Navigating the maze
Allegheny Logistics provides import/export help
- November 30, 2011
When James Loux, founder of Allegheny Logistics Group, helps clients import and export goods, he practices one rule of thumb: “Stay away from perishables and anything that goes bang, for obvious reasons,” he says. “Other than that, we do a little bit of everything. We give our customers a one-stop shop.”
Loux founded Allegheny Brokerage Inc. in 2000 in Dublin, Va. That company along with Allegheny Logistics Services Inc. and Allegheny Ocean Transport Inc., which started in 2009, are now under the umbrella of Allegheny Logistics Group.
The parent company, licensed by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, helps firms navigate the bureaucratic maze they encounter in exporting or importing goods. To begin with, they have to meet a variety of stringent regulations. “There are more than 50 regulatory bodies [under] U.S. Customs,” Loux says. “We help manage the entire supply chain for a company in or out of the U.S.”
Loux discovered Dublin when he worked in the regulatory control area of the defense industry and was transferred to the area in 1996 to work for Massachusetts-based Kollmorgen Corp. Afterwards, he worked with the New River Economic Development Alliance to help establish a foreign trade zone at the New River Valley Airport in Pulaski County. Realizing he could fill a niche in the area, he started his customs brokerage business.
“It’s unique out here,” notes Loux. “There wasn’t a local entity businesses could talk to about shipping. We fulfill a need that a lot of people didn’t think was here.” Loux adds that most of his peer companies are located in port cities. “It was slow for the first couple of years. It took about four years to start becoming known.”
Today, 60 percent of Allegheny Logistics Group’s revenue comes from export-related activities. Current clients include companies in the automotive industry, industrial controls, defense and industrial machinery. “We are also looking at new industries such as furniture and prefab buildings, and we are getting into mining equipment,” Loux says.
The company grew between 25 and 28 percent each year through 2008. When business fell as a result of the slow economy, Loux began looking at different ways to enhance his revenue stream. He started Allegheny Logistics Services after getting a truck broker’s license that allowed him to contract with trucking companies directly. “Now we can offer customers better deals,” he said. “It allowed us to link up with some large international freight forwarding organizations and to be able to say we can ship anywhere in the world.”
Allegheny Ocean Transport allows Loux the same freedom, but on the water. He can deal directly with an ocean carrier, cutting out the middleman. “We’re focusing on growing that in 2012,” he says. “Part of the issue is having large customers that can produce larger quantities of shipments. There are not a lot of those in Southwest Virginia.”
Loux says business began picking up in August after the company added a business development director and got into warehousing and freight management. “I think we have turned the corner,” he says. “We have a lot of good customers, and we have picked up several new customers in the last two months.”
He enjoys living in Pulaski County, which offers many outdoor activities such as walking, biking and horseback riding in New River Trail State Park, located along the banks of Claytor Lake and the New River. Nearby, in Claytor Lake State Park, there’s fishing, boating, swimming and water skiing. The area also annually celebrates its heritage as well as music and art through a variety of festivals.
THE COUNTY’S ECONOMY
Pulaski County is centrally located in Southwest Virginia with Interstate 81 running through the county and Interstate 77 about 20 miles away. It has seven industrial parks, three Virginia Enterprise zones and a foreign trade zone/customs port of entry at New River Valley International Airport. Major employers include Volvo Trucks North America, Trim Systems, LLC (heavy truck upholstery trim), Bond Cote Corp. (coated fabric) and Warner Lambert Co. (pharmaceuticals).
WHERE TO STAY
The area has several chain hotels and two popular bed and breakfast establishments — Rockwood Manor and Nesselrod on the New River. Rockwood Manor offers oversized suits with private baths, whirlpool tubs, high-speed wireless Internet and a three-course, made-to-order gourmet breakfast. Nesselrod on the New River features five unique guest rooms with amenities such as complimentary beverages and snacks, wireless Internet, min-fridges and breakfast.