Don’t tell the kids, but it takes more than elves to get all their holiday wishes under the tree by Christmas morning.
Just ask Savannah River Logistics’ principals Larry Hearn and Ryan Faulk.
The partners, both Savannah natives, opened their newest warehouse facility just in time for the holiday rush this year and have been working feverishly ever since, helping to make sure every item that comes in to them through Savannah’s busy port ends up where it needs to be on Christmas morning.
Major retailers who depend on Savannah River Logistics and its 60 employees include Big Lots, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet.
SRL’s trucks go from the company’s 153,000-square-foot facility to the Georgia Ports, picking up containers either from the container yard or directly from the ships, bringing them back to the warehouse, Faulk said.
“We unload those containers, check them in for distribution and, as we have orders, we ship them out,” he said. “In some cases, we cross-dock them – they come directly out of one container into other containers and are shipped out the same day.
“We also do a lot of floor loading, especially during the holiday season.”
That’s when boxes come off a truck individually and must be sorted, palletized and shrink-wrapped before they are stored or shipped out.
Not many logistics companies do floor loading because it’s so labor-intense, but Hearn and Faulk say their employees are the best in the business at getting the job done efficiently.
The company opened its new, state-of-the-art warehouse in August, just in time for the holiday rush. And, while the cavernous interior may have looked a lot like Santa’s workshop recently, that’s only a fraction of what the company handles.
“I like to say we’re a public warehouse in the sense that we can take most anything,” Hearn said. “In addition to merchandise for retail, we do commodities such as raw rubber, steel coils and cotton. We are also certified to handle hazardous materials.
“It all depends on the customers’ needs. Our job is to get the freight delivered as quickly and safely as possible.”
It’s this diversification that has allowed the business, begun in 2009, to grow. In fact, the partners already have another building in the permitting process, this one 143,000 square feet.
“Our goal is to eventually have a half-million square feet,” Faulk said. “We also want to grow our trucking fleet to around 50 by adding more owner-operators.”
The company currently has 22 trucks, most of which they own, Hearn said.
“We also own our own chassis — which are new, state-of-the art — and we keep them in excellent working order. In an industry as equipment-driven as this one, it’s an important aspect of our reliability.”
That’s pretty impressive for a company that started eight years ago with a 5,000-square-foot warehouse, two trucks and four employees.
While it wasn’t Hearn’s first rodeo — he was a partner at Port City Logistics before retiring a dozen years ago — Faulk was relatively new to the industry.
“When Larry and I first talked, he said he was just starting the business and couldn’t afford to pay me full time yet,” Faulk said. “I didn’t care. I saw the opportunity to learn from the ground up with someone who really knew what he was doing.”
For his part, Hearn says he got just what he was looking for in a partner — someone young, energetic, willing to work hard and learn the business.
“I’m not ready to retire again just yet,” he said. “But Ryan will definitely take over when I do.
“He’s earned that.”
Freelance business writer Mary Carr Mayle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following are the ships expected to call on Georgia Ports Authority’s Garden City and Ocean terminals this week. Schedules are supplied by GPA and are subject to change.
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