In 2023, NFI expanded our North American footprint and continued to deliver innovative new products — it has been a year that makes us incredibly proud. It would not have been possible without our almost 17,000 employees and partners working tirelessly to expand our growing business, advance innovation, foster a cleaner environment, and champion diversity and inclusion. Here’s a little of what our teams accomplished this year:
In December, NFI and the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) marked the opening of Savannah’s newest transloading facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. This project, a first-of-its-kind in the transloading space, tackles previous port capacity issues by capitalizing on the GPA’s visionary approach, NFI’s operational prowess, and Savannah’s promising trajectory toward an expanding and optimized supply chain.
Earlier in the year, we acquired SDR Distribution, a multichannel provider of custom warehousing and distribution solutions in Canada and the US. The acquisition expanded our fashion and retail customer base, doubled our distribution footprint in Canada, and solidified our standing as one of Canada’s top warehouse and distribution companies.
Throughout the year, the NFI eCom team has onboarded customers in the health and wellness, fashion and apparel, and home goods categories; created individualized packaging; and provided diverse shipping methods through our multi-carrier portfolio informed with clear tracking and push notifications.
Our eCommerce experts have contributed their insights throughout the year. Check out what they had to say:
This year, NFI officially launched Boston Dynamics’ robot, Stretch, in our Port Wentworth, GA, warehousing operation. After a $10 million investment to pilot the technology was signed in 2022, the Boston Dynamics and NFI engineering teams worked diligently to launch the first robots to automate container unloading. The investment aligns with NFI’s Applied Innovation focus, which pilots new technologies to demonstrate a real-world application within operations before scaling across our North American network.
“With Stretch, we will enhance the movement of freight through our facilities while providing a safer environment for our employees,” said Sid Brown, CEO of NFI.
NFI added to its innovation portfolio by piloting Gather AI’s drones to support inventory management for our customers. The drones made over 160 flights and scanned upwards of 10,000 locations.
NFI was awarded the 2023 “In It for the Long Haul” Act Expo Fleet Award. NFI’s fleet of battery-electric tractors has achieved more than 1.5 million miles of operation since launching in 2020, more than any other commercial carrier in the U.S.
In May, the Climate Registry recognized NFI with the Innovation Partnership Certificate for our Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet project work, including a comprehensive plan to ensure wide-scale deployment and success of heavy-duty battery-electric trucks.
NFI was also awarded gold accreditation status from CALSTART, a nonprofit focused on accelerating clean transportation, and the state of California’s Air Resource Board (CARB) for our entire company-owned fleet. CALSTART and CARB work together to track fleets committed to sustainability. The Sustainable Fleets accreditation process and recognition tiers are aligned with the CARB proposed Advanced Clean Fleets regulation.
Our teams are ready to help customers prepare for California’s upcoming heavy-duty trucking and drayage regulations as a result of the Advanced Clean Fleet Rule, and warehousing regulations with that state’s Indirect Source Rule.
The American Heart Association (AHA) and NFI teamed up again in 2023 to recognize four NFI employees who committed to a lifestyle change utilizing AHA’s Life’s Essential 8 – key measures for improving and maintaining cardiovascular health. NFI is committed to a healthy work environment for all employees and created this award to honor employees who took this lifestyle change to heart.
Kicking off 2023, NFI signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion commitment as part of our efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. CEO Sid Brown, co-owners Ike Brown and Jeff Brown, 11 executive leaders, and the fourth generation of NFI leadership took the pledge to cultivate a workplace where employees feel welcomed and respected.
In 2023, NFI introduced six employee resource groups (ERGs) designed to strengthen connections and engage employees through cultural celebrations, networking, volunteering, education, and more. In total, our employees have launched 8 ERGs that provide communities for women, young professionals, veterans, LGBTQ+, Black, Asian, Hispanic, and wellbeing-focused employees.
We hosted our first-ever Employee Resource Group (ERG) Expo in November to celebrate National ERG Day. The event recognized the contributions of our eight ERGs and showcased NFI’s D&I achievements with the theme of “Celebrating diversity – one world, many stories.”
NFI strives to provide a place for military community employees to thrive in their careers. In 2023, NFI enhanced our Military Leave, bridging the gap between military and company pay. We also celebrated our second year with Hiring Our Heroes, providing opportunities for veterans to transition into the workforce and civilian life, and launched our Military Apprenticeship Program.
We have made great strides for veteran representation at NFI, being named a recipient of the 2024 Military Friendly Employers Silver Award after being evaluated on veteran retention, culture, and opportunities for advancement.
This year, NFI’s Talent Management team launched the Leadership Experience, a leadership development program for all people leaders. The course is a two-day immersive experience designed to teach leaders to develop people by identifying each employee’s development level and providing coaching, tools, and growth opportunities.
The esteemed Dave Thomas Adoption Foundation recognized NFI as an Adoption Advocate, which honors employers who excel at supporting employees through paid parental leave and providing company benefits for all families, including families formed through adoption. Jessica Sawyer, Executive Assistant and valued member of the NFI Family for the past 22 years, wrote a heartfelt piece about her adoption story and how NFI played a role in her journey.
“I was able to take eight weeks off to bond with my children and provide them with the love and care they needed,” said NFI Executive Assistant, Jessica Sawyer. “NFI’s commitment to supporting all parents, regardless of their circumstances, allowed me to be present for my children during this very pivotal time.”
NFI honored eight Safety Heroes and unveiled our brand-new Safety Hero wall in Camden, NJ. These heroes have worked 25 or more years without incident for 8.4 million hours. The distinguished Safety Heroes display our value of safety while consistently choosing safe behaviors for themselves, their families, and their coworkers.