The Delivery People, which started on Maui in 2006 as a cartage company, offers a wide range of transportation services—air, ocean freight, storage, warehousing, pick-up and delivery, and more—within Hawaii and now has locations in Guam, Micronesia, American Samoa, California, Alaska, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

Kimberly Ross, president of The Delivery People, told Pacific Business News about the company’s plans for growth. “We see great potential across the nation to bring our professionalism and expertise to new and existing markets, so I can comfortably say that, yes, we have plans to grow our business and the services we offer.”

PBN also asked about the company’s most pressing challenges and its strategies to solve them.

What is currently your biggest challenge, and how do you plan to overcome it? 

Without a doubt, the high and fluctuating price of fuel is our biggest challenge in this second half of 2022, and that would be followed by the very tight post-pandemic labor market, not just in Hawaii but across our primary markets in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, California, Alaska, Florida, and Puerto Rico. The same fundamentals are driving costs up in all of these markets.

What was your strategy for making it through the pandemic? Has the pandemic permanently changed anything about the way you operate? 

The Delivery People (TDP) is fortunate to have multiple, well-established shipping options and partnerships that have enabled us to navigate the many challenges presented by the pandemic. For example, when ocean shipping almost came to a global standstill, TDP turned to our air cargo partners, who, in some cases, were able to scale up their operations and help relieve part of the huge cargo backlogs, especially when it came to oversize shipments, where we at TDP are industry specialists.

Have your shipping rates increased, and if so, why?

TDP has always worked closely with our customers and long-time partners, so they understand the business drivers that impact the freight forwarder’s shipping and operational costs. The recent more-than-doubling of fuel prices is something [that] continues to impact us all, but provided we continue to clearly explain the reasons for any price adjustments, most customers accept and understand.

Many businesses are pointing to staffing as being particularly challenging right now. How are you addressing recruiting and retention? What is the average pay rate for truck drivers in Hawaii?

Yes, as previously mentioned, staffing has been an issue for almost every business following the global pandemic. People’s attitudes toward their work have shifted as a result of the lengthy lockdowns, and many now want to spend more time with their families. That means there are fewer people looking for jobs, and it has put upward pressure on pay rates across all sectors of the job market.

But at TDP, we have always prided ourselves on being a close-knit ohana, and we are very proud of our company culture and the way we look out for each other. This makes recruiting and retention less challenging for TDP than perhaps for some other employers.

Has your company made any recent investments? 

TDP is continually investing in the growth and development of our people and the tools they need to keep our place at the forefront of this freight forwarding business. For example, during the pandemic, we invested significantly in technology, introducing a state-of-the-art digital platform that makes business for our customers easier, timelier, and more cost-effective. We have made and will continue to make those investments in our team members, technology, and best-in-class equipment and facilities.