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Cross-Border Collaborations Drive Business
“Collaboration within our network keeps freight moving, keeps customers happy and helps make independent business owners at Landstar successful,” says Lisa Nestor who opened her Texas-based agency, Success Transportation Inc., in 2003.
Nestor explains, with changing business and customer needs over the years, one of her go-to business strategies to assure capacity for customers is to connect with fellow independent agents and business capacity owners (BCOs). So, when new opportunities with her Mexico-based customer opened in 2018, her first call to strategize for the business was to Landstar Agent Kyle Horne.
“When she called us with the opportunity to collaborate on inbound and outbound cross-border loads through Mexico, we didn’t hesitate,” says Kyle Horne, owner of Transtar Logistics of TX, the agency his father Don opened in 1996. “Lisa explained that she had cross-border loads moving from South Carolina into Mexico, and she knew we had customer loads traveling outbound from Mexico into Atlanta, Georgia.”
“Essentially what we did was create a loop of freight for Landstar BCOs between both of our customers’ loads,” says Nestor. “The relationship started with just 10 loads a week and progressed from there. It has guaranteed capacity to keep our cross-border customers’ freight moving and keeps our Landstar BCOs loaded and moving with northbound and southbound drop and hook, and transload opportunities.”
More than Load Coverage
“We are able to offer our BCOs this dedicated loop of freight, and that isn’t possible at other transportation logistics companies,” says Horne. “In addition to the load coverage, we work together with Landstar to support any BCOs or agency team members who may not speak Spanish and could encounter a language barrier managing cross-border freight. We also have created a shared trailer system between our agencies to support all of the customers’ freight.”
The teams’ freight loop and shared trailer system, according to the agents, act as an assurance to Landstar BCOs who are hauling cross-border freight south. Through the agency collaboration, once a BCO arrives at the border, they have already booked a northbound load.
“Through this relationship, we are able to directly support the owner-operators to keep their businesses running. It also gives our customers dedicated capacity, which has grown our cross-border business significantly,” says Horne. “In 2018, we managed 76 loads. We managed 354 loads in 2019. And in the third quarter of 2020, we are already at 306 loads.”
Persisting through Challenges
Because of the versatility of the Landstar network, Nestor and Horne say their agency relationship on cross border freight remained strong, enduring the challenges presented by the pandemic in 2020. According to the agents, as some customers continued with business and others faced shutdowns during the pandemic, the agency teams re-directed BCOs and adjusted the freight loop.
“When the market shifted during the coronavirus pandemic, our business changed and actually increased,” says Horne. “Where certain industries had to shut down, other customers changed their businesses to keep going and we were able to support them. There was no dip in service or freight and we kept BCOs moving.”
“The Landstar network allows these options,” says Nestor. “It allows us to be successful by looking at things differently, approaching our customers with the services they need during challenging times, and keeping freight moving. Collaborations like these keep us in business and it keeps Landstar BCOs in business.”