LOS ANGELES — 25 years ago Sterling Transportation was founded with a specific mission: Move cargo from Los Angeles to Miami better and faster than anyone else.
Keith Davis, founder and CEO, started Sterling Air Cargo in 1990 with $700, a broken table and a borrowed typewriter. Three years later, Sterling Transportation was formed to focus solely on the West Coast to Florida lane.
Davis’ previous experience was primarily in air freight forwarding. His initial goal for his trucking company, Sterling Transportation, was to combine the communication strategies from his air cargo business with excellent customer relationships and reliable service. In keeping the scope of service focused, it allowed them more control of their process and promised a higher probability of success. “The more you take on – the bigger and wider you are spread – the harder it is to control and to deliver,” said Davis.
In an industry where the trend was to try to be ‘all things to all people,’ many thought it was crazy to specialize on one small niche. For other companies it was a relief to have someone stepping into the difficult Florida route. They began calling Sterling to handle freight destined for this challenging, often one-way, market.
Sterling Transportation soon added Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville as destinations. As a result, they have become the best option for moving freight from Los Angeles to Florida in 3-days.
In recent years, Davis has begun to look beyond his own company to taking a more active role in the industry. By being a fixture at most cargo-related conferences & conventions and joining associations & advocacy groups, he is hoping Sterling Transportation can set trends and support the trucking industry during a volatile and increasingly regulated period. “I am proud to be an AFA member as well as a board member. Our industry is facing some difficult times. I want Sterling to continue be the best transportation company possible,” said Davis.
Keith knows that Sterling Transportation would not be what it is today without the hard work, support, loyalty and trust of many people. “I want to give a sincere thanks to everyone who has supported Sterling Transportation in the last 25 years. My current staff of superstars help maintain the high-level of service we have established. But I owe a debt of gratitude to former employees as well. They laid the foundation the company is built on. Without the support of our key vendors, Sterling Transportation would not be the success that we are. And, of course, my appreciation for our loyal clients, many of whom have been there almost since day one. We provide excellent, consistent service with the best teamwork and passion in the transportation industry.”
Over the past quarter century, Sterling Transportation has weathered many storms and seen competitors come and go. The company persevered and has grown significantly since its inception. They are bonded by U.S. Customs for movement of cargo within the United States. In addition, they operate a Container Freight Station out of their facility at LAX with drayage and local pickup & delivery. Davis launched Sterling Brokerage Services in 2011 to offer FTL and LTL nationwide.
Sterling Transportation has become a huge success by focusing on a niche and by always striving to be the best. “Don’t be afraid to try new things and be different,” advises Davis. “Service your clients but don’t forget to take care of your employees and vendors. And, particularly in the current climate, trucking companies need to work together for the good of the entire industry.”