Takeaways from COVID-19

It’s been three years since the COVID-19 pandemic nearly brought the world to a standstill…

Horizon Air Freight and Swift Marine Merge, Creating a Marine Logistics Powerhouse

Together as One, Industry Leaders Will Extend Global Reach, Offer Unmatched Quality in Marine Logistics and Port Agency Service

Horizon Air Freight and Swift Marine announced today that they have entered a strategic business partnership and will unite as a single company, Horizon Group.  The new joint company will now offer a unique combination of marine logistics and port agency services in North America, South America, Asia, and Europe.

“Two great companies have become one for the betterment of our clients,” said Steve Leondis, CEO of Horizon Group. “Together, Horizon and Swift can offer the next level in service through an even larger, stronger network for our customers.”

“Together, Horizon and Swift can provide unmatched value for our customers,” said Nico Koumbatis, CEO of Swift Marine. “Our shared mission is to deliver everything they need to their ports of call while also managing the logistics along the way.”

The combined services following the partnership include:

  • Best in class customer experience from Port agency to logistics
  • Streamlined data communication and collaboration with all parties along the supply chain
  • High tech marine solutions and in-depth global knowledge of custom procedures arranging the last mile from port to vessel worldwide
  • White-glove port call service with talent on board to ensure customer success
  • Consolidation and freight forwarding of spares, supplies, and equipment from any vendor worldwide
  • Port call agency services at more than 100 served ports in the Americas
  • Last mile services for more than 500 ports worldwide with an over 99% Global On Time Delivery Rate
  • Spares and supplies consolidation at Horizon Group’s 30+ global warehouses
  • Import and export documentation services
  • Customs pre-clearance for all inbound air and ocean shipments
  • Last-mile delivery services at any port of call

Horizon is a platform investment of ICV Partners, LLC.  Zeena Rao, a Managing Director of ICV Partners, said that Horizon and Swift make a formidable team. “It’s rare to find two companies with such consistent missions, visions, and values that put the customer first.  The combination of Horizon and Swift provides customers with best-in-class service and capabilities worldwide.”

Alongside Horizon’s acquisition with Transmarine Navigation and Delver Agents, the Horizon–Swift partnership solidifies the Horizon Group’s strength in Asia, Europe, and the Americas—underscoring their unique position as a one-stop solution for clients everywhere.

Existing customers of Horizon and Swift Marine can take advantage of the newly integrated services immediately by reaching out to their current account representatives. New customers can contact Horizon through haf.com or by calling 800-221-6028.

About Horizon Group

Horizon Group keeps fleets shipshape and on schedule with global marine logistics by air, land, and sea. Critical marine spares, supplies, and equipment from any vendor worldwide: consolidated, expedited, delivered door to deck. Whatever you need, wherever you need it, we’ll get it there on time and on budget. With more than 50 years of experience, we keep more than 3,000 ships safe, able, and sailing.

About Swift Marine

Swift Marine Group is a dynamic organization with extensive experience in the complex world of marine logistics and forwarding. Leveraging its prowess as a frontrunner in IT innovation, Swift acts as a consolidated control tower for its large and diversified customer portfolio to streamline data communication and collaboration with all parties along the supply chain.

About ICV Partners

Founded in 1999, ICV Partners is a private investment firm that supports management leaders of strong lower middle market companies in pursuing growth.  The principals of ICV have crafted a strong track record of helping companies expand their footprint and improve performance over the long term.  Additional information is available at www.icvpartners.com.

Solomon Islands Success Story

What were you doing Friday, December 9, 2022?
Signing a few last holiday cards…

Horizon Air Freight Announces Recent Acquisition of Transmarine Navigation Corporation

Q4 2022 Purchase Further Establishes Horizon as Leading International Port Agency and Comprehensive Marine Logistics Company

Horizon Air Freight announced today its recent acquisition of Transmarine Navigation Corporation, further establishing its leadership positions as an international port agency and customer-first logistics solution for ship owners, operators, and charters, making ports of call in North and South America.

Horizon CEO Steve Leondis said the transaction was completed in Q4 2022.

“In the spirit of Horizon and Transmarine, we began our partnership with a focus on our customers and the quality of our services,” he said. “Now it is time to share the big news with the public. Our acquisition of Transmarine allows us to better coordinate critical services for our customers’ vessels calling North and South America. Together, we’ll get everything they need to their ports of call and manage all their in-port logistics too, all with our shared commitment to excellence in the service of our customers. It’s a simpler and more streamlined solution for our clients, all provided by two companies the industry has trusted for generations.”

The combined services after the acquisition include:

  • Best-in-class customer experience in agency for North and South America
  • Best-in-class door-to-deck marine logistics solutions globally
  • White-glove port call service with talent on board to ensure customer success
  • Freight forwarding of spares, supplies, and equipment from any vendor worldwide
  • Port call agency services at Transmarine’s 12 served ports along the Gulf Coast, West Coast, Hawaii, and Argentina
  • Spares and supplies consolidation at Horizon’s 30 global warehouses
  • Import and export documentation services
  • Last-mile delivery services at any port of call

Transmarine recently announced that Leslie Clements was stepping into the role of Managing Director, a position previously held by Jim Papp, who is assuming the role of Head of Strategic Ventures. Papp was instrumental in developing the partnership with Horizon.

“After nearly 40 years at the company, I can confidently say that there has never been a more exciting time to be a part of Transmarine,” Papp said. “A new ownership structure, combined with a great new leader in Leslie, will ensure that our best days are upon us.”

“It’s an honor to continue Transmarine and Horizon’s great work,” Clements said. “The new visionary leadership team, alongside the legacy of producing results for our clients, is the perfect combination.”

Existing customers of Horizon and Transmarine can take advantage of the newly integrated services immediately by reaching out to their current account representatives. New customers can contact Horizon through haf.com or by calling 800-221-6028.

About Horizon Air Freight 

Horizon Air Freight keeps fleets shipshape and on schedule with global marine logistics by air, land, and sea. Critical marine spares, supplies, and equipment from any vendor worldwide: consolidated, expedited, delivered door to deck. Whatever you need, wherever you need it, we’ll get it there on time and on budget. With more than 50 years of experience, we keep more than 3,000 ships safe, able, and sailing. To learn more about how Horizon and Transmarine’s combined services can help your fleet, call 800-221-6028 or visit haf.com.

About Transmarine

Founded in 1938, Transmarine is a leading U.S. tramp ship agency, headquartered in Long Beach, California, and with offices in a dozen port cities along the Gulf Coast, West Coast, and Hawaii. The most prestigious firms in the shipping industry trust Transmarine to manage their port call operations with safety and efficiency. To learn more visit www.transmarine.com.

True Heroes Do More Than Save the Day: How To Build an Epic Relationship with a Marine Logistics Partner

“During a shipping emergency, a freight forwarder frequently comes out looking like a real hero,” says Josh Roman, Chief Commercial Officer at Horizon Air Freight. “You put on your cape, move faster than a speeding bullet, leap over a few tall obstacles, and do what it takes to save the day.”

When such predicaments arise (and are then solved), the victories may be temporarily gratifying, but they can get expensive, to say the least. While a successful relationship with a marine logistics partner should certainly include the ability to handle emergencies, there’s so much more upon which a sustainable partnership is based.

“What happens every day, from the first mile to the last mile, is where the value is really delivered,” Roman explains. “Consider what’s being lost long-term when you’re jumping from crisis to crisis with different freight forwarders. Or even sticking with the same one in a never ending cycle of barely averted catastrophe, with no time to focus on sustainable success.”

When crucial minutes and tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line, you need someone who anticipates every detail and ensures it’s buttoned up before it becomes an emergency — no matter where you’re shipping, what you’re shipping, or how it has to get there. You need a stable partner who really knows not only your company, but the complexities of each shipment, the landscape of where it’s going, and the intricacies of getting it there quickly, safely, and cost-effectively.

“To gain all of the benefits long-term,” Roman insists, “Superman emergencies can’t be the only basis of your partnership. You need someone who can be your Clark Kent, too.”

So how do you cultivate a heroic relationship with a freight forwarding partner, beyond the thrill of crisis? In very similar ways you would for any fulfilling, long-term partnership.

Know Yourself and What You Need

In order to save yourself time, money, and potential heartache, first you need to know what you’re looking for. Carve out time to consider all your logistics needs, including locations, quality control, cost efficiencies, and even cultural or bureaucratic demands. Examine the full value a partner could provide in each department, beyond the shiny facet that seems to be demanding attention now.

Once you’ve looked closely at the ways in which a forwarder could add value to your company, set these expectations for yourself and evaluate your potential suitors to see what they can offer. Clearly understanding what you need most, and what they are able to give, will shape your entire partnership.

Communicate with Clarity — and Frequency

When you’ve defined what you’re looking for, communicate that clearly, and often. This includes what you’re seeking in the first interaction together.

“When you’re going out with someone,” Roman illustrates, “do you just say, ‘I’ll pick you up at 7:00,’ and go? Or is it better to define what you’ll both be doing? ‘Meet for coffee’ for example, is a lot different than ‘take in the symphony,’ or ‘split the bill at this Michelin restaurant.’” Defining how you will make your first interaction will set the table for you both, and will help your new logistics partner understand exactly how they can help you.

Then, during this initial “date” conversation (and even while setting it up), communicate clearly what will work best for you and your company long-term. Make sure your new partner agrees to and can fulfill these expectations. “Failure to communicate is often a failure,” Roman asserts. “Even and especially from the beginning.”

Remember too that good communication goes both ways. Be ready to share — and receive — feedback along the way. Plan for regular check-ins, not just during the first interaction but throughout your contract together. During these appointments, discuss not only where you succeeded and where improvements can be made, but key upcoming items including new company priorities, global trends, or staff changes.

The more you and your marine logistics partner can communicate with mutual honesty and respect, the longer-lasting the rewards of your partnership will be.

It’s Okay to Go Slow

Not ready for a full-scale commitment just yet? Find a partner who can meet a subset of your requests before going all-in. “At Horizon, we can handle shipments in say Japan or Europe first,” Roman recommends, “and then expand to another area, and another, until we’re handling all your shipments globally.”

By taking a phased approach, you can achieve good things in one area while working out any kinks. With continued communication along the way, before long you’ll be ready to conquer the world.

If you’re interested in starting a new relationship or expanding your current one with Horizon, contact us today to set up a conversation. We’ll take the time to learn the intricacies of what you need — and make recommendations based on what we hear from you — to guarantee your critical marine spares, supplies, and equipment are delivered from any vendor worldwide, wherever you need it, whenever you need it, on time and on budget.

4 Ways to Reduce Marine Logistics Costs in 2023

The global maritime supply chain has, to put it mildly, been tossed about through three turbulent years as the world was swept by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the immediate aftermath of the initial coronavirus outbreak, whole nations closed their ports and borders, and entire fleets of planes were grounded. Then, as scientists and public health officials learned more about how to prevent, diagnose, and treat COVID-19 infection, demand skyrocketed for shipping of hand sanitizer, masks, and other personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as for ventilators for overrun hospital emergency departments. In the months and years that followed, those able to work from home ordered furniture, equipment, and supplies to fit out their home offices and adjust to homebound family life.

While all this new demand led to record gross revenues for shipping companies, it also dramatically increased complexity and operating costs. In the nearly three years that have followed, labor shortages and quarantines caused historic delays at ports, commercial flights dropped more than 70%, and exacerbated trade imbalances led to massive shortages of containers in key manufacturing regions of the world. All of this impeded and slowed delivery of critical marine spares, equipment, and supplies, while driving up air and sea freight rates astronomically.

Together, we found ways to get you what you needed to keep your fleets safe, able, and sailing, though we know those skyrocketing freight rates have strained your budgets. We did whatever it took to keep your deliveries 99% on time without busting your budget, and you stuck by us through the hard times.

Ocean and Air Freight Rates (and Transit Times) Set to Decline

As we enter 2023, it seems that smoother sailing for procurement departments is at last just over the horizon, with both rates and delays now declining:

Granted, this all comes with expectations that shipping revenue will decline in 2023, but so too should procurement costs. With the historic demand of the past few years subsiding, procurement departments will be under heightened pressure to seize all opportunities to reduce logistics costs in order to maintain healthy profit margins.

What You Can Do to Reduce Your Marine Logistics Costs

Fortunately, we expect 2023 to mark a return to more predictable procurement planning: an opportunity for you to do what you do best to control costs while keeping your fleet shipshape and sailing. Following are some key ways you can reduce costs in the year ahead.

Reap the Rewards of Planning

The chaos of the COVID era sometimes punished planning ahead. Rates, fuel prices, schedules, demand, delays, and everything else were in constant flux to a degree our industry has never seen before. But we expect 2023 to be a return to relative stability in the freight environment.

Planning ahead will once again be reliably rewarded. So map out in advance what you’ll need, where you’ll need it, and when you’ll need it there. Place your orders with plenty of lead time, confident once again that the entire industry won’t turn upside down before delivery.

Plan Backward from Year End

While the future is never certain, we’re returning to an environment in which you can usefully scope out the year ahead rather than reacting to each day’s new crisis. What planned maintenance will your ships need and when? When will major port calls be near key supply hubs? What other important milestones can you anticipate for your ships over the next year?

Plan out the foreseeable needs you’ll have through year’s end, then work back from there. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress and save on shipping costs too.

Revisit Contract Service Agreements

With spikes in fuel costs, many of your contract service agreements have been more expensive than you probably anticipated when signing. Higher fuel costs understandably led to higher shipping costs, but fuel prices have lately been leveling off and declining. Your shipping costs should too.

Carefully review all your contract service agreements that have fuel surcharge provisions or fuel-based pricing. Make sure you’re getting the shipping cost reductions that lower fuel prices allow.

Communicate Your Preferred Supply Ports and Logistics Hubs

Consolidation is one of the more effective ways we can control your costs. Horizon has 30 warehouses located near key suppliers and ports around the world. And we can save you more if we know more… and if your team knows more too.

Communicate your preferred supply ports and logistics hubs to us, to your team, and to all on-board staff who will submit purchase orders. That will allow us to better consolidate your orders and deliver them efficiently to your ships at planned ports of call.

Whether through turbulent seas or in times of smooth sailing, Horizon is here to help you optimize your budget. Whether for scheduled maintenance or an emergency need, we’ll get you whatever you need, wherever and whenever you need it to keep your ships safe, able, and sailing. Call us at +1 800-221-6028 or contact us online anytime, and tell us how we can help.

New Horizons: Horizon Air Freight Celebrates Young Talent

For over 50 years, Horizon Air Freight has kept the world’s fleets shipshape…

“A Mini United Nations”: An Interview with Steve Leondis Regarding Diversity at Horizon Air Freight

Over the last couple of years, Horizon Air Freight has experienced remarkable growth. During this period of expansion, we’ve added many staff members, and combined forces with powerful partners to elevate our global reach.

During a routine walk around the office recently, CEO Steve Leondis found himself noticing that this company growth has had multiple positive impacts. And a big one included the breadth of diversity among the staff.

“Even from the beginning,” he remarks, “Horizon has been multicultural. We are, after all, a global organization, founded by my father who was a Greek immigrant to the United States. But now I can really see that, as much as we serve global companies around the world, our staff members reflect that too.”

The team at Horizon has long included men and women from diverse backgrounds. But Leondis was struck by the sheer number of nationalities represented to date. Currently, the combined nationalities represented across Horizon’s New York, Miami, Seattle, Houston, and Argentina offices include:

  • Argentinian
  • Bangladeshian
  • Bulgarian
  • Chinese
  • Ecuadorian
  • Filipino
  • German
  • Greek
  • Guyanese
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Jamaican
  • Puerto Rican
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Vietnamese

Leondis attributes this breadth of representation to a few simple things.

Common Respect & A Common Cause

“Historically the mindset has always been to hire for the job,” Leondis insists. “I learned that from my father. Whoever fit the job description was hired, period. That’s always how we’ve looked at things. Just hire for the job. So that’s in our backbone, but in the last year or so the applicants are even more diverse than before. It’s not just individuals from New York anymore, or even people from the logistics space. And I love this.”

Even when hiring from a more diverse pool, however, the common goal at Horizon has continued to remain the same.

“Our common goal is always to serve the customer,” Leondis states. “Recently we went through a DE&I exercise involving individual and team interviews over a couple of months. And at the conclusion, serving our customers came through loud and clear as everyone’s primary goal. That dedication is what unites every single person who works here. And I think that comes through to our clients, as well.”

Expressing mutual care and respect for one another has been another key element to the success of Horizon’s diversity.

“Historically we’ve been available for all of our employees 24/7. For a company of our size, that is an outlier,” Leondis admits, “but that’s who we are. My office door is open for anyone at any time, and my phone is available. Given the pressure and busy-ness we experience, we always take time to unite people with simple, but personal, things. We celebrate everyone’s birthday with cake and coffee, for example. We recognize everyone from A to Z.”

Beyond providing a pleasant, empathic workplace and competitive compensation, Leondis also believes “a big differentiator is that we treat customers and employees as individuals. Whether it’s a warehouseman, truck driver, or senior salesperson — everyone deserves the same respect. That’s how we’ve developed as a company, and that’s what we want to keep as we grow.”

The Benefits of a Blended Workforce

“I’m at the office very early each morning,” Leondis says, “so I see everyone come in. When I walk into the kitchen to have coffee, I see a very diverse group sitting and enjoying the start of their morning together. But beyond this friendliness, teamwork is required to meet the daily challenges. These diverse personalities all come together to create the best solutions.”

Combining diverse resources across the team to solve problems makes the company stronger, Leondis insists. But a multicultural workforce can also strengthen relationships with clients.

Leondis intends to build into that strength even more as the company continues to grow internationally. “As our services become more global, we may utilize even more individuals familiar with different languages and cultures to help grow our business in those areas, or even help us get new business in other locations.”

Thinking Like a Businessperson

Early clients of Horizon Air Freight were largely from Greece — homeland of founder Anthony Leondis. As the business grew to include more U.S. shipping companies, the elder Leondis would occasionally send another representative instead of himself. “He had a heavy Greek accent,” Steve Leondis explains, “and he didn’t think a Greek immigrant would serve well to pitch for the business. I don’t have that same feeling he did, but it has given me an understanding of moving between two worlds. And the biggest thing this larger worldview has helped me with as a CEO is to always put yourself in someone else’s shoes.”

For Leondis, this means when visiting a client in Germany for example, to consider their needs, demands, and expectations. And keep an open mind as to how they may be viewing you and your own culture, as well.

“In these situations,” Leondis asserts, “I don’t think of myself as an American. Instead I think of myself as a businessman, and try to relate to my customers that way.”

Leondis encourages this macro-level thinking for everyone at Horizon, regardless of their position or background. And he hopes that continued connection and collaboration will empower everyone to conduct their work similarly.

How else can Horizon benefit from and celebrate this remarkable diversity in the future? There are a multitude of ways. “For one,” Leondis says happily, “I think we should have a cultural food day where everyone brings something to share from their homeland.”

Given Horizon’s diverse team and global reach, that will make for quite a feast.

Ever-Expanding Horizons

Horizon and Delver Agents Partner to Serve Arctic, Alaskan, and Antarctic Expeditions

For 15 years, Delver Agents has been the premier Ushuaia-based port agency and supplier supporting Antarctic expeditions from Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. Antarctic operators from cruise lines and fishing fleets including NASA and Metallica trust Delver for ship services, freight forwarding, and import and export services. From parkas and pistons to mobile labs and submarines, they’ve always found a way to get you whatever you need, wherever you need it, from ports throughout the Southern Cone.

Now joining forces, Horizon and Delver Agents have the global reach to serve all your Arctic, Alaskan, and Antarctic expeditions. With our combined logistics supply chains, we provide consolidated door-to-deck delivery of marine spares, hotel supplies, and food and beverages from vendors anywhere in the world.

Together, Delver Agents and Horizon offer you an integrated, end-to-end solution that streamlines your procurement operations while giving you greater transparency, security, reliability, and control of all your purchase orders.

Our teams provide:

  • Personalized port services for anything and everything your expeditions need.
  • Consolidation of globally-sourced spares at Horizon’s 30+ international warehouses.
  • Consolidation of food, beverages, and hotel supplies in LA, Miami and Europe for Antarctic, Arctic, and Alaskan expeditions.
  • Expedited import/export and customs clearance to and from South American markets and worldwide.
  • Real-time tracking of all your purchase orders through Horizon WorldTrack.
  • 24/7 support by Delver’s port agents and Horizon’s routing specialists.

How can the combined forces of Horizon and Delver support your Arctic, Antarctic, or Alaskan expedition? Whatever you need, wherever you need it, we’ll get the job done.

Contact us today.

Horizon Air Freight Announces WorldTrack 2.0

Keep your fleet shipshape and sailing with instant information and intuitive insights.

Announcing the launch of Horizon WorldTrack 2.0, a major upgrade to the global marine logistics portal you already rely on to track your fleet’s supply chain and optimize your budget.

For nearly two years, Horizon’s business strategists and software development team collaborated with our customers to reconceive and redesign WorldTrack around the challenges, opportunities, and technical capabilities of today’s most forward-thinking, data-driven shipping companies. We then redeveloped WorldTrack from the ground up for robust performance, enhanced security, and lightning fast response.

Highlights of WorldTrack 2.0

  • Intuitive experience for easy access to the information you need.
  • Customizable interface adapts to each individual’s priorities and workflow.
  • Real-time tracking for all shipments worldwide.
  • Data visualizations reveal patterns and trends at a glance.
  • Intelligent analytics to discover valuable insights hidden in your historical data.
  • Powerful search features to quickly find exactly the information you need.
  • Saved queries for instant access to frequently needed information.
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) integration with all marine procurement systems.
  • Exportable data, charts, and forms for reports, further analysis, and imports into your own IT infrastructure.
  • Enhanced security and access control to give each user and role only the permissions they need.

“The UI/UX is fully revamped, functionality is much more intuitive, features are more interactive, and the overall experience is more tailored to each individual user.” — Sheryl Ann Crespo, Director of Engineering and Technology

WorldTrack 2.0 gives your marine purchasing and technical departments  exactly the information and insights you need, whenever you need them, however they’ll be most helpful to you. So you can keep your fleet on schedule while optimizing your budget.

How Can WorldTrack Do More for You?

We built WorldTrack 2.0 on a rock-solid foundation of cloud-native infrastructure. It’s scalable, extensible, and customizable to serve your evolving needs for transparency, analysis, and integration. Our strategists and developers are eager to work with you. How can WorldTrack 2.0 better serve your fleet’s needs?

“We’ve always believed that you need data to drive decision making in terms of value, efficiency, optimization, and planning.” — Alex Leondis, Business Insights and Data Analytics Manager

WorldTrack 2.0 is now live and available through the website portal link. During the transition to WorldTrack 2.0, you will still have access to the classic WorldTrack portal through a link on the new portal’s home page.