Taking Your Freight Company Global with Worldwide Logistics Group
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The CEO of Worldwide Logistics Group, Joe Monaghan, joins the show to talk about the evolution of his company as they celebrate their 25th anniversary.

From expanding their first office from New Jersey to Hong Kong, Worldwide Logistics Group now operates in dozens of countries all over the world by helping their clients overcome complex shipping challenges.

In this episode, Joe and Blythe talk about the evolution of his logistics company, how freight moves throughout the world, and trying to make that process a little more efficient each day.



The listener will learn about the services provided by Worldwide Logistics Group, the origin story of the company, its challenges and growth over the past 25 years, its expansion into different regions, and its approach to sales and marketing. The podcast also discusses the challenges of shipping hazardous and food products, the potential benefits of setting up staging or shipping operations in Poland and Mexico, and the importance of having a strong digital presence for businesses.


[00:00:55] Worldwide Logistics Group’s Services.
[00:04:48] Starting a new company.
[00:07:30] Global expansion of company.
[00:13:56] Shipping challenges.
[00:14:37] Food safety in warehouses.
[00:18:15] International expansion and logistics.
[00:23:37] Warehouse management in Europe.
[00:27:15] Worldwide’s Expansion Plans.



At SPI Logistics they have industry-leading technology, systems, and back-office support to help you succeed. Learn more about SPI’s freight agent program here. Make sure to let them know we sent you!

Digital Dispatch helps you speak confidently about ROI with a website built for your customers, prospects, and employees. With plans starting as low as $90/month, learn how you can take your website from good to great by visiting Digital Dispatch.



Everything is Logistics is a podcast for the thinkers in freight. Follow the podcast to never miss an episode.

Follow EIL host Blythe Brumleve on social: Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram | TikTok | YouTube

Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Unknown: 0:00

LinkedIn presents

Blythe Brumleve: 0:10

welcome into another episode of everything is logistics a podcast for the thinkers in freight. I'm your host Blythe Brumleve. And I'm happy to welcome in Joe Monaghan, he is the president and CEO of Worldwide Logistics Group. And we're going to be getting an eagle eye view of shipping all over the world,especially over the last handful of years, which has been I don't have to tell, you know, many of you that it's been a little crazy. So we are going to get that that perspective from Joe today. So Joe, welcome to the show.

Joe Monaghan: 0:39

Thanks, Blythe.It's great to be here.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:40

Now, I was joking with you earlier, when I first hopped on here with this recording is that I said it might be easier to say what kind of logistics and transportation that worldwide doesn't do because you do so many things.So for folks who may not be aware of your company, can you kind of give us I guess that you know that eagle eye view, as I said earlier of the services that you guys provide?

Joe Monaghan: 1:04

Sure. Our primary services are ocean freight, air,freight, customs, house brokerage, warehousing, and distribution. We do project forwarding, we do exhibition forwarding, within the warehousing and distribution,space, we do ecommerce fulfillment, we do returns management, pick and pack just a whole array of services. So really

Blythe Brumleve: 1:33

everything. I think it kind of circles back to it. So when I guess you're thinking of an ideal customer for worldwide, what does that look like? Is it SMBs? Is it enterprise? Is it kind of a little bit of both?

Joe Monaghan: 1:48

It's a little bit of both. But I mean, really,what we're looking for is people who have complex requirements,and really allow us to show how good we are at finding solutions and, and innovating to help them to simply do things better,cheaper, faster.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:06

I think that's what every bit of business owner wants, especially right about now when costs are just so crazy. So we're taking it back just a little bit for you in particular. You know, they're all of the I guess, leaders and executives that I talked to on the podcast, they all have a unique story about how they got into logistics, but it typically falls into the bucket of I went to school for it, or my family got me into it, do you fall into either of those two buckets of how you got started?

Joe Monaghan: 2:34

I do. Actually,when I was going to school,there weren't that many colleges that offered logistics, dating myself a little bit there were there were very few. So I am in the category of following in my father's footsteps. And actually, even my grandfather's footsteps, because my grandfather was in the railroad business, worked for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. And my father was a longtime executive in the ocean carrier industry. So I started my career working for ocean carriers. And after about a decade, I followed, then boss to another company in the freight forwarding space, and spent about a decade there and then started worldwide logistics.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:22

So for maybe for folks who don't know, what,what's the, I guess the the major difference of a freight forwarder versus, you know, like an ocean carrier or, you know,not really ocean carrier, but maybe like a freight broker or what what's the specialty of a freight forwarder?

Joe Monaghan: 3:39

I mean, the difference between a freight forwarder and an ocean carriers that we don't have any assets, I mean, we're asset light. And the same thing would apply to a freight broker in relation to it, say, a trucking company. So that's the the big difference. I mean, I always remember when I first started working for a freight forwarder. I came back from a sales call. And I said,Yeah, this guy asked me if we could do XYZ and Mexico. So I told him, No. And my boss looked at me and said, Why did you tell him? No, you should have asked him how much business does he have in that quadrant? Maybe we can create a solution for him and at the same time help ourselves. Whereas, you know,working for an ocean carrier,they call certain ports, they have certain vessels on a schedule, and you sell into that schedule and that port rotation and if they don't call the port of Timbuktu then you don't have service from Timbuktu. It's pretty simple.

Blythe Brumleve: 4:40

As when you were starting, I guess maybe before I get get to that point,but how did you come up with the idea to even start up your own company or did you or did you follow leadership into worldwide what was I guess sort of the the origin story of worldwide logistics?

Joe Monaghan: 4:58

Well, I'll tell you the true story. already, I was recruited by another company, I worked for a company called Fritz companies for almost a decade. They later were sold to UPS and are what is now called UPS Supply Chain Solutions. And after being recruited by another company for literally like three or four years, I finally decided to take the plunge and I left for its,and after 10 months at the new company, I was unceremoniously let go. So I was unemployed in my mid 40s. And having a difficult time finding a job that fit the profile that I was looking for. And I had a neighbor who owned a trucking company, he knocked on my door one Saturday and said, Why don't we just start one from scratch?And I said, Sure, why not? So that's what we did.

Blythe Brumleve: 5:52

I mean, there is no greater motivation, then where is your next check gonna come from? So it kind of sounds like the, you know, logistics found you again, you know, a little bit later in life?

Joe Monaghan: 6:02

Yes, for sure. I mean, you know, two mortgages for kids with college looming,and, you know, you better figure out a way to make some funds.

Blythe Brumleve: 6:12

So you just celebrated worldwide just celebrated the 25 or 25th anniversary of the company. And I'm curious as to what what has been more challenging the first22 years in business or the last three years in business.

Joe Monaghan: 6:30

Um, we had some pretty big bumps in the road. In the early days, we were undercapitalized which really inhibited how much we could grow and expand. We had a very significant bankruptcy by our largest client that almost put us out of business. And all those things happened in the first 22 years. So I'd have to say it was the first 22 years probably the first 10 years.

Blythe Brumleve: 6:57

Oh, wow. So so the last three years was probably I mean, going through all of those challenges, maybe prepared you for the I guess the variety of challenges of the last few years. You

Joe Monaghan: 7:07

know, we we live for change, we live for challenges, that's how we have the opportunity to to really demonstrate what's different about us, what's better about us. So the recent history has been a good time for us.

Blythe Brumleve: 7:21

Give us a sense of, of of where the company headquarters is that because I know you have offices all over the globe. So give us a sense of where you're at right now. And then you know, maybe where your offices are at all over the globe.

Joe Monaghan: 7:34

Okay. Well, you know, I can start by saying that we started with myself a bookkeeper and one operations person, the basement of a truck terminal in Newark, New Jersey on March 17 1998. Oh, wow. And if we fast forward the movie to today, we operate in 20countries. We have a couple of more in the oven right now.We'll probably be up to 22 by this summer. We have over 40offices worldwide. We're headquartered in Paramus, New Jersey. And I'm actually sitting working from home today in a place called Allentown, New Jersey.

Blythe Brumleve: 8:09

Oh, nice. Very nice. Yeah, I worked for an asset based brokerage that that you know, Allentown was our one of our big hubs. So lots of freight that's going in and out Allentown,

Joe Monaghan: 8:18

Allentown, New Jersey or Allentown,Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania,

Blythe Brumleve: 8:21

there's another New Jersey. Pa.

Joe Monaghan: 8:27

Yeah, yeah.

Blythe Brumleve: 8:28

So how did you how did you decide which was going to be so you're based in New Jersey? How did you decide what that that first country?What was our first new office location outside of the US was going to be?

Joe Monaghan: 8:41

Well, you know, I spent during my time with Fritz companies, I spent four years living in Hong Kong and setting up the offices for Fritz companies throughout the region.That was back in the 90s. So most of my expertise was in the Far East, the US trade. So in the very beginning, the primary business we did was ocean freight from China to the US. So it just made sense for us to open the first office in Hong Kong. And I actually reached out to a very good friend of mine and former colleague and asked him to join us. And he's now our president of Asia Pacific. His name is Willie Fong. And he's been with me now for over 20years.

Blythe Brumleve: 9:25

Wow. So he's had a chance or both of you have really had a chance to see the full evolution of the sort of, I guess, East Asia to us relationship, and how that's dramatically grown and evolved into you know, not just China,but other several East Asian countries. How did you I guess,sort of prioritize of what what comes after Hong Kong did was it you know, other different parts of the world or was it you know,building within that that part of the world?

Joe Monaghan: 9:55

I'd say in phase one, it was primarily expanding into China. China, where we now have six offices. We just opened our office in shaman, Fujian Province earlier this year. And for a long time, there was a concentration of purchasing in China versus the rest of Asia.When I first started in the business, there was a lot of activity in places like Thailand and Indonesia and Malaysia and Singapore, Philippines, etc. But until the tariffs were imposed during the Trump administration,people did most of their sourcing from China and with those tariffs. And then later with the pandemic, there's been a lot of movement back to the way it used to be where people have a more diversified sourcing strategy. And they're buying products from a variety of countries. So we sort of jumped on that opportunity. And in the last three years, we've opened,Philippines, Indonesia,Thailand, Malaysia. And prior to that in in 2017, we had opened Vietnam and and opened Cambodia as a satellite to Vietnam. So we have pretty good coverage throughout the region. Now.

Blythe Brumleve: 11:11

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Joe Monaghan: 12:02

Yeah, you know,it's kind of been fun to watch the evolution because in the early days of our expansion,everything was US centric. So we wanted to know, how much business did we control and in and out of that country? And how much business could the partner or the general manager that we hire, bring to the to the party,run a business plan and see if it made sense? And then if it did, we just rock and roll. Now it's a little different because with offices throughout Europe,offices in Africa, in Asian subcontinent, we see our offices once we plug them into our network, sort of find their own way and start working together,and creating business opportunities that have nothing to do with the US. Oh, wow. And that's very gratifying for us.It's also helps us to build sustainability into the future.

Blythe Brumleve: 12:55

And I imagine like everybody wants to diversify as far as your business is concerned. And it sounds like that. That's exactly what you've done. And a lot of what these these remote offices have done as well as that a safe assumption.

Joe Monaghan: 13:06

Yes, absolutely.Yeah. And we, we had a global leadership meeting in Marrakech,last October, and it was the first, you know, sort of typical post pandemic activity, where we were able to bring 50 of our leaders from around the world to one place and just get to know each other and spend time together. Sure, there were meetings and business discussions, but there was just a lot of fun and a lot of hanging out. And the the residual effect of that is absolutely incredible. People just have a whole new level of appreciation for each other and working together all the more efficiently. And we've just seen sparks flying ever since then.

Blythe Brumleve: 13:50

Is there is there any I guess, maybe like country or commodity that is particularly challenging, or like a good challenge to ship to and from?

Joe Monaghan: 14:01

Oh, I don't know.I mean, there's lots of things that are difficult, you know,anything that's hazardous, of course, requires extra consideration and handling. We do an on the on the distribution side, we do a lot of business in the food space. So you know, we have to have special AIB certification at our warehouses and, you know, a lot of extra steps in the process to make sure that they're food grade warehouses. That's been one of the more recent challenges that we've tackled, pretty successfully, I would say,

Blythe Brumleve: 14:32

what were the challenges with with what you guys were addressing?

Joe Monaghan: 14:37

You know, when you run a normal warehouse, general cargo warehouse, you're not thinking about, you know, even,you know, the smallest insect that's able to come under the dock door or, you know, even the smallest little sliver of space that allows a mouse to enter the warehouse. But if you're, you know, running like we have in here in New Jersey, three on or1000 square feet with with about half of it containing food products, there are a lot of things that you need to take into consideration. Not to mention things like temperature and humidity, access, all those sorts of things have to be taken into consideration.

Blythe Brumleve: 15:17

I do there's a show on on National Geographic called to catch a smuggler, and I am completely obsessed with the show. And they all they talk about, especially when it comes to like New Zealand or some of these, you know, just smaller island nations that they will even if it's produce, or even if it's cooked foods or something like that, they have to check every inch of it just to make sure that there's no fruit flies or no, you know, just the smallest of insects, if it's on that shipment, they will refuse it and turn it right back around, which I think is just fascinating to have to monitor those types of situations. I guess, how do you how do you monitor what happens if a small insect you find it in the truck or something like that? Or a mouse sneaks? And like, what does that process look like to get those those little guys out of there?

Joe Monaghan: 16:05

Well, the first thing we do is isolate the cargo, so that we don't contaminate other cargo.Fortunately, it hasn't happened that often. But that's that's the main thing that we have to do, and we notify the customer.The last time it happened to us was on a new client asked us to receive inventory transfer from their existing distribution provider. And we found out that,well, we found out one of the reasons why they were switching from that guy to us, when we saw the condition of the cargo when it arrived in our warehouse. So notifying the customer isolating the cargo. And then if there's any kind of remediation, that's required, activate, you know,put the wheels in motion on that remediation right away.

Blythe Brumleve: 16:51

Is there any country that's I guess, maybe particularly more challenging to ship to when it comes to those kind of like custom regulations and things like that? Or is it more maybe on those like small island nations that have to be super strict?

Joe Monaghan: 17:05

I'm not talking about food, but just talking generally about shipping to places. I mean, you know, there are places in South America,Brazil, for example, where the accuracy of the way you describe the cargo on the documentation is really important. Even the number of units per interpack.And Master carton has to match.It's not just the total, the aggregate number of units that you're trying to import. So yeah, I mean, there's a lot of quality, quality control that has to go into moving freight to places like that. But generally,you know, it's for us, it's everyday blocking and tackling.So, you know, we don't really think about it in terms of its complexity. It's just, it's just what we do.

Blythe Brumleve: 17:51

Now, one country we haven't mentioned yet is is Mexico. And that's sort of, I guess, all the rage here in the US where, you know,there's a lot of manufacturing that's switching back over, you know, with reshoring, switching back to the United States or Mexico, Central America, even South America, do you see that trend continuing to happen in your business?

Joe Monaghan: 18:14

Absolutely. And we've made investments in Mexico, we opened up in Mexico about three years ago. And the operation there is thriving,handling a large amount of both air freight and ocean freight as well as, although we're not a customs broker, a lot of our customers asked us to coordinate the customs clearance activity with a local broker. We even gone out and done site inspections on behalf of customer for potential warehouse facilities. It's been a really interesting area for us for sure. And the interesting thing for the I think a lot of us people may not understand or realize but there's an exactly parallel dynamic going on in Europe, with nearshoring from Eastern European countries to more labor, expensive Western European countries. So that's one of the reasons why we opened up 140,000 square foot warehouse in a place called Meisler.What's Poland? Oh, wow. Yeah. So I mean, it's a fantastic location for bringing freight from other Eastern European countries and staging it either for export from the EU or distribution within the EU. And it's almost exactly parallel to the relationship between Mexico in the US.

Blythe Brumleve: 19:31

Yeah, I guess because my question would probably apply to both situations, because I would think that with the reshoring focus that a lot of US manufacturers are having to Mexico My first thought was, why hasn't this happened sooner? I would think that that would make enormous amount of sense to for,you know, just set up staging and polling Poland for European countries setup, staging, or shipping operations in Mexico.Why does it feel like it's taken long Got her to do some of these things that maybe would have,you know, that make a ton of sense?

Joe Monaghan: 20:04

Well, I think that the cost for importing things from the Far East was pretty attractive. But when you start to put a pandemic on top of it and, and increasing labor costs,even in places like China, that dynamic over time evolves and changes and different decisions are affected as a result.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:27

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Joe Monaghan: 21:52

Yeah, you know, we we had to make a decision a few years ago on make versus buy.And along with one of our other executives, Tom Peacock, I actually spent the three weeks right before the world shut down for the pandemic in India,interviewing IT people and was strongly considering building our own IT capabilities and in house software, and possibly even spinning it into a software company that marketed that software to others, once it was up and running. And after three weeks of intensive interviews and analysis, I came back and thought, well, that's a really bad idea. You could easily drop a few million dollars and ended up with nothing. So we use off the shelf software that we consider to be state of the art.And we you know, we weave it together using business intelligence tools, and API's so that systems talk to each other.And we're really happy with what we've got structured right now.I think the next step for us is probably to upgrade our warehouse management software,because we use different platforms in Europe from the US.So we're getting more and more clients who use us in both places. So it makes sense for us to rationalize that. But we are taking our time and evaluating it very carefully. And we'll probably pull the trigger on something in the next six months to a year,

Blythe Brumleve: 23:33

how is managing warehouses different in Europe than the US,

Joe Monaghan: 23:38

it's not so much that managing the warehouses is different. It's the interfaces that are different, different delivering carriers. So for example, the software that we use in the UK where we have260 1000 square foot facilities is very compatible with the last mile delivery carriers in the UK in terms of integration versus the ones the the system that we use here that integrates very nicely with UPS and FedEx and so forth.

Blythe Brumleve: 24:09

And there was another leader that I was talking to, and she mentioned that over in the UK and a lot of European countries that their shipping is different in the lens of they get more a lot of you know, businesses will get same day delivery or just get daily deliveries because their their storage areas are so much smaller. And so the warehousing,I guess, just side of the business for them or expense for them is just so different than business owners say like a restaurant owner in the United States. Is that some of what you're seeing too.

Joe Monaghan: 24:43

Yeah, in fact,that was a big consideration on how we're structured in the UK because we have a large, very modern facility that's in London proper. That gives us same day delivery capability to about 25million people. But it's an expensive place to operate.warehouse. So we operate a similar size facility in the Midlands, so that we can do longer term storage and bulk storage for products that can't afford the high cost of London warehousing and have the London warehouse very specifically for clients that need that rapid delivery within a large metro.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:22

Wow. So it really is like it you have a solution for any of any of your clients. It sounds like now I had mentioned to are you there was an interview where you had mentioned that a lot of your business comes from referrals.I'm curious if if you if you guys are actively, you know, I'm sure you have a sales team and marketing team. But I'm curious as to how you know, worldwide logistics thinks about sales and marketing in an area where you get a lot of business through referrals.

Joe Monaghan: 25:51

Yeah, I mean, we we've made a lot of investments in sales in the last few years.And we have a large sales force in the US. But we really try to find salespeople who are very highly experienced and can be consultative in their approach.Because we're not about just like throwing prices out there and trying to aggregate volume,you know, we really want to target blue chip clients that are going to be clients of ours for a long time. You know, we have many clients who have been with us for a decade or more.And actually one client was the first client that we we secured back in 1998, when we first started the company, and they still do business with us today.But still, with all that said,referrals is the main source of business opportunities that we see.

Blythe Brumleve: 26:42

Now for you just celebrated 25 years. And I know it's it's going to an impossible question to answer.But what does the I guess the coming years look like for worldwide? Are you expanding to more countries? I would imagine that you already went in 22? I think you said

Joe Monaghan: 26:59

we're in 20, we'll be in 22. Pretty soon, we have couple that are close to being completed.

Blythe Brumleve: 27:04

And then for the I guess the coming years,how are you thinking about growth? What does that look? Is it new office locations? Is it other modes of transportation?What does that look like for worldwide.

Joe Monaghan: 27:15

So from the standpoint of a global footprint, we have Asia pretty well buttoned down, you know, I don't really see us doing a lot there, we're pretty much everywhere, where we think we need to be Europe is close, we need to look at Italy as a place that we probably need to be at some point. And we'll be opening in the Netherlands, within a few months, that'll be one of those21st and 22nd that I was talking about. And when that's completed along with we have Germany,Spain, UK, Poland. So we'll have pretty good coverage in Europe,the place where we really see ourselves focused this year, and next is in South America. So we opened a huge facility in Miami,Foreign Trade Zone warehouse in Miami that's equidistant between the seaport and the airport. And we felt that a strong base of operation in Miami was the precursor or the first step toward making investments in South America. So we'll be opening offices in South America, at least two or three this year, and probably another two or three next year.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:28

I've done some I'm based in Jacksonville,Florida. And so I've done some traveling to South America and Central America. And what struck me is the amount of road construction that I saw on both of my trips to South America and Central America is that kind of is it, it almost feels like a hidden gem. It feels weird saying that about an entire continent. But it feels like South America is is a hidden gem of transportation and logistics opportunity. And I just keep hearing more and more about it.And it sounds like you guys see a lot of you know that that opportunity there as well. What do you think is I guess the biggest thing holding South America back right now,

Joe Monaghan: 29:07

just political stability is the biggest impediment. But we charge ahead,you know, I mean, there's ways for us to do business in places even if they are not optimal in terms of political stability and environmental issues. So that's what we're all about is finding a way.

Blythe Brumleve: 29:28

That's I mean,I feel like that that's a great portion to end this conversation. I know you gotta go. So give folks I guess a sense of if they've, if they want to connect with you, or if they want to get connected with worldwide logistics, where can they go to get that information?

Joe Monaghan: 29:43

So our website is www worldwide logistics ltd.com.And there's all kinds of information on their videos and lists of offices and so forth and we have representatives in And most major markets around the world and we'd love to hear from people.

Blythe Brumleve: 30:03

Absolutely. And I will make sure that I put that website address in the show notes just to make it easy for folks to check it out and see more. But Joe, this was an awesome conversation. Thank you so much.

Joe Monaghan: 30:14

Thanks, Blythe. I enjoyed it too.

Blythe Brumleve: 30:22

I hope you enjoy this episode of everything is logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. If you liked this episode, do me a favor and sign up for our newsletter. I know what you're probably thinking,oh God, another newsletter. But it's the easiest way to stay updated when new episodes are released. Plus, we drop a lot of gems in that email to help the one person marketing team and folks like yourself who are probably wearing a lot of hats at work in order to help you navigate this digital world a little bit easier. You could find that email signup link along with our socials and past episodes. Over at everything is logistics.com And until next time, I'm Blythe and go Jags

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.