Caribbean Shipping Services

Another Family Business Profile from FBE…

caraibbean shipping services

In 1993, Paul and Julie Robbins founded Caribbean Shipping Services (CSS) , a successful shipping company in Jacksonville, Florida that provides third party logistics in transporting both dry and temperature sensitive commodities. Both Paul and Julie had worked in different capacities in the shipping industry before starting the company from scratch. Paul capitalized the business by selling his Harley-Davidson motorcycle for $10,000 and borrowing another $7,000 on a credit card. It was a risk, but the Robbins saw an opportunity and followed their instincts to quick success.

Caribbean Shipping Services experienced explosive growth during its first six years and within eight years the company was honored twice as Inc. Magazine’s No. 1 fastest-growing inner-city business. Its sister company, Caribbean Cold Storage, provides a full range of refrigerated shipping and storage services, and the company has recently added a trucking operation as well. CSS revenues are approaching $40 million in sales and the company ranks as the largest 3-party logistics (3PL) company serving Puerto Rico.

Discovering A Niche: The Travel Agent Approach

While other companies offer some of the same services, Paul and Julie Robbins identified a niche that they describe as the “asset-based travel agent” approach. They developed the infrastructure of their company so that they could offer one-stop shopping and provide all the import/export services, ocean and inland shipping, materials handling and storage services – all under one roof.

Secret To Success:

An Eye On The Future

The Robbins have poured a lot of time and energy into management training and typically promote management from within. Caribbean Shipping Services invests heavily in people and efficiencies and systems, and over the years those investments have paid off. Today, the company continues to grow annually at about 10-15%.

During their first few years of meteoric growth, Paul and Julie were focused on the business without giving a lot of thought to succession. Julie’s sister and brother-in-law have been in the business for years but it wasn't until Paul’s son by a previous marriage and Julie’s niece entered the business that Paul and Julie “felt a need” to pursue development of a succession strategy. The couple also has a son, Zachary, who is only eight but already considered a part of the long-term plan.

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