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When plywood cargo is stalled because of damaged shipping crates importers call Matt DeLuca, Sr. at Federal Warehousing located at South Jersey Ports’ Broadway Marine Terminal to the rescue. “Importers call us to make their distressed cargo shippable,” explained DeLuca, Sr. “For 25 years we have been their quality-control team. We make sure that the cargo is ‘reworked.’ We repair the crates, from repairing damaged edges to an entire rebuild of the crates and repackaging of the cargo. We make sure the cargo is secured and safe for shipment by truck, rail, or ship. And we do it quickly and at the right price.”

It’s a service that is good for the importers’ bottom line and, good for the environment – and, for the DeLuca Family, an affirmation that the South Jersey Ports is a ladder of opportunity, that even without a college degree, you can have a prosperous career and even start your own business.

While millions of tons of cargo move undamaged throughout the port, a tiny fraction becomes un-shippable because of weak crating and/or rough conditions, creating a niche business opportunity for DeLuca, Sr. DeLuca’s Federal Warehousing has been servicing 20 plywood importers at South Jersey Ports’ terminals and traveling to other ports for his clients to survey cargos that need to be “reworked.”

The plywood Federal Warehousing salvages results in significant savings and less impact on importers’ narrow profit margins. The repurposing of plywood also reduces waste in landfills and results in reducing use of one of our most precious natural resources…trees that have many benefits to our environment.

In the grand scheme of port operations, “reworking” distressed plywood cargo is a niche – but it’s a vital niche that requires skilled labor learned on the docks of the South Jersey Ports. Matt DeLuca, Sr. learned “by doing” and by developing the expertise in ‘reworking’ the cargo and earning the trust of the importers.

“It’s developing skills and relationships that three generations of the DeLuca Family learned working at the South Jersey Ports,” Matt, Sr. said. “My Dad, Joe, Sr. worked at South Jersey Ports for decades and my brother Joe Jr. and I followed in his footsteps and now my son Matt, Jr. is working at South Jersey Ports, keeping up the family tradition.”

“We’re grateful to South Jersey Ports for good jobs that made it possible to raise our middle-class families and for the opportunities where you are measured by your performance to get the job done, not by diplomas or college degrees.”

South Jersey Ports networks its’ people into an extended port family of companies, relationships and port people who mentor and share their knowledge to hone their skills and ensure the supply chain needs are met.

“I developed a relationship with one of our (South Jersey Port’s) tenants who mentored me constantly,” DeLuca, Sr. said. “They taught me the ropes of the port operations from the shippers’ and importers’ eyes. They encouraged me to take a risk and now I have my own business.”