Carver Companies : Continental Operation

Marcus KääpäTom Cullum
Marcus Kääpä - Editor Tom Cullum - Regional Director

With the logistics industry vital to the operation of projects across North America, we speak to the Carver Companies team about providing water-based logistics solutions throughout the region.

Logistics is key to the successful operation of companies and sectors nationally, regionally and internationally. 

This fact is reinforced historically as much as it is to this day. We can compare the success of armies and conquests thanks to well thought out and efficient supply chains. Thoughts of the Romans spring to mind, and their highly efficient goods transport allowing them to conquer territory at a rapid pace with well organized and freshly supplied soldiers leading their frontier.

At the same time, we can look to the necessity of logistics through the challenges of business’ adaptability over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially its major impact during 2020. In the present, COVID-19 has shown the world how vital logistical operations are to the overall fluidity and success of companies  with the likes of Amazon in a prime position and being able to answer the demand for delivered goods while government-imposed lockdowns forced the high street to cease temporarily.

North American logistics becomes a paramount aspect of smooth operation across the continent, be it by land or sea. Currently, with increasing regulations for land-based trucking transport, various forms of water logistics are becoming recognized as a cheaper mode of freight. Inland water transport, via barges for example, are growing in popularity due to the nature of water transport avoiding the urban congestion usually found with trucking transport and increasing the cost-effectiveness of moving cargo. 

Carver Companies specializes in three key areas of operation: transportation logistics including maritime and by land, construction and aggregates. With approximately 600 employees covering four different states and Canada, Carver operates around fifty barges, nine tugboats, over 100 trucks and provides a quality and efficient service for customers who wish to move cargo. 

“We’re a one-stop shop company, and we believe our philosophy is to give a cradle-to-grave business opportunity to our clients,” says Stephen Kelly, President of Sales and Business Development at Carver Companies. “We can solve all their logistic problems and that’s what makes us as a special; that’s how we’ve grown so quickly in the last decade.”

The owner of family-run Carver Companies, Carver Laraway began in the construction industry with a focus on heavy municipal work. After learning of the availability of New York States last running brick plant, Carver purchased it, with plans to renovate and modernize. Two years later his vision shifted to a deep water Port. 

“Seven years later we received approval for the operation of a private port,” Laraway explains. “We became a service for a lot of customers as there was a great need for private ports.”

For over 30 years, Carver Companies’ fundamental belief has been to provide unparalleled service all while maintaining its values of honesty and integrity both on land and sea. Carver prides itself on its unmatched logistics services and superior products to its customers, partners and tenants. The company works hard to inspire its diverse, well-rounded workforce and management team to always perform at the highest levels of safety and professionalism.

Carver Companies has a long-term vision of growth that will transform the way its clients respond to challenges. Carver becomes a business partner in comprehensive project management. The company provides resources unlike any other organization, and in turn can respond quickly to its client’s needs, no matter how unique.

This swift, professional and adaptable ability to respond to individual client needs is showcased in the company’s range of past and present projects. 

Pier 55 was one large-scale project during which Carver Companies aided in the construction and logistical efforts. The project itself is called Little Island; a public park that is designed to provide a one-of-a-kind relationship between nature and art. Made up of individual pieces, or ‘tulip pots’ of artificial land each standing on its own reinforced pile, Little Island is a unique construction project that will stand in above the water over Pier 55, and Carver is one of the collaborative teams helping bring the park to life.

Made up of delicate and tricky precast pieces and requiring on-site welding and to be shipped a substantial distance, Carver provided professional barge transportation from upstate New York all the way down to New York City. 

“Here the pieces were transported via our trucks to our port facility,” Kelly elaborates. “It was then assembled by our highly trained and skilled welders who specialized in stainless steel welding. Once complete, the pieces were floated via barge down into New York City to Pier 55 where it was offloaded by crane and installed.”

The Tappan Zee Bridge, now named the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, is another one of many examples displaying the skill and capacity of Carver Companies. The company is currently looking at providing services for offshore wind. These projects can take advantage of a 900-ton marine travel lift on site to help load offshore wind components to barges transported via water to the lease sites; loads that land-based transport such as rail would not be able to handle. The smooth and efficient operation that Carver provides its customers saves both time and money during necessary logistical periods of project development. In this way, Carver Companies identifies itself as a unique and multi-purpose business designed to provide specific solutions to each and every customer they collaborate with.

“I like to see the company as an industrial park on the water,” Laraway tells us proudly. “Customers can bring in goods from overseas and we export and find methods of transport for such goods, providing clients services from approximately four different points in the US, and another in Canada.”

And ingrained into each aspect of operation is the core mission to maintain the safety and wellbeing of all employees involved.

Carver’s commitment to safety defines the company. It strives to instil safety awareness among its employees, subcontractors, tenants, and surrounding community. Carver is committed to maintaining a safety program that actively involves all employees in identifying, preventing, and correcting workplace safety issues, and through effective training programs including classroom training, virtual, hands-on, and simulation training, Carver is able to provide the most reliable and safe services to its customers. The company’s belief is that all injuries can be prevented, and that the responsibility for company-wide safety begins with the individual.

Of those programs, the classroom-based training sees company Safety Managers perform daily and weekly safety meetings prior to work shifts and yearly safety courses making use of the best management practices. The virtual training involves a Carver employee portal with training videos for the continuation of education and refresher courses when needed. The hands-on training is on-site and includes employees performing water rescue training, crane safety training, and confined space training, all the while Carver is aiming to provide its employees with simulated training in the form of the new Vortex Advantage Immerse Training simulator. This will allow its employees to train on loaders, cranes and ship cranes, excavators, bulldozer, haul trucks, and other pieces of industry equipment to best reinforce each individual’s safety knowledge and know-how.

In the business of providing such quality and efficient services Carver’s supply chain becomes a critical element.  With a promise to its customers of handling processes from the start to end, Carver ensures that working alongside the correct business partners is a key aspect of its operation. 

 “We make sure to promise that we can meet the needs of our customers,” Kelly tells us. “From equipment companies to trucking companies and manufacturers, we have exceptionally good industry partners and vendors that help us achieve the best outcomes for all involved.”

On top of this, Carver’s employees are vital to the success of the business. 

“Most people don’t call us with an answer they call us with a problem, and we’ve trained our staff to look at all requests as an opportunity to showcase what we can do,” Laraway affirms. 

“Organization and commitment are key, and we also ensure to recognize our employees’ efforts by promoting from within where we can. As most of our staff are boots-on-the-ground workers leadership skill is more than just office management. On-site leadership and professional and experienced individuals fuel our operations, and alongside our dedicated sales team Carver provides and achieves the quality level of work shown in our past projects across the board.”

With its people at the heart of company operations Carver makes sure to incorporate the local community in what they do. The company is family-owned and run, and so people and communities become an integral part to the nature of Carver and where it operates. Sydney Kane, Marketing and Branding Specialist at the company, elaborates.

“Carver strives to help out the local community in any way it can,” she tells us. “We have hosted a holiday toy donation drive in which toys are donated to the local communities including children’s hospitals. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is also a core part of our company values and we mark this by doing things such as wearing pink shirts on Fridays, and on top of this we collaborate with many other local businesses to host community events and outreach programs across each of our locations.” 

On top of this Carver makes sure that its operations remain environmentally compliant in all aspects. For employees, tenants and subcontractors, it is imperative for Carver that they comply with governmental rules, regulations, and permit requirements, as well as conducting operations in a way that is protective of the environment by reusing and recycling materials, minimizing waste and assisting company customers to efficiently achieve environmental business goals.

These efforts include maintaining the necessary permits for operation as well as enveloping community responsibility. Carver has established a Safety Director to provide expertise, guidance, and resources to its employees due to the company operating across multiple highly regulated and specialized industries. The company’s employees are expected to understand and comply with all laws and regulations, to seek guidance for any questions or concerns, and to report any known or suspected non-compliance condition.

Moving forward into the rest of the year and beyond, Carver has its sight set on the in-house development of its employees. The company is looking to build a training center with the capacity of 500 individuals, and on top of this is looking into providing training certifications with which to certify external client businesses in the sector. 

With flexible and professional services at its disposal, it is worth keeping an eye on Carver Companies and its logistics solutions.

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By Tom Cullum Regional Director