PHILADELPHIA — Nothing cuts through red tape like experience, as 721 Logistics LLC and its J&K Fresh East division know. Though the company just launched in January, the management team of Larry Antonucci, John Antonucci and John Ercolani were born into the industry and their names are well known up and down the Delaware River.
And when it comes to produce and perishables, there are few brands better known for service and excellence than Los Angeles-based J&K Fresh LLC.
Which is why 721 was delighted to strike up a strategic alliance with the California company to represent its products and services at the ports along the Delaware River and along the East Coast.
“J&K Fresh is the predominant name in the fresh produce and perishable industry as it relates to custom brokerage and logistics coordination, they’re synonymous with service,” said 721 President Larry Antonucci. “Their business philosophy — how they treat their people, their customer service — is very similar to what we’re doing here, and that’s why it’s a very good alliance for us and the customers we share. For us, it’s about doing what’s right for the freight and doing what’s right for the customer.”
He continued, “In our opinion, the team we have assembled is the best on the East Coast because they’ve been focused exclusively on this particular vertical their entire careers. We all understand the nature of this business. We take the position that our customer’s product is our product, their business is our business. We have a very good understanding of the commodity business, the buying, selling, trading of perishables and how it all fits together within the client’s supply chain.”
“The average experience level for our operations is 17 years in the business,” said John Ercolani, vice president of operations. “We look at ourselves as a service provider that can really drive efficiencies and keep costs down for customers throughout the supply chain. Obviously we have to be experts in the customs brokerage industry, but we also have to be experts in the fruit business. The decisions we’re making on behalf of our customers are predicated on the ‘big picture’ impact of moving the cargo in the most cost-effective and expeditious way.”
The alliance between 721 and J&K Fresh LLC makes for a powerful pairing because it gives all parties a better understanding of the totality of trade along the Delaware.
“There are a lot of things that go hand-in-hand with the two companies,” Mr. Ercolani said. “We cover both coasts, we share customers and operating procedures, we’re pretty much running parallel to each other. The key there is consistency. Customers we share get the same high level of service whether they’re working with us on the East Coast or with J&K Fresh LLC on the West Coast. That’s the real beauty of it, it’s all about that consistency — high-level service and experienced people who understand the business. We have the relationships with the terminal operators, the ocean carriers, the fumigators, all the supply chain partners that you need and have to manage as part of the process. That experience and those relationships help our customers keep their freight moving.”
The Antonuccis and Mr. Ercolani are family. The trio grew up together in the South Philadelphia area and are rabid supporters of the city and the Delaware River port community.
“We’re all licensed brokers, we all worked pretty much through our high school years and right out of college in this industry and never worked in any other business,” said Larry Antonucci. “It’s in our blood, it’s what we know. This is what we do and we do it well and we feel like we do it better than anybody else. As a family business, we believe in creating an environment that allows our people to grow personally and professionally while also providing a work environment that is professional but fun. We really want our employees to be happy, and we make every effort to make that happen.
“The sky is the limit” for 721, Mr. Antonucci said. “We look forward to growing our business and helping establish the ports of the Delaware River as the premier destination for perishable products in the U.S. Our individual reputations are well known in the port. People know who we are in the industry as a whole and when you match that up with the J&K Fresh brand, it does make for a very nice combination.”