Your contracted base of 20,000 trucks is made up of hand-picked carriers. What do you look for in carriers?
Messerschmidt: We are very selective when it comes to establishing relationships with carriers. The first part of our screening process includes checks on the standards, such as validity of authority, insurance coverages and an overview of their records with the FMCSA. We go a step beyond a typical brokerage by thoroughly investigating references, contacting shippers and brokers they've listed as customers as well as friends of ours at consignees and brokerages that carriers have likely dealt with at some time in the past. We've found skeletons in the closets of a few potential partners this way—some of which were disturbing and led to the disqualification of trucks that may otherwise have been allowed to haul our customer's product. This has kept us out of situations that would have compromised the integrity of our system and service.
How quickly do you expect to ramp up your service?
Messerschmidt: Our operation has focused primarily on the territories east of the Mississippi River until recent Garden Fresh business has taken us into the California market. We hope to work with customers nationwide as our bank of resources continues to grow. — Katherine Doherty