As an 18-year-old student living in Cyprus, Ozan Baran opened his first business in 1994, trucking oranges around the island nation.
“I went bankrupt,” he said. “It was a great learning experience.”
This setback did not discourage the Turkish native from getting involved in business again. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in international relations at Girne American University in Cyprus, Baran moved to Miami to live with his sister. He arrived in 1999 with $600 in savings.
“I worked at Royal Caribbean and then as general manager of Pasha’s [Mediterranean] restaurants,” Baran said. “I used to drive by the Port of Miami [now PortMiami], and it made me think about the opportunities here for logistics. I saved my money, and in 2005, bought my first truck and started my company.”
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Using his savings and credit, the entrepreneur bought a flatbed truck for moving shipping containers and founded BOS Transport to move freight throughout Florida. BOS represents the initials of the first name of Baran, his mother Baysan and sister Simten.
“I worked very hard — 10-12 hours every day of the week,” Baran said. Demand for reliable trucking service was high, and by providing personal attention and excellent service, his business grew with the help of word-of-mouth recommendations. A few years later, he set up a small warehouse in Hialeah, bought more trucks, and hired more employees.
Over the years, BOS Transport evolved into the BOS Group, a major third-party logistics provider based in Miami. Its divisions provide trucking, warehouse, freight, fulfillment and other services and include BOS Transport, BOS Cargo, BOS Warehouse and a popular office rental facility at the headquarters building called BOS Business Center.
Bazan’s company has grown from a single flatbed truck into an enterprise that has more than 180 employees, a large fleet of tractor-trailers, revenues of over $10 million in 2016, and 250 domestic and international clients. The company, which has siding along the Florida East Coast Railway and is next door to Miami International Airport, operates out of a 56,000 square-foot headquarters and warehouse building. To help it keep up with the demand of moving containers in and out of PortMiami and Port Everglades, BOS is building a 125,000-square-foot warehouse a few blocks away, adding new trucks, trailers and other equipment, and hiring more personnel.
“As we grew, I saw new opportunities and studied each one before investing,” he said. For instance, he noticed that many foreign firms working in international trade needed small, economical office spaces, so he converted part of his headquarters into attractive, furnished spaces that are fully booked. He plans to apply this concept in other cities.
In 2015, he launched a new division, Quickload, a fee-based platform that allows shippers and truckers to connect through an app so that vacant space on trailers can be used. Trucking companies, which often see their trucks carrying only partial cargo loads, can line up guaranteed volumes for each route, thus increasing their revenues. And companies that want to ship freight can use Quickload to find available space on trucks and negotiate their own prices.
Walking through the Allapattah warehouse packed with slabs of marble, stacks of glass sheets for condo towers, nonperishable foods and a refrigerated section filled with Danish cheese and chocolates, Baran talked about plans to expand operations in other states and in Europe.
“International trade is growing,” Baran said. “In the next five years, I would like to open warehouses and business centers in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta and Houston. The goal is eventually to go public.”
Company name: BOS Group.
Founded: 2005 in Miami as BOS Transport.
Founder, owner and CEO: Ozan Baran.
Financials: Revenues were over $10 million in 2016, Baran said, and they’re projected to grow by 15-20 percent this year.
The difference: BOS combines its trucking and logistics services with office space rentals. It offers Quickload, an app that matches shippers to open cargo space in trucks and allows them to set their price. “Customer care is critical. I’m always available and customers have my cell number,” Baran said.
Clients: More than 250 small and large customers, including 50 overseas. The biggest customers are Red Bull (made only in Europe and shipped worldwide) and DSV Air & Sea Inc., which uses BOS to move Danish cheese here. Other big clients are Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Walmart
Competitors: AAA Cooper Transportation, Central Transport and other companies in trucking and logistics.
Headquarters: 2792 NW 24th St., Miami (Allapattah).
Client view: DSV Air & Sea, a global transport and logistics company based in Denmark, has been doing business with BOS for nine years, using their trucking and warehouse services to handle their freight.
“The main reasons we chose working with BOS and have stayed with them for so many years are because they are a good, honest company, and the owner is personally involved. So if any issues need to be resolved, they get resolved,” said Michael Thybo, branch manager for DSV in Miami. “Compared to other companies I have worked with in Miami, I would give them a rating of 10 on a scale from 1-10. They are very responsible and you can always get ahold of them. They do their best to serve us and our customers, always going the extra mile. We trust each other.”
Business lesson: Baran said that going bankrupt with his first business effort in Cyprus taught him what not to do.
Best decision: Leaving Cyprus for Miami.
Challenges: One of the biggest challenges is port hours at PortMiami and Port Everglades, he said. The ports have limited hours for trucks to enter and load/unload containers, and trucks often line up for hours at the ports, waiting for the gates to open.
Strategy and outlook: Continue growing the trucking and logistics businesses in Florida, other parts of the country and Europe as trade an logistics continue to expand.
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