic and Central America.

Leading Edge does data analysis for middle-market manufacturing and distribution companies, mostly in North America. "We extract up to a years’ worth of shipment history and put it through a sophisticated modeling program," yielding a "savings proposal" based on cheaper routes and carriers, says founder and chief executive Thomas Torcomian." Client logistics are handled by Leading Edge managers in 14 North American cities. 

A sampling of clients includes Continental Airlines, Cinnaminson-based mop-maker Quickie Manufacturing, plastics-maker ITW, and a U.S. supplier for Toyota.

Torcomian learned the importance of shipping logistics in his previous company, Magnavan Systems of Norristown. Magnavan designed and had contractors build an articulated semi-trailer used by BMW to ship new autos on the highways, including curtain protection from stones and dings. "You still see them on the road," along with other trailers whose design Torcomian says was copied from his.

Started in 1988, the company had a backlog of orders but shut in 1994, he says, because it lacked financing for expansion. "I should have self-manufactured. Instead other guys picked up the design."

What did he learn from building trucks that he uses in planning shipments? "The one thing the trucking business taught me, I was wroking for my trucks, not my customers. You had to feed that monster. But I built a lot of relationships" that came in useful for Leading Edge, along with compensation based, not on volume fees, but on a cut of the firm's proven savings for clients: "There aren't a lot of other performance-based companies in this business - I can't think of any. We show you how to reduce costs year on year." 

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PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

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Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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