Close to completing seventy years in business, Sobel Networkig Shipping Co. is one of the most important freight operators in the United States with activities all over the world. Although its main focus is China, Sobel also does business in Brazil, one of the world’s largest countries in terms of freight volume, so large that Sobel operates in all of ports.
Totally licensed and insured, Sobel has more than two thousand clients in its portfolio, mainly in the food, beverage, footwear and apparel sectors. This year, the company expects to ship ten thousand containers overseas, a number that not only shows the power of a well consolidated business, but demonstrates its stamina for growth as well. With this remarkable growth, this year’s revenue more than doubled from last year — $8 million to $17 million.
Brian C. Wills, President and CEO of Sobel Network Shipping Co., Inc., is in command of this big company. He has more than 25 years of progressively responsible experience in international trade and logistics.
Brian acquired Sobel Shipping Co., Inc. on December 31, 2014 and has led the company through survival, turnaround, and growth modes. Through his analytical capabilities and knowledge of best practices in logistics operations, the company’s sales have increased 80% and improved effectiveness of functional business processes from the integration of new agents, logistics service providers, and marketing.
Prior to purchasing Sobel Shipping Co., Inc., Brian was Vice President, and Director of Operations, at several leading freight forwarders and customs brokers. Brian built a strong foundation of industrial experience responsible for both compliance and sales. He has been a licensed customs broker for over 20 years. The businessman has served on the Board of the JFK Brokers Association and the NY/NJ Foreign Freight Forwarders Brokers Assoc. board of directors for many years.
On January 1, 2018, Sobel Shipping Co., Inc. acquired Network Brokers International and Sobel Network Shipping Co., Inc. was formed. This newly formed entity included the team of Network Brokers International Inc.
Today, Brian C. Wills, President of Sobel Network Shipping Co., Inc., continues that customer focused legacy, nurturing strong relationships and leveraging modern technology. Brian has a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Queens College.
BizBrazil talked with its CEO, Brian C. Wills, who gave us a better perspective of the operation of the international freight business and Sobel’s importance in this very profitable market, where Brazil plays one of the main roles.
BizBrazil Magazine – Can you explain how Sobel Networking Shipping Co. Inc. was created?
Brian C. Wills – Sobel Shipping Co., Inc., was established in 1949 in New York City. In 2015, Sobel Shipping Co. Inc. moved to Rockville Centre, NY. Under our new president, Brian C. Wills’ ownership, sales have increased by 80%. In the beginning of 2018, Sobel Network Shipping Co., Inc. was formed, Sobel Shipping Co. Inc. acquired Network Brokers International Inc. This newly formed company now has over 100 years of experience combined between two reputable companies.
BBM – How much time is necessary to get a license from American agencies? And international agencies like IATA? Why is so important to have those certificates? Is it possible work import/export without these approvals?
BCW – In reference to a Customs Brokerage License, one must pass an exam and an extensive background check. I think it is imperative for all traditional Customs Brokers to transition into a full fledged freight forwarder nowadays. Although Sobel Network Shipping Co., Inc. started off as a traditional broker, we are now a fully licensed FMC, NVOCC, IATA, and CNS freight forwarder. I strongly feel that without the licenses, you are very limited for growth and proving a door to door logistics solution.
BBM – Which ports does Sobel operate in the USA? And in Brazil? Why does the company choose those ports? Are they more profitable?
BCW – Sobel operates at all ports in the USA and Brazil. We are choosing the ports as per: best routing, cheapest routing, and as per the consignee’s specific requests. Sobel Network Shipping Co., Inc. are capable of clearing in each and every state of USA include Alaska and Hawaii.
BBM – What kind of products does Sobel usually transport more often? Which products are more complicated to transport? Why?
BCW – Although we are skilled in various areas, our core expertise is food, apparel, footwear, tradeshow material, wine and spirits. The products that are more complicated to transport would be those that require special instructions. For example, certain foods like cheese require a refrigerated truck and entail a fast transit time. Another example is chemicals that are HAZMAT (hazardous material). These must be sent out a certain way to ensure the safety of the driver and everyone involved with handling that merchandise.
BBM – Besides Brazil, which countries does Sobel transport to? Which one is the busiest?
BCW – Sobel Network Shipping uses countries all over the world. China is the busiest.
BBM – How long is the transit time of a cargo voyage from here to Brazil? Does the company keep the ships there to come back to USA bringing goods or do the ships come back empty?
BCW – It takes 29 days to move cargo to Brazil. Sobel Network Shipping Co., Inc. does not own ships, the steamship line does.
BBM – What were Sobel’s revenues and profits last year? What is this year’s estimate?
BCW – The revenue for 2017 was $8.000.000. 2018 will be around $17,000,000.
BBM – How many clients does the company have? How many containers were transported last year? Do you have any estimate for this year?
BCW – The company has over 2000 clients. There were 6,044 containers transported last year. The estimate for this year is 10,000.
BBM – Sobel will turn 70 years old next year. Are you preparing any event to celebrate this anniversary? If so, what kind of event are you planning?
BCW – We are currently building a state of the art 3300 square foot facility, which will be ready by the beginning of 2019. Although 70 years is a huge milestone for us, we are going to have a lavish party for our 75th anniversary.