Grupo Sesé, a major Spanish road transport and logistics company that handles freight for many large European companies, including Volkswagen, came to Chattanooga, Tenn., In late 2012 to service VW’s American assembly plant.
But from the growing logistics hub of Chattanooga, Sese is building a North American hub to become a much bigger player in the American logistics market.
After modest growth in its first four years, Sesé has targeted North America for the growth of its freight trucking, warehousing and shipping business. The company hired Charles Oeleis, a 25-year industry veteran who previously served as Global Account Director for UPS and Business Development Manager for Carlile Transportation Systems, as Sesé’s first North American CEO.
Oeleis brought in a seasoned team of former UPS managers to grow the business from their office and warehouses in Chattanooga and San Antonio.
“My goal as an organization is to get the right leadership with the right skills and the right people to lead the organization,” said Oeleis. “I’m a strong believer in growing an organization behind people and the culture you build for people, and I believe I have the best global leadership team in the business. “
Already, Sesé Logistics has doubled its activity in North America over the past year, bringing the US workforce to around 110 employees. Oeleis hopes to further double its turnover in the coming years. The company recently moved into its new 60,000 square foot office and warehouse in Ooltewah, Tenn.
“Our focus is development in Chattanooga, not only for our transportation business, but also for our distribution and warehouse,” Oeleis said during a grand opening celebration last weekend of the company’s facilities. on Production Lane, just off Interstate 75. in Ooltewah. “We will continue to grow here locally. “
Sesé is growing at a time when the industry’s main trade federation, American Trucking Associations, estimates there is a shortage of at least 50,000 drivers nationwide. So far this year, the turnover rate for large full-truck carriers has reached almost 98%, which means most companies must hire as many drivers as their current workforce each year.
But unlike most trucking companies, Sesé has more drivers than trucks. Under the leadership of Randy Leach, another former UPS executive for 39 years and COO of Sesé Logistics in North America, the company has recruited female drivers to represent more than 20% of its driving workforce, or double the industry average. The company created a women-only space at its Chattanooga plant, and Leach said the company has recruited more female recruiters and worked to promote a more inclusive and supportive culture for drivers.
As a relatively small player in the US trucking market of over 3 million drivers, Sesé also offers various mileage, compensation, benefits and scheduling options to attract different long haul drivers.
“Our benefit package, in our opinion, is one of the best in the industry,” Leach said. “We have worked hard to create a culture where people are comfortable and feel valued. “
Sesé driver Sharae Moore started SHE Trucking Apparel, a women’s trucking clothing brand, and Moore has helped recruit more female drivers through this business and her work with groups such as Girls Inc. at Chattanooga.
Thanks to his early work with Volkswagen and the auto industry, much of Sesé’s shipments crossed the Mexican and Canadian border, so the new trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada that replaces the NAFTA is essential for the growth of international business. But Jim Thibault, a 30-year UPS veteran hired at Sesé as chief technology and innovation officer, said the company is growing in all areas of the industry and expanding in more areas. warehousing, freight brokerage, distribution and other logistics sectors beyond simple long-haul trucking.
“We have the advantages of being part of a global company, but we are still quite small and able to adapt to the needs of consumers and the market here in North America,” said Thibault. “It’s a huge industry with a lot of players, and we are seeing real opportunities for growth.”