New Haven Ups the Ante on Logistics

July 8, 2009
New Haven, CT took a step towards becoming a distribution center for domestic and global logistics.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and New Haven, CT Mayor John DeStefano used the opening of a major New Haven warehouse, as well as the announcement of a joint venture between a New Haven logistics company and a Italian logistics company, to explore initiatives to develop New Haven as a major Northeast distribution center, both domestically and internationally. Their comments came at the July 1st opening of the New Haven-based Global Express’s 110,000 sq ft refrigerated warehouse near that city’s port.

Global Express, which provides transportation and warehousing services nationally and in the northeast, also announced that it would explore with Castanini, a Genoa, Italy-based freight forwarder, and its logistics partner, Transitalia, market channels in the US and Italy. The former moves goods by sea, air and road and specializes in customs clearance for its clients; while the latter, with a fresh fruit terminal and general cargo and container yards, also provides international relocation services.

According to Marco Rumbin, president of Global Express, the opening of the warehouse is part of a growth strategy that will create more logistics and distribution partnerships for companies seeking new distribution networks in the northeast as well as the chance to develop markets in Italy.

“The joint venture is a natural extension of each company’s sweet spot,” said Rumbin. “They have products that they are looking to develop new markets in the US and we have clients whose products can be exported to Italy.”

Rumbin said that some of the products under consideration are organic foods and US military base supplies. “We are willing to offer our services to establish and open a new route between New Haven and Genoa,” said Domenico Piccolo, director of marketing at Castanini.

The more complicated aspects of the intended alliance include establishing a bilateral pilot program with Homeland Security and Italian port authorities for limited pre-ship container security clearance by Castanini on one end and Maritime International on the other. “We have equipment that can guarantee 100% that the containers are harmless,” thus speeding clearance through customs, Piccolo said.

US Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-3), who met with officials to hear their pitch, said: “His business venture has all the makings of an opportunity to spur economic growth in New Haven.” How the federal government would get involved however, she wasn’t certain. DeLauro did say she is working on a bill that would establish an infrastructure development bank for long-term economic recovery, part of which would help improve port facilities.

Michael Piscitelli, the city’s transportation czar, said Global Express’ refrigerated warehouse brings “another diverse asset” to the port area. “We’re looking at logistical relationships and how it all fits together,” he said. After tripling its business in three years, Global Express is looking to expand its reach overseas and “enhance New Haven as a strategic distribution center,” said Marco Rumbin, its president.

Opened as a small trucking company, Rumbin said the firm has recently hired some eight additional workers to load and unload 20 to 30 trucks a day for its 30 to 40 clients spread across the country. The warehouse, which is owned by Maritime International, is part of a network of facilities totaling 6 million sq. ft. in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Delaware.

Congresswoman DeLauro and Mayor DeStefano met with executives from Global Express, including Dave Coblentz, VP of Business Development, Maritime International’s COO Tim Ray and Piccolo of Castanini to discuss initiatives that can help promote the joint venture as well as other initiatives such a creating a Green Zone for the Port. DeStefano said 80% of material moving through the port now is liquid cargo with only two of the 10 private port operators there handling dry cargo, which has been losing business. “We want to focus on increasing dry cargo activity,” he said, “by looking to logistics and warehousing companies to bring in commerce.”

According to DeStefano, the city is setting up a committee to look at the possibility of also exporting and importing “green” technology, such as solar panels, wind turbines and bio-diesel plant components.

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