Charles Raymond, President & CEO
The logistics industry is rapidly evolving from its dependency on antiquated systems to new technologies for overcoming operational challenges. However, reliance on new technologies alone will not solve the operational challenges for companies. With the large number of stakeholders involved in transporting a product from source to destination, companies often get caught up in a mix without the ability to streamline their supply chain.
Ray-Mont Logistics solves these challenges with its innovative vertical integration strategy. The company has pioneered an integrated logistics solution by aligning its terminal logistics services, including loading, storage, packaging, and local transportation, with its ocean freight forwarding and container cargo business. This vertical integration strategy enhances cargo fluidity and efficiency while ensuring shorter turnaround times and higher quality of services. More importantly, it solves customers' operational challenges as they now have a single point of contact for all services.
Turning Challenges into Opportunities
The journey of Ray-Mont Logistics traces back to 1992 when Francois Raymond established it as a trucking company (Transport Ray-Mont 1992) in Montreal. He soon realized that his assets were not being optimally utilized in the existing method of operations. The idea dawned upon him that operational efficiency could be increased by detaching the containers from the chassis. This would benefit the companies as they can keep the same chassis in rotation and utilize their assets more efficiently.
In 1994, he formed a transloading company named Raymond Containers, which operated under the same principle. The company was renamed as Ray-Mont Logistics in 2005. By 2009, Ray-Mont Logistics came up with its integrated logistics solution to deliver value-added services across the supply chain.
"By combining ocean freight forwarding and terminal operations, we have been able to better utilize our assets and double the efficiencies. It is a win for all parties. Customers now have one source for both services, and ocean carriers know that we are not only responsible for logistics and freight forwarding, but also physically transloading the cargo," says Stephen Paul, vice president of supply chain at Ray-Mont Logistics.
Ray-Mont Logistics currently owns and operates three facilities in Prince Rupert, Vancouver, and Montreal in Canada, along with two facilities in the United States (Seattle & Charleston).
Rail service providers that move the cargo to these facilities are assured of the safe and timely return of their rail equipment through its integrated method. With complete control over the ocean carriers and logistics, the company ensures faster turnaround of rail equipment and drives efficiencies.
This integrated approach also allows Ray-Mont Logistics to effectively conduct its operations with the available resources when a problem arises. For instance, if an ocean carrier is unable to provide the equipment to transport a shipment from North America to Europe on a given day, Ray-Mont Logistics can immediately switch to an alternate carrier to avoid delays. While the price may vary with a change of carrier, the cost of idle equipment far outweighs any increase in freight charges.
A Measured Approach to Success
Ray-Mont Logistics follows a systematic process while engaging with clients to deliver the complete benefits of its vertically integrated service. The company quotes an all-inclusive price for its services that covers ocean freight and transloading to logistics.
Once the price is locked in, customers don't have to pay any additional charges for changes that may occur to the planned operations. The integrated method assures clients that Ray-Mont Logistics will get the job done on time and for the quoted price.
In A People-First Business Like Logistics, It Is Imperative To Have Employees Who Have The Right Attitude, Are Committed To Driving Innovative Solutions For Clients, And Function As A Cohesive Unit
Ray-Mont Logistics, through collaboration with CN rail, then moves the cargo to its site after terminal authorization is approved. It offers different services for loading, depending on commodity, origin, and destination requirements.
After the cargo is confirmed and accepted, Ray- Mont proceeds to make bookings with ocean carriers to complete the supply chain solution. At this point, the company's export logistics agents engage with clients to ensure that all their instructions are followed and the shipment is loaded per client specifications.
All containers are sealed under ISO-certified processes and delivered to the vessel for transport on schedule. Meanwhile, the documentation team works with the clients to complete the necessary paperwork and ensure that their bills are ready for the timely collection of the cargo overseas.
Built on Core Values
Ray-Mont's core values of quality, flexibility, and innovation, combined with a carefully planned approach, have been the key to efficient customer service. The company works diligently to customize its services, listening to concerns and creating innovative solutions that fulfill customer needs.
"Our in-house, custom-designed software enables us to adapt to the specific needs of the customer and the industry. If the client wants electronic integration through API or EDI, or custom reporting, we accommodate those requirements," says Paul.
In one instance, Ray-Mont Logistics' services were solicited by a multinational chemical corporation. Traditionally, petrochemical manufacturers would ship their cargo to a warehouse and wait until they resolve logistical bottlenecks, such as lack of equipment and vessel space.
Ray-Mont pitched their Integrated Logistics Solution to improve their operational efficiency by completely eliminating the warehouse. The client was reluctant to adopt the dramatically different approach. They were skeptical about the company's ability to execute the plan. After a few trials, Ray-Mont was able to demonstrate to the client that it was indeed possible to remove the warehouse from the equation by combining the loading and ocean logistics services.
By Combining Ocean Freight Forwarding And Terminal Operations, We Have Been Able To Better Utilize Our Assets And Double The Efficiencies
Key to operational efficiency, they detached the containers from the chassis and stacked them vertically in the yard, freeing up space, allowing the business to grow rapidly while maintaining a small footprint, and bringing about more fluidity in the movement of their goods.
Cultivating the Right Work Culture
To nurture an innovative spirit at work, Ray-Mont Logistics instills the principles of attitude, commitment, and performance in its employees. "In a people-first business like logistics, it is imperative to have employees who have the right attitude, are committed to driving innovative solutions for clients, and function as a cohesive unit," says Paul.
The Ray-Mont Logistics team also takes part in various social welfare programs. In 2016, the company was appointed as the designated agent for the World Food Programme in Canada. Despite the higher logistics costs of moving goods from Canada during the pandemic, Ray-Mont played a significant role in helping deliver food to countries in need, given their ability to execute the time-sensitive transactions.
Keeping up with emerging technologies, Ray-Mont Logistics has invested significantly in IT development and AI projects to increase the efficiency of its staff and provide more visibility to customers. It plans to expand its operations in the U.S. and Canada. Providing services that support the growth of its customers and itself, Ray- Mont Logistics continues to think differently, to make the export supply chain more efficient for its clients.