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VOL. 127 | NO. 101 | Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Export Growth Earns Mallory ‘E’ Star Award

By Bill Dries

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Mallory Alexander International Logistics has capped eight years of successive export growth with the President’s “E” Star award to go with the Presidential "E" award the company earned in 2006

(Photo Courtesy of Ruth David)

The "E" Star award, given May 17 in Washington at a White House ceremony, is the highest recognition the federal government gives for contributions to the expansion of U.S. exports, including helping other U.S. companies export goods.

“You always hear that the trade imbalance in imports is so great. But exports have grown almost every year since 1961 when President Kennedy put this initiative in,” said Neely Mallory III, president of The Mallory Group. “The economy has been down here. It’s been down worldwide. But there are opportunities in export markets.”

David Spann, a U.S. export assistance director with the U.S. Commerce Department’s Memphis office, talked with Mallory about its export activity and submitted some case studies of the company’s specific efforts in Venezuela and India that led to the designations and awards.

“They have been certified as an ‘E’ star holder and they are authorized to use the ‘E’ star logo and emblems on all of their websites … and any other place they would like to use it in perpetuity,” Spann said. “Not only have they increased their own export activity, but they’ve been pretty instrumental in helping a number of other companies increase their export activity.”

The designations are for manufacturing imports not agricultural products, which are a large part of Mallory Alexander’s business as well as its heritage.

The company began as Memphis Compress and Storage Company in 1925, storing cotton and handling other needs from a South Memphis base for cotton merchants and producers in the region. The company was a major part of the city’s economic expansion and diversity.

By the 1960s and 1970s, Memphis Compress had expanded to the warehouse business, handling and transporting more than cotton with local truck delivery. That truck delivery grew to an international reach with air and ocean shipping. And Mallory acquired Alexander International, a multi-function transportation company, in 1971 as a subsidiary of the Mallory Group.

“The economy has been down ... worldwide. But there are opportunities in export markets.”

–Neely Mallory III
President, The Mallory Group

The recent years have been tough even though it’s seen new nations joining the global economy with a growth in markets that has been unprecedented.

“People fear the unknown and it isn’t exactly like selling to someone around the corner,” Mallory said. “I think many people will find a very smooth transition into the export market and their money will be protected and they can gain some new customers around the globe.”

Mallory gives the U.S. Commerce Department a lot of credit for helping introduce U.S. companies that might not have considered the export market while also giving them guidance on what to expect and helping with technical assistance as well.

The Obama administration has a goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2014. Mallory said he’s noticed an upturn since 2008 when things got rocky.

“Our business has been growing quite a bit. We had a real downturn here at Mallory. I guess people tightened their belts and were going to hold onto their money and were scared of what was the unknown,” he said. “But our business has really come back since ’08. Our revenues are up. Our export volume is up tremendously since ’08. I think there are some positives there that we are seeing from our customers.”

And the company has changed its outlook on what it provides during that time as well.

“There was a time we tried to do everything and that just didn’t do us any good. We’re not always the lowest-cost provider,” Mallory said. “Our goal is to try to design something that will help our customers deliver their products in a timely basis to meet their customers’ demands. We’ve been gaining a lot of business in the last few years.”

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