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Importing is an unavoidable fact of life for today's global supply chains, but the intricacies of moving freight across borders and through Customs puts many managers outside their comfort zone. That's when they look for an expert-someone to step in and give clear direction or actually do the job for them.
The partner that many companies turn to in this situation is A.N. Deringer, an 88-year-old forwarding and logistics provider based in St. Albans, Vt. Deringer gets high marks from customers not only for its performance, but for its people. "The main thing about Deringer that makes it special is the people you deal with," says Richard Dubois, vice president of The Pool Place and Christmas Place in Abington, Mass. Dubois specifically cites account manager Trish Parrot. "She just takes care of everything for me-contacting my suppliers, arranging to have the products picked up, getting the container ready, seeing about insurance, everything. And any questions I have are answered immediately. If I need to know where a container is, they are right on top of it until it is delivered to my door."
As its name implies, Dubois's company imports outdoor casual furniture and Christmas trees, mostly from Asia. As an example of Deringer's customer service, he notes his concerns around the importation of several containers of patio tables, many of which had glass tops. "That was a concern from an insurance standpoint, but Deringer looked into it for us and obtained insurance at a very good rate," he says. Deringer also finds the best transportation rates. "On three containers that we recently shipped to Boston, Deringer saved me about $700 to $800 by recommending that I ship them across country via rail instead of truck. It took just a week longer and that was nothing to me for the savings I gained," says Dubois. "I am really, really pleased with these people."
Another happy Deringer customer is Liz Laki, director of operations and traffic at itCreation, Montreal, Que. itCreation is a new company whose first two products, both manufactured in Asia, are large and bulky: a recreational pedal boat and a collapsible screen room for outdoor gatherings.
"We were having trouble finding transport for our samples because of their large size," says Laki. "We had been turned down by everybody and out of desperation I called Deringer. They were able to fill our needs immediately."
Laki also is impressed with Deringer's service, even when things don't go according to plan. "With our first container that came in from Bangkok, we had some complications that resulted in a shipping delay. But Deringer was very honorable about it. The shipment was supposed to move inland by rail, but Deringer, understanding the mistake, volunteered to pay the extra charge to ship it by truck so we would not miss our delivery."
Based on its service, itCreation gave Deringer all its forwarding business. "We now are importing from Asia into Canada and the U.S. and we have potential customers around the world. Deringer is helping us get quotes for these different destinations," says Laki. She adds that itCreation also has other products in development. "We are growing and we expect Deringer to be with us as we grow."
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