How That New Brand of Hand Sanitizer Traveled to Your Hands

Walking down the cleaning products aisle of your local grocery store, or in the personal protective equipment (PPE) section of your pharmacy, you might have noticed some new arrivals these past few months: unfamiliar brands of hand sanitizer, disinfectant sprays and wipes, masks, gloves, face shields, and all the other products we need most to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Most of them traveled halfway around the world to get there, and Horizon Air Freight helped many of them make the trip.

In the initial weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, many shelves were emptied of all those cleaning products, personal protective equipment, and other critical supplies for protecting us from infectious diseases. The major manufacturers — Lysol, Clorox, Purell, and all the other household names — simply couldn’t keep up with the radically increased demand created by the pandemic. The problem was exacerbated by the impact of emergency border closings on the global supply chain, which grounded many planes and strained the capacity of the global commercial shipping fleet.

Much of the available supply was diverted to healthcare facilities. Consumers were left to make do with their existing supplies or homemade alternatives.

Increased Demand in Commercial Shipping Leads to a Broader Mission

Here at Horizon, our first direct experience of the increased demand came from our commercial shipping clients, who have all been placing large, urgent orders for supplies to keep their crews safe. As we discussed in a recent post about the cruise ship industry, we even shipped thousands of pounds of PPE to a shipyard to protect the workers renovating a cruise ship in dry dock.

There are complexities to shipping disinfectants and hand sanitizers, some of which are classified as hazardous materials, but it’s well within our expertise. Throughout the pandemic, our clients have turned to us to get the protective supplies they need, where they need them, with all possible haste.

The surge in demand from our shipping clients prompted Alex Durante, Horizon’s director of global sales, to wonder who else might be struggling to get these critical supplies to where they were needed most. “If my clients’ ships are buying this,” he thought, “there’s got to be a whole lot of other people buying this too.”

Durante reached out to U.S. distributors who were trying to bring large shipments of protective supplies into the country as quickly as possible to restock the shelves at grocery stores and pharmacies. Many were working with smaller manufacturers in China and the Philippines. These were distributors who had previously been mostly shut out of the U.S. and other global markets by the dominance of the major brands. Now, with the pandemic creating historic demand, these smaller players had dual opportunities to open up new markets for their businesses while helping to slow the spread of disease.

Horizon stepped in as a logistics partner, helping expedite the protective supplies produced by these smaller manufacturers to the distributors who could get them on the shelves for U.S. consumers.

The Hunt for Sanitizers, Gloves, and Dispensers Never Sleeps

Shipping disinfecting products and PPEs was soon a 24/7 operation at Horizon. “Due to the time difference between Asia and the U.S., we’re working with the manufacturers in China and the Philippines at night,” says Durante. “And by day, we’re coordinating with our U.S. distributors.”

Many of these products are regulated by the FDA, so licenses must be in place and all documents in order prior to shipping. When the shipments touch down on U.S. soil, U.S. Customs often has a lot of questions. Logistics partners not experienced in importing such products can incur long and costly delays.

Sometimes we’re shipping small samples so that distributors can test these products and verify their safety and efficacy. Other days, we’re booking 15 containers full of supplies as swiftly and cost effectively as possible.

This takes a lot of proactive scheduling. Because the demand is so great and the shipping lanes so full, we don’t wait for an order to be ready. We’re booking space on ships weeks in advance, coordinating with manufacturers to know when their shipments will be available so there is always a steady stream of products loading, shipping and delivering.

One recent shipment included 95,000 pounds of disinfectant sprays in two containers. We’ve handled over a dozen such shipments in recent weeks.

Some of the most urgent supplies, we fly in. We recently flew in four multi-ton shipments of sanitary wipe dispensers, of the sort you’ve probably seen at the entrances to offices, apartment buildings, doctor’s offices, and stores.

Keeping the Economy in Motion

With an effective and widely distributed vaccine still, at best, many months away, the demand for all these cleaning supplies and PPEs likely won’t recede anytime soon. “This is going to be the way of life for the foreseeable future,” says Durante.

Before the present crisis, many of us took these products for granted. Hand sanitizer, disinfecting sprays, and all the rest were readily available, a familiar and useful commodity to which we rarely gave much thought. Today, in the midst of the pandemic, we all see how critical they are for healthcare workers saving lives, for families trying to stay healthy, and for everyone trying to keep the world economy in motion.

At Horizon, keeping the world in motion is what we do best, and we’ll keep doing our part for as long as the need continues.

Horizon Air Freight’s Steve Leondis on Lenz on Business

Horizon CEO Steve Leondis recently sat down for an in-depth interview with “Lenz on Business,” a weekly business radio show that airs on WSB Radio, home to the largest news-talk audience in the country. In a far-ranging conversation, Leondis and host Jon Waterhouse discussed the founding of Horizon Air Freight in 1970, the company’s growth over the past 50 years, and his work with daughter Devon to help vulnerable children in Ghana and Zambia.

On His Family Immigrating to America

Steve’s father, Anthony Leondis, and his mother came to America in 1956 with Steve’s three older siblings. (Steve was not born yet.) Although of Greek and Italian origin, the family immigrated from Sudan.

“They wanted to give their children a better education,” says Leondis.

The Leondis family settled in Brooklyn, where Steve’s father was soon working three jobs while his mother worked at the post office and took care of the children. The days were long, but they knew they were giving their children opportunities to pursue the American dream.

On Starting Horizon with a Typewriter and a Delta 88

Anthony still wanted more for his family. He wanted them to live comfortably while doing good work in the world. So in 1970, he borrowed $600 from a friend, rented out a tiny office near JFK airport, and started Horizon Air Freight,

“He knew a little bit about freight and about the shipping industry,” says Leondis, “so he leveraged some contacts and began to move ship parts.”

In the early days, Anthony worked alone, often driving to customers in his Oldsmobile Delta 88 and filling out orders with a typewriter he kept in the car. The business was challenging, but Anthony started to build a name for Horizon and soon had to hire more staff to handle all the work.

On a Good Education and Lessons from Basketball

Fulfilling his parents’ hopes when they came to America, Leondis was accepted to Yale University and joined the basketball team. In 1980, he was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year and went on to score the third-most career field goals in Yale history.

“This was back when we were wearing leather Converse and there was no three-point line,” says Leondis.

The discipline, dedication, and teamwork he learned playing basketball would stick with him long after Yale.

“It helped me immensely as I navigated into the business career,” he says.

Seeing how basketball had helped his own success in life, in 2006 Leondis founded “Hoops on the Hill,” a non-profit organization that empowers at-risk teenagers and helps them develop their potential.

In 2020, Leondis was named one of the Legends of Ivy League Basketball in recognition of his college basketball achievements, business success, and contributions to his community.

On Joining the Family Business

Leondis wasn’t sure at first if he wanted to join the family business. His two brothers and sister were already working there while he was at Yale, and he considered striking out on his own. However, in his junior year, his father came and asked him to work for Horizon for just one year after college, to give it a chance. If he didn’t like it, he could pursue whatever he wanted instead.

Leondis agreed and started out learning the business from the bottom up. His first job was at a warehouse, loading trucks and receiving cargo. He soon discovered that he liked the business and enjoyed working in its family environment, a culture in which not only his actual relations but everyone who worked there was treated like family.

Over time, he gravitated toward operational and sales roles, and he helped lead the company’s growth. When his father was ready to retire, Leondis took over as CEO in 2014.

On Giving Back With His Daughter

On a family trip back to Africa to see where the Leondis family had come to America from, Steve’s daughter, Devon Leondis, was inspired with a “burning desire to help vulnerable children and orphans in Africa,” says Steve. “She raised money for her sweet 16 to provide fresh drinking water wells in Ghana.”

Wanting to do more, she went on to found Project Nyame Nsa. (The name means “God’s helping hands” in Twi, the dominant dialect of the Akan language in Ghana.) Steve sits on the board of directors.

The organization is dedicated to building villages with holistic support services for vulnerable and orphaned children in remote areas of Africa. They have completed their first project in Ghana and have one now underway in Zambia.

“It’s very dear to my heart,” says Leondis. “People should give back in this world.”

Listen to the Full Interview

If you’d like to hear more of the conversation, listen to the full interview at Lenz on Business.

Lenz on Business is presented by Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business. Listen live on Saturday nights at 6 p.m. on News 95.5, AM 750 WSB, and WSBRadio.com.

How Cruise Lines are Preparing for a Post-Pandemic World

COVID-19 Hits the Cruise Industry Hard

It’s no surprise or secret that the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a major economic blow to cruise ship lines. Some of the earliest, most gripping stories of COVID-19’s spread outside of China involved quarantined cruise ships searching for safe harbor in the viral storm. After some initial scrambling to bring home everyone already at sea, most cruise ships have been in port and empty of passengers, awaiting word that it’s safe to sail again. 

Miami is the home port for many of the cruise lines in the Western Hemisphere, especially those sailing to the Caribbean and South and Central America. It’s also the headquarters of Horizon’s cruise ship division and home to our dedicated cruise industry warehouse facilities, which include refrigerated and frozen storage for the millions of pounds of food we move to cruise ships in a typical year. But as we write this, Miami is a hotspot of coronavirus cases, so we don’t anticipate cruise operations will restart there anytime soon.

“They really need to get the whole state under control before Miami-based cruise lines start thinking about cruising again,” says Alex Durante, Horizon’s director of global sales.

Indeed, just a few weeks ago, the CDC announced it was extending it’s No Sail Order (PDF) until September 30, so, at least for U.S.-embarking cruise ships, the wait continues.

That doesn’t mean that nothing is happening aboard their ships. We’ve been shipping a lot of food to feed onboard crew members who were temporarily banned from disembarking due to quarantine regulations. We’ve also shipped a high volume of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect onboard crews, and, in one recent case, we shipped thousands of pounds of PPE to an entire shipyard to protect workers renovating a cruise ship in dry dock. Masks, gloves, face shields, hand sanitizer, disinfecting aerosol sprays: we’ve been getting it all to cruise ships around the world to keep their people safe and healthy as they prepare for what’s next.

Of necessity, we’ve developed some rapid expertise in hand sanitizers and disinfectants then passed that along to the cruise lines we serve. Sanitizers and disinfectants with high levels of alcohol are classified as hazardous freight, making them more complicated and expensive to export. We’ve been recommending alternatives with lower levels of alcohol paired with other chemicals that help to fight germs and viruses. “Buy non-hazardous,” says Durante, “and it’s a lot more cost-effective and efficient to get it to you.” It saves our customers money while still keeping everyone safe.

Smaller Adventure Lines Sailing Soon

Some of the boutique cruise lines we serve — especially those offering adventure cruises to remote areas — may start sailing again sooner than the larger lines, with embarkations from countries presently safe and open. (A few have already started.)

“If we’re shipping them ammunition to protect themselves from polar bears,” says Durante, “the barriers to reentry are probably lower.”

These smaller lines can keep all their passengers together during excursions, and it’s easier to test and screen everyone in the controlled, manageable environments they’re able to provide.

“If they’re cruising to Antarctica, French Polynesia, Greenland, or other safe areas,” says Durante, “they’re likely opening sooner.”

A Longer Wait for Large Cruise Lines

For the larger cruise lines, however, and for any lines sailing to or from countries still under heavy restrictions, the wait continues. In the meantime, most are already planning ahead for a post-pandemic world.

There are still a lot of unknowns. Will cruise lines screen passengers before they board? If so, we may be shipping them a lot of forehead thermometers and test kits. We know we’ll be shipping more gloves, masks, and sanitizers for the foreseeable future. Will buffets be replaced with table service dining? If so, that may impact the food and service equipment we’re shipping.

“Whenever the CDC and the governing bodies in other countries give the green light to start sailing again,” says Durante, “we have the infrastructure in place to support them. Whatever they need, we’ll get it to them, when and where they need it.”

From Keeping an Overhaul On-Schedule to Shipping Food All Over the World

Horizon first started supporting cruise ships several years ago when we handled some emergency overnight deliveries from Germany to the Bahamas to keep a major ship overhaul on schedule. The supplier knew Horizon due to previous urgent shipments we handed for them and recommended us to the cruise line as the forwarder who could get the parts there on-time.

“The shipowner was very happy,” says Durante, “and he asked, ‘Who did these emergencies? I never expected we’d see those parts on time.’”

The same cruise line’s logistics department then asked Durante if Horizon could help with their food deliveries. They were shipping 7,000 pounds of food per week from California to French Polynesia. “They wanted to buy wholesale in the U.S. instead of paying a fortune in port,” says Durante, “but the shipments were causing them a tremendous amount of trouble.”

Horizon and our Los Angeles partner put together an arrangement with a refrigerated and frozen warehouse in California, then set up weekly consolidated delivery schedules of food and beverages from various West Coast vendors. More than three years later, we’re still shipping 7,000-10,000 pounds of food via air for them each week.

That initial opportunity led Horizon to launch our cruise ship division, with a dedicated team and facilities initially assembled by Durante. From our new state-of-the-art refrigerated and frozen warehouse facilities in Miami and L.A., to providing up-to-the-minute statuses of every single purchase order electronically, our services were immediately in high demand. We started shipping food to cruise ships all over the world: millions of pounds of it each year.

“We went from spare parts,” says Durante, “to shipping high-end wine, lobsters, ice cream, and Porterhouse steaks. Anything and everything the guests wanted, we made the necessary logistics arrangements to get it to them.”

That eventually led to keeping cruise ships supplied with everything else they needed, from engine parts to watches and pearl necklaces for their onboard jewelry stores. 

Unlike other commercial maritime industries, the cruise industry needs two very distinct kinds of support from a maritime logistics company.

The technical division of a cruise line is very much like the technical division of a container ship company, a fishing fleet, or any of the other maritime sectors Horizon serves. We get them the parts and supplies they need to keep their ships running safe, able, and on-time.

Then there’s the hotel or hospitality division, which has far more in common with a hotel in a major urban center than a tanker ship or offshore rig. For cruise ship hospitality divisions, in addition to food and beverage items, we ship a lot of toiletries and cleaning chemicals, promotional merchandise such as mugs and T-shirts, key cards, and equipment and supplies for onboard entertainment.

“If you can ship perishable food,” says Durante, “and are able to successfully and consistently navigate through the complexity of what these shipments entail, then all the rest is easy.”

Sailing to See the World Again

At Horizon, we work every day with people who spend their lives traveling through the awe-inspiring beauty of the open seas while experiencing the many cultures and countries of this wide world. Most people don’t have such opportunities in their daily lives, but cruise ships can give them that experience, that adventure.

We look forward, for many reasons, to the day when the pandemic is brought under control. And we look forward to the time when cruise ships can get back to what they do best: give people adventures, vacations, and entertainment at sea. Whenever the time is right, we’ll be there to support them.

Employee Spotlight: Travis Feinberg

A Merchant Marine Joins the Horizon Team

Some sound advice from his dad and a weekend call from his Congresswoman set Travis Feinberg on a bearing that would take him to major ports all around the world. One of the newest members of the Horizon team, he now applies his expertise in maritime logistics, operations, and safety to keeping our customers sailing safely and on schedule.

A Call From His Congresswoman Sets a New Course

“When I was in high school, my dad mentioned to me that he was supposed to go to the United States Merchant Marine Academy,” says Feinberg, “but he didn’t follow up on the things that he needed to do to actually attend. And he said that if I didn’t at least try, I would be selling myself short.”

Feinberg had always found comfort and solace on the water, but he was drawn even more by the opportunity to travel. “I wanted to explore other countries,” he says, “and broaden my perspective on the world.”

So he did all the hard work of applying to the academy. “The next thing I knew,” he says, “my Congresswoman [Representative Carolyn McCarthy] was calling me on a weekend to tell me, ‘Hey Travis, just want to let you know: you’ve been accepted to the United States Merchant Marine Academy.’”

Inspired to Excel at the Merchant Marine Academy

Feinberg entered the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point in the summer of 2012. Good grades had come easily to him in high school, but he soon realized that, for the first time in his life, he was going to have to push himself.

“I looked around and saw students who were way more diligent than I was,” he said. “I thought, ‘Wow, look how much studying they’re doing. Perhaps I should follow suit.’”

He dove into his studies with a passion, taking 176 credits (the typical bachelors degree is about 130 credits) and earning two awards for academic excellence along the way. “I learned very quickly how to deal with a full plate,” he says.

Four years later, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in logistics, materials, and supply chain management. He also earned his U.S Coast Guard Third Mate Unlimited Tonnage license and was commissioned into the U.S. Navy Reserve as an ensign.

For all his academic accomplishments, though, he gives the greatest credit to his fellow students for inspiring him.

“Surrounding yourself with people who lift you up or make you want to be better,” says Feinberg, “is probably the greatest thing you can do for your own personal development.”

Sailing with Crowley Maritime

Fresh out of the Merchant Marine Academy, Feinberg accepted a position with Crowley Maritime as Third Mate on the Ocean Glory, a heavy-lift tramp vessel and then the National Glory, a container vessel. He would spend the next nearly four years sailing all over the world.

“There were two kinds of days,” he says, “at sea days and port days.”

On sea days, he would stand two four-hour navigational watches and spend another four hours ensuring that all fire safety, lifesaving equipment, and other key operational systems were in good condition and met all federal guidelines.

On port days, cargo was king, and Feinberg would spend his 12-hour days overseeing the loading and unloading of cargo. He was the main point of contact with shoreside crew and responsible for the safety of all cargo operations.

He worked hard, long days, but he liked the challenges and developed a strong work ethic.

In 2018, the National Glory’s crew was named International Crew of the Year by Safety at Sea International magazine for their courageous work delivering relief supplies to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, navigating their ship safely around three other hurricanes along the way.

The Lessons of Other Nations

Feinberg visited about 30 countries during his time with Crowley, and, as he had hoped, the people he met there broadened his perspective, teaching him gratitude, humility, and the importance of friends and family.

“There was this boy in Bangladesh,” he says. “he was literally playing with rocks just to pass the time.”

The boy didn’t speak English and Feinberg didn’t speak Bengali, but he noticed the boy was wearing a Lionel Messi jersey. Feinberg had competed in soccer in school and still plays it recreationally today, so he knew the world-famous captain of the Argentinian national team.

Despite the language barrier, he was able to communicate to the boy that he liked soccer and was a fan of Messi too. “The smile on his face… it was like the greatest thing to him and it truly made his day, and so it made mine too. Such a simple thing made him so happy.”

Another time, in South Korea, Feinberg and some of his friends went to dinner at a local restaurant. “It was the kind of place where they cook the meat in front of you,” he says, and the owner struck up a conversation with them as their meal was prepared.

Later, the owner invited them to come with him to another restaurant he also owned, just down the street, telling them they could drink for free. They accepted the offer, and they all kept up the conversation late into the night. Later, the owner hailed a cab, paid the fare, spoke to the driver for them, and made sure they were safely on their way.

“Hospitality means something different there,” he says. “Here I was, eating and drinking for free, just because the guy who ran the restaurant took a liking to me and my friends.”

Joining the Horizon Team

For all that he loved about sailing, the months at a time away from family and friends began to wear on Feinberg.

“I was living my life three months at a time,” he says. “I’d head out to sea thinking, ‘Oh, I just can’t wait to get back home to be with my family, friends, girlfriend, dogs… And I was missing out on so much: holidays, my birthday, celebrating my girlfriend’s promotion. If you miss out on the big things, you’re missing out on everything.”

So he reached out to Horizon, where he had completed an internship while at the Merchant Marine Academy. Soon after, CEO Steve Leondis offered him a job.

“Everybody at Horizon works so hard,” he says. “I kind of fit right in. But it’s also very familial. I was so warmly accepted, right away.”

Once again, he found himself surrounded by people who inspired him to do better every day.

“There’s not an ounce of clock-watching—everyone enjoys being in the office” he says. “We work hard, but there’s never any tension or drama. It’s a very team-oriented atmosphere, and everybody’s rowing in the same direction.”

The other people who have lifted him up along the way are still part of his daily interactions. Fellow students from Kings Point work with all the major maritime shipping companies, so Feinberg often finds himself collaborating with them to serve their marine logistics needs. And Crowley is a Horizon customer, so he is regularly in touch with his former crewmates, still working every day to keep their ships safe and their operations running smoothly.

“There’s no better feeling than being valuable and making a real contribution,” he says. “We want to grow so much at Horizon. We want to do better and be better, and that makes it exciting to show up every day.”

Steve’s Shipping News: Outsourcing Budget Management of Your Transportation Spend

We had an interesting opportunity recently to bid on an RFP put out by a Fortune 500 shipping company. It included a requirement that the respondent takes responsibility for managing the shipping company’s transportation budget for all spares, equipment, and supplies. They wanted more than a marine logistics provider. They wanted a partner who would help them beat their budget and protect their profit margins.

It’s the first time I’ve seen a requirement like this in a marine logistics RFP, but it’s well-aligned with the direction Horizon has been moving in recent years. It also makes a lot of sense as part of the larger trend in shipping toward outsourcing, remote management, and automation.

Outsourcing Marine Logistics

According to a recent survey by Gartner, 85% of shippers expect to outsource more of their supply chain and logistics in 2020. “The question no longer is whether to outsource,” says Gartner’s Courtney Rogerson, “but what and how much to outsource.”

Outsourcing is nothing new, of course. Shipping companies have outsourced their marine logistics to Horizon for 50 years and counting. What I’m seeing though is not just an increase in the volume of marine logistics outsourcing. It’s a deepening of the relationship and a shift toward accessing more of our strategic expertise.

As Gary Wollenhaupt writes in Supply Chain Dive, “more than merely outsourcing for lower cost, companies should look for partners that provide a higher level of value in critical areas where they have expertise.”

Toward High-Value Partnerships

We’ve been moving toward these higher-value partnerships with many of our customers for years: empowering them with digital tools and experienced advice.

Our Horizon WorldTrack portal lets customers track their deliveries in real-time. Our automated financial reports help customers evaluate their vendors and keep themselves on budget. And we offer guidance to all our customers as they weigh their options for speed, reliability, and cost.

All of this helps our customers manage their budgets while keeping their fleets sailing safely and on schedule. However, while we equip and counsel our customers, the daily decisions still fall on them, and they remain responsible for sticking to their budget. They’re mostly very good at it, but it is a lot of work.

Better Budget Management for Better Margins

Today, it seems to me that shipping companies are looking for more. They want partners who will work proactively with their management to streamline transportation costs and help them stay at or below budget, protecting and enhancing their profit margins. They want true two-way transparency, open communication, and shared accountability for success.

As Mark Franklin writes at DA-Desk, “The most common factor in the decision to outsource is, of course, to increase profit margins, by lowering the expenditure on labor and operational costs. Improving quality, gaining access to knowledge, and previously unachievable bulk discounts, are also driving factors.”

Mid-sized shipping companies generally can’t justify the expense of dedicated personnel to closely monitor their logistics spend, so outsourcing is an obvious way to manage labor costs. Large shipping companies see value in accessing the decades of specialized expertise that an outsourced partner like Horizon offers.

With partnerships like these, we’re able to extend our contributions beyond the day-to-day decisions. We’re taking on a larger strategic role to help shipping companies manage their annual costs. Ultimately, we’re helping them achieve better profit margins.

The COVID-19 Factor

The coronavirus pandemic didn’t create the need for outsourced logistics budget management, but it has certainly amplified its importance.

As I write this, 80% of flights worldwide are grounded. Airfreight costs are through the roof. According to a recent story in Reuters, “freight operators have had to resort to chartering flights at prices between $1.3 million to $1.7 million each between Asia and [the] United States. … That compared with about $500,000 to charter a flight on average during normal times.”

This matches our experience at Horizon, where typical air shipping costs have been about 200% higher.

As reported in a white paper by international reinsurance company Willis Re on the impact of COVID-19 on the marine industry, these costs are skyrocketing at the same time that supply chains are struggling, major ports are slowed, demand for shipping has dropped, and many shipping companies are facing unprecedented financial pressures.

Customers are depending on us more than ever to help them navigate these challenges. When air freight costs are tripled, what should still go by air, and what route will keep costs as low as possible? What should go by sea freight? What can travel by truck or train?

So many decisions that used to be routine now require careful strategic and financial analysis. Maritime logistics companies like mine can help, but it takes more than delivery-by-delivery advice. We need to be part of the larger conversation of a company’s operational costs, budgets, and revenues.

How It Works

I’m pleased to say we won the contract with that Fortune 500 shipping company, and we’re working together on a standard operating procedure through which we’ll manage their budget wisely. I’m sure there will be some adjustments as we learn together what works best, but we’re beginning to define how outsourced logistics budget management works.

The company is providing us with their transportation budget for all spares, equipment, and supplies, and we’re handling all the logistics. We’ll serve as a gatekeeper for all operational requests, analyzing routing options, and making fiscally responsible choices. Where a request risks busting their budget, we’ll push back and recommend alternatives, such as delivery to a less difficult port where costs will be lower. And of course, when a delivery is truly mission-critical, we’ll always find a way to get it where it needs to go.

We’ll provide weekly reports of vessel spends, budget adherence, and other KPIs. We’ll also monitor the performance of all their vendors, intervene where needed, and provide regular vendor reports to inform future purchasing decisions.

Most importantly, we’ll be a fully integrated partner with the company. We’ll be authorized, informed, and empowered to use our expertise to help keep their fleet sailing, on time and on budget. It’s rewarding work for us, an opportunity for everyone on the Horizon team to apply our highest value skills in the service of this customer.

I expect that more shipping companies will want similar services soon. All of us at Horizon look forward to deepening these partnerships and doing even more to help our customers succeed.

Our COVID-19 Commitment

Good afternoon:

I’d like to thank you again for trusting Horizon Air Freight with your global marine logistics needs.

As we’ve all experienced, life has changed dramatically over the last two months due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)—and this includes our business lives as well.

Yet, we recognize that your shipping needs are as important as ever.

I want to personally assure you that we are here for you—and committed to keeping your ships on the water. The team at Horizon is working 24-7 to maintain on-time delivery of your spare parts.

I am especially grateful for your understanding as we navigate the temporary increase in freight costs due to vast reductions in air cargo capacity across the globe. We look forward to when carrier capacity and costs return to normal levels.

Thank you again for your trust, support, and partnership during this unprecedented time.

If you have specific questions or would like to discuss any aspect of our work together, please contact us directly.

Sincerely,

Steve Leondis
Chief Executive Officer

The Ships Are Still Sailing

As we write this from the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of thousands of commercial, scientific, and military vessels are still sailing our world’s seas. In this difficult time, we need them more than ever.

Container ships are transporting critical medical supplies: hospital beds, ventilators, personal protective equipment, and more. Tankers are bringing the fuel that heats our homes and keeps our cars and emergency vehicles running. Fishing fleets are helping to ensure that we’re all well fed. Research vessels are continuing their important work to better understand our planet. And military fleets are protecting our oceans and coasts.

The world’s shipping fleets do this for us all, every day, even in normal times. But during this crisis, their work is all the more essential. And, just as in normal times, the world’s ships need spares, equipment, and supplies in order to continue their vital operations.

Of course, these are not normal times, and the logistics of getting ships what they need has become a lot more complicated. 75% of flights are grounded. Many international borders are closed. And we’re all under new restrictions as we try to slow the virus’s spread.

So at Horizon, we’re doing what we always do: Digging into our decades of experience. Gathering our global know-how. Activating our global network of agents. Chartering flights. Hiring trucks. Arranging hand-carries to ports all around the world.

When the usual way isn’t available, we’re finding a way. We’re making a way. We’re getting it done.

The Netherlands to Tampa in 36 Hours

Recently, one of our customers needed a critical spare part delivered from The Netherlands to Tampa. An important towing vessel would remain out of service until the part arrived. But with so many flights grounded, the usual flight route of Amsterdam to Atlanta, Atlanta to Tampa would have delayed the part’s arrival by 5-6 days.

So we got creative.

Late in the day on a Thursday, we sent a dedicated truck to the supplier in the Netherlands, then drove it to Amsterdam, where it was loaded on a flight to Newark. In Newark, we had it picked up by another dedicated truck, which drove it to JFK. In JFK, it was loaded onto an overnight flight to Tampa, where a third truck picked it up and delivered it to the shipyard on Saturday at 8 a.m. The entire transit took about 36 hours.

It was a much more complicated routing than would have been necessary in ordinary times, but it got the part to the ship just as quickly. And with the critical spare installed, the ship got back to work.

Houston to Gdansk When It Couldn’t Be Done

Another customer needed a critical shipment transported from Houston to the Gdansk Shipyard. In normal times, this transit would typically take 5-6 days. However, because of the pandemic, all international flights to Poland were suspended until at least April 26, and the German/Polish border was tightly controlled, resulting in long delays.

Doing things the usual ways in these unusual days, it might have taken two weeks to get the shipment delivered. Many forwarders would probably have said it couldn’t be done.

We got it done in four days.

We picked it up in Houston and put it on a plane to Frankfurt. In Frankfurt, our agent expedited the clearance through German customs, then a dedicated truck drove it to the shipyard in Gdansk. The waiting ship was soon back in service.

We’ll Get Through This Together

When you’ve been doing this work as long as we have, you learn that navigating crises is just part of the job. You either develop resilience or you fold at the first emergency. Today’s pandemic is in some ways unprecedented, but we’ve been through hard times together before. The Great Recession and some smaller recessions before it. 9/11 and other acts of terror. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hurricanes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters.

Through all these crises, the global fleet has helped the world keep running, and we’ve helped to keep those ships safe and sailing. Whatever challenges lie ahead during this pandemic, we’ll figure it out together. We’ll find a way. We’ll get it done. It’s going to be OK.

“Thank you for the hard work. It has been seamless for us. I haven’t seen any shipping disruptions with the exception of cancelled flights, which is beyond your control.”

Tracy Fleming

Horizon Air Freight and Ecochlor Unite for Clean Oceans and Waterways

Industry Leaders Announce Collaboration to Ensure Adherence to the Highest Ballast Water Management Requirements

Horizon Air Freight, a leader in global marine logistics announced today a collaboration (or alliance) with Ecochlor, a leading ballast water management manufacturer, to ensure compliance for shipowners.

“Horizon Air Freight is very excited about our collaboration with Ecochlor to provide a turnkey solution for their customers,” said the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Steve Leondis. “Our joint initiative will help shipping companies comply with installation requirements for IMO ballast water treatment, a critical step in helping to keep our waterways clean.”

Justin Knight, director of operations at Ecochlor, also celebrated the partnership. “Horizon has been in the maritime industry for over 50 years, and we trust them to get our shipments on-deck and on-time,” he said. “We are very excited to bring on additional support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in our efforts to provide superior support to owners.”

Together the companies will ensure that their clients receive their marine equipment on time and on budget, secure in the knowledge that they are keeping the oceans and waterways safe from contamination and invasive species.

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 or to request a quote, call 800-221-6028 or visit haf.com.

  • Trusted worldwide for 50 years
  • More than 3,000 vessels served worldwide
  • 18,000 shipments per year, 99% on-time delivery
  • Service 24/7/365
  • Agents in 32 countries, ships everywhere
  • Key managers have 25+ years at Horizon
  • State of the art IT track and trace freight management system

About Ecochlor

The Ecochlor® Ballast Water Management System uses a two-step treatment process to treat ballast water – filtration followed by chlorine dioxide (ClO2). The system’s effectiveness is not impaired by variations in salinity, temperature, turbidity, organics, and vibration. The system is easy to operate with low power and is reliably engineered for long life. There are no retreatment or neutralization requirements on discharge. Ecochlor has IMO and USCG Type Approval and meets or exceeds regulatory guidelines.

From the very first ballast operation and for everyone thereafter, Ecochlor engages in direct communication with the vessel’s crew. We don’t wait for our next service call but are on board twice a year for chemical resupply and to support the ship’s crew in training and equipment maintenance. More than 95% + of our systems are reported as in service and working at sea worldwide. In addition to being the most reliable and easiest system to use, Ecochlor offers EcoCare®, the only treatment guarantee for ballast water management systems in the maritime industry. Ecochlor.com