NFI grows with niche service

With freight volumes down for the first half of 2007, many carriers are diversifying into different transportation niches to help balance things out

With freight volumes down for the first half of 2007, many carriers are diversifying into different transportation niches to help balance things out.

Vineland, NJ-based National Freight Industries (NFI) has pursued that diversification strategy since its foundation by Israel Brown in 1932, as Brown started off first with dump trucks, then later segued into freight carriage and specialized cargo services. Now, with a fleet of 8,000 tractors and trailers, 50 terminals and maintenance facilitiesmand over 14 million sq. ft. of warehouse space spread throughout 50 facilties, NFI is expanding to support the growth of Pods, a nationwide portable storage container business.

NFI Dedicated, which serves Pods with a private fleet, is adding 87 new units this year just to accommodate Pods’ growth needs. According to Mike Holloway, NFI’s senior vp-dedicated contract services, that brings the total Pods fleet to 200 trucks – a marked increase from 37 trucks just two years.

Launched in 1998, Pods offers a “middle ground” moving service. The company used to operate its own fleet until teaming with NFI Dedicated in 2005. Since partnering with Pods, NFI Dedicated has been able to add more than 130 jobs in the process as well, he said. “We’re an integral part of their supply chain, taking the containers from warehouses to franchises, warehouse to warehouse, or repositioning empty units,” said Holloway. “It’s such an innovative business, the growth is tremendous.”

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