Woman-Owned Customhouse Broker and Freight Forwarder Turns 100

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Photography: Edwin Remsberg | Remsberg, Inc.
Shapiro celebrates it’s 100th Anniversary at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

 

Shapiro, a leader in global transportation and regulatory compliance, celebrated its 100th year of serving the logistics community with customers, vendors, employees, and family and friends by hosting a series of events including an evening gala at the Baltimore Museum of Industry; a tour of their new Baltimore headquarters in Locust Point; a Logistics & Supply Chain panel; and several tables at the Propeller Club’s Annual Crab Feast.

The business began in August of 1915 when a 21-year-old young man named Sam Shapiro opened his doors at 29 S. Gay Street with two employees and a $5.00 roll top desk.    In the early years, developing European foreign partnerships helped to build the business while Sam worked to strengthen relationships with the Port of Baltimore.  In fact, it was he who worked tirelessly along with Helen Delich Bentley for the autonomy of the Maryland Port Administration.

Sigmund, Sam’s son and the second generation owner, was interested in streamlining the work of Customs.  He focused heavily on bridging the gap between Customs and the brokerage/forwarding industry to accomplish his goals– many of which are part of the regulations today.

The business has retained four strong pillars since its founding: integrity; honor; respect for its clients and staff; and the ability to implement change. Margie Shapiro, the granddaughter of Sam and daughter of Sig, has continued in the footsteps set by her predecessors while also forging a new path. Under her leadership, the company has gained a tremendous reputation for cargo technology solutions and more than quadrupled their freight business, while maintaining their strengths in regulatory compliance and business integrity.  Ms. Shapiro frequently cites the company’s unique culture and quirky cast of characters as the driving force behind Shapiro’s success.

Shapiro held an evening celebration at the Baltimore Museum of Industry on August 12, 2015 to commemorate its centennial.  The event, produced by Feats, Inc. and catered by The Classic Catering People, featured the following iconic speakers:

Helen Delich Bentley, for whom the Port of Baltimore is named

Elijah Cummings, U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 7th congressional district

Richard Lidinsky, Federal Maritime Commission Commissioner

Paul Sarbanes, former U.S. Senator and Congressman (and father of John Sarbanes)

Although due to ill health Sig Shapiro was unable to attend, his sentiments were eloquently delivered by his wife, Barbara Shapiro, and an empty chair was placed onstage to honor his presence.  The company’s VP of Strategy, Robert Burdette, then gently “roasted” Ms. Shapiro.  In perfect harmony with the Company’s quirky humor, CEO and President, Margie Shapiro, ended the speeches with one of her infamous limericks which closed as follows:

“Despite the great number of years

The two wars, the “terror”, and fears

Still true to our core

And eager for more

Thanks to all of you– and with cheers!”

Shapiro’s annual seminar series was held the following morning, Thursday, August 13, at the Hotel Monaco Baltimore.  The presentation was in panel format moderated by the Company’s Director of Supply Chain, Angela Czajkowski.  Featured panelists weighed in on four main topics:

The Ever-Changing International Freight Environment

Andre Dickemann, Vice President of Logistics and Distribution, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet

John Gilmore, Director of East Region Sales, Maersk Line

James Caradonna, General Manager of Pricing Americas, M+R Spedag Group (HK)

Robert Burdette, Vice President of Strategy, Shapiro

Shipping Compliance: Current Landscape and Evolution

Matthew Travis, Maryland/D.C. State Plant Health Inspector, USDA & APHIS

David Ng, Supervisory Agriculture Specialist, Customs and Border Protection

Michele Dunkle, International Trade Compliance Manager, Northrop Grumman Corp

Supply Chain Technology

Neil Barni, President, CargoSphere

Eric Johnson, Research Director and IT Editor, American Shipper

Bob Kimmel, Director of IT, Shapiro

U.S. & Foreign Port Infrastructure and Surface Transportation

Joe Greco, Director of Intermodal/Trade Development, Maryland Port Administration

Jim Frostick, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Intermodal Management System

Walter Riedel, Director of Business Development, AMTrans Logistics (Brazil)

Matthew Kobussen, Director of Global Logistics, Shapiro

Following the seminar, the Company shuttled employees and guests to the Propeller Club’s annual Crab Feast at Conrad Ruth’s Villa in Middle River, MD.  The event, which attracts thousands, is arguably the most popular industry gathering of the year.  The feast is a fundraiser for the Propeller Club, enabling the group to make significant contributions to various non-profit maritime organizations.

Shapiro would like to thank everyone who joined them and reached out during this remarkable time in the Company’s history and future.

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