Whether it’s helping to provide supplies to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering essential parts for area manufacturers or shipping priceless pieces of art for one of America’s wealthiest businessmen, Barnhart Transportation is a third-party logistics and transportation provider on the move.
Headquartered at 9251 West Main Road in North East, Pennsylvania, just off Route 20, the family owned and operated business services customers not only in the United States, but also around the globe.Since 2003, brothers Bryan and Tim Barnhart have steered the company in the right direction by reinvesting in their operations and by staying focused on the road ahead. Their approach is putting them in the driver’s seat as the demand for the logistics industry is expected to rise $2.734 billion in 2020 to $3.215 billion by 2021.
‘Driven by You’
The Barnharts have pushed the limits of the competitive logistics and transportation industry by diversifying and expanding their services as much as possible. Today, the brothers own and operate seven standalone entities including Barnhart Transportation, their transportation and logistics firm with a fleet of 150 trucks; brokerage service Lakeshore Logistics; import/export freight forwarding service Lake Shore Global Solutions; warehousing service Lakeshore Warehousing; warehousing service Jet Park Warehousing; truck and trailer repair service Barnhart Fleet Maintenance; and, newest addition, the Route 20 Tank Wash.
The Barnharts have invested not only in NWPA, but also in high- growth customer markets, particularly in the South and Southwest. For example, Texas hub Lake Shore Global Solutions services the company’s international business door to door anywhere in the world. It’s a licensed NVOCC (non-vessel operating common carrier) and ocean and air freight forwarder.
The Barnharts also have a 25,000-square-foot warehouse and office facility near the Port of Charleston in South Carolina, one of the most historic seaports and busy centers of trade in the United States. Soon, the Barnharts will open a newly renovated 117,000-square-foot warehouse, office space and laydown yard on 28 acres there. The $5 million investment is expected to be a game-changer with a rail spur that will allow the operation to expand its customer service at all levels.
“The drayage opportunities, transloading and port opportunities are growing substantially down there,” says Tim, the company’s chief financial officer, “and we’re trying to poise ourselves to be able to tackle and grow in that market.”
In North East, Pennsylvania, the Barnharts are opening the new Route 20 Tank Wash, a commercial tank wash service, to the public this fall. With the number of food-grade and non-food grade processers in the NWPA area, the addition will meet the needs of their own operation and the demand in the region. The nearest tank washes are located 100 miles away or more.
“Our whole goal with setting up all these businesses was to fill a need for our customers,” notes Tim, “but every one is logistics based or services the logistics industry — and there’s always a need.”
The diversification of services has allowed the company to grow in its offerings and customer base, as well. The Barnharts service companies of nearly every size and industry, providing a vertical integration of the supply chain — owning and operating warehousing, transportation, logistics — to meet every customer need.
Branching out into other ventures also has helped the company weather any storms, including the recession sparked by COVID-19. The Barnharts’ business has been an essential part of the supply chain throughout the health crisis, making every effort to ensure that customers get their products and parts to their destination on time and on budget. It’s been the company’s approach to business since its inception best described in three words: “driven by you.”
For the Barnhart team, it’s all about making the impossible possible. “When everyone else says, ‘no,’ we find a way to say, ‘yes!’ ” states Bryan, company president. “The key to success is being there when your customer needs you.”
A lot of times that requires thinking “outside the box” and bringing
customers a variety of solutions. In other cases, that’s assigning team
members to a specific project, such as having dedicated drivers on call.
It’s also having a team that is ready to handle any unexpected jobs — 24 hours, seven days a week. For instance, many of Barnhart’s team members, including Bryan himself, have commercial drivers licenses, and everyone is willing to do what it takes to get the job done. “A big piece of keeping our customers happy is our team,” states Bryan. “If we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t have what we have today.”
Barnhart presently employs 60 company drivers and 70 employees and has 110 independent contractors, and the team keeps expanding. The brothers say the near-term goal is to have a driver count around 200, so the company is actively hiring 30 more drivers between its North East office and Charleston locations.
“We’re focused on hiring people that fit in with our culture and are like-minded individuals who see the value of good customer service and want to be part of a team,” says Tim. “We can train them on the technical areas, but we’re more about finding the personalities and work ethic.”
The Barnharts have created a thriving business but also a positive culture that feels more like an extended family. Theme lunches and team-building events are provided as rewards.
“You know the cliché, ‘work hard, play hard,’ well, we really do,” says Tim. “Our employees really make the difference.”
Committed to the Community
The Barnharts are driven to create a profitable business, but they also see the value in giving back. The brothers established Barnhart Gives, its charitable arm, to support the communities in which it operates. Both Tim and Bryan have been supporters of Shriners as well as the Barber National Institute and the Transplant Hope Foundation, just to name a few.
Barnhart Gives encourages employee engagement, giving team members a say in where charitable donations go each year and the chance to participate in fundraising activities from golf outings to bowling tournaments. More than $113,000 has been raised for charity to date.
But giving back for Barnhart isn’t limited to dollars and cents. During the COVID-19 crisis, it was Barnhart that teamed up with Gas Monkey to deliver energy drinks to frontline workers throughout the country, from Michigan to Rochester, New York, Erie to Pittsburgh, Charleston, South Carolina, Forth Worth, Texas and beyond for a total of 17 different drops in all.
The Barnharts say it’s just another example of the Barnhart difference — and how they are committed to the community and their customers for the long haul. “We’re proud of what we’ve been able to do,” says Tim. “And we’re always driven by you!”
For more information, visit www.barnhart-trans.com.