The Coronavirus pandemic is having an effect on just about everyone’s lives, both personally and professionally. One Baldwin County business we talked to about a month ago has since cut out as much human contact as possible while still running an international shipping and warehousing company.
“We’re hoping we can get through this thing without a total lockdown and so far, we’ve been successful at it,” said president and owner of Keyport Warehousing, Gary Unger.
Unger is now working from home. Keyport manages more than a million square feet of warehouse space at its Loxley location. Its customers range from government contractors to private industry and its services and products are essential in many aspects. Keyport also ships products around the globe, including China, Italy and Spain. All have been hard hit by COVID-19.
“We are constantly looking at the places where the hot spots are showing up and these hot spots can influence how we ship, where we ship to, what our quantities are,” Unger explained. “It’s a constant process and it’s very, very exhausting to be honest with you.”
Unger credits operations manager, Tommy Thompson, executive VP, Dan Unger, transportation director, Dawn Beasley among others for keeping things going. So far, Keyport’s business is only off by about 10 percent and its employees are still on the job. The way they interact with each other and with customers has dramatically changed though. Trucks are checked in remotely and administrators are now exclusively working from home.
“The people and the truck drivers that come to us all day long…we really don’t know where they’re from until they get close to us,” Unger said. “They might be from New York, Chicago, California…anywhere, so we put in a touch-free system in Keyport.”
Trucks are checked in and out electronically through texting and email confirmations before they hit the road or head to the port.
“Things are going smooth and it even saves a little bit of time at the end of the day…fifteen minutes or so,” said Gulf Intermodal Services truck driver, Burt Dumas.
Keyport does a lot of business through the of the Port of Mobile, which has also felt the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Just in the month of March port officials said seven ships cancelled their call to port.