Since our humble beginnings in Los Angeles in 1948, led by one of the first women brokers in the country, our company has continued to be an international trade industry leader. Following the untimely death of his mother Adrienne, Lew Coppersmith incorporated the company in 1961 with a small base of Customs brokerage and freight forwarding customers. In addition to building his company, Lew was actively involved in building the West Coast business associations which have become the backbone of our current trade community. He served in executive and board positions for the L.A. Chamber of Commerce, Foreign Trade Association, and Propeller Club among others, earning him the Stanley T. Olufson award for industry leadership in 1975. Since then, many of Coppersmith’s management personnel have continued to be active with their local trade associations which guide our industry, including presidents of Los Angeles and San Francisco brokers and forwarders associations, presidents of the Pacific Coast Council, as well as advisors to the Trade Support Network and ACE development groups. Today, our company president Jeff Coppersmith holds the position of Senior Counselor and is a past President of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA). Today, Vice President of Corporate Compliance and Portland Branch Manager Victoria Lane holds the position of Vice President of the association.
These leadership positions enable our company to participate in discussions with federal regulators and industry professionals who are developing compliance and security regulations for our industry. In this way, we can help explain to our regulators how new regulations and procedures will affect the way we do business. International trade is a highly regulated and ever-changing business, which requires constant monitoring and adjusting to remain in compliance. We take pride in our ability to remain at the forefront of these decisions and to share this knowledge with our customers.
As the needs of our customers grow, so too does the need for our company to expand into other areas of our industry and the country. Soon after our incorporation and the development of small L.A. airport and harbor offices, we opened a second major West Coast office in San Francisco and added air freight forwarding and consolidation services into our business profile. With the opening of our Houston, Texas office in 1976 and a sales office in Fresno to better serve our niche customers, Coppersmith became the largest export forwarder of raw cotton west of the Mississippi. The addition of Dallas in 1992 and the advent of the centralized computer system, gave our company a truly regional appeal. We were again leading the industry in the late 1980’s as one of the first Customs brokers to be approved to participate in Customs’ Automated Broker Interface (ABI), which was Customs first step toward modernization. Our ability to expedite customers import shipments by filing paperless entries revolutionized the industry. Today over 90% of all entries filed in the United States are filed electronically and Customs has developed a new electronic platform to incorporate all government entities. All Coppersmith entries are filed electronically. Our ability to electronically file information throughout the country and share information from our international agents, gives our customers the most timely processing of shipments available. No matter what type of product you may be shipping, industry professionals know how to handle it, and our network of carriers and agents makes finding an answer easy.
Since 1994, Coppersmith has been able to expand our national presence by acquiring over 30 small or regional service companies into our family organization. By adding Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Seattle and Portland as wholly owned regional offices, Coppersmith became a truly national company and was able to obtain a National Customs Permit enabling us to remotely file entries throughout the country. The integration of these acquired businesses not only helped us create a national footprint of gateway offices across the country, but also provided us personnel with expertise areas of our industry where we had not previously been involved. Today, our customer service products are still primarily import Customs brokerage and export freight forwarding, but also include air freight forwarding, ocean NVOCC, domestic freight brokerage, cargo insurance, and worldwide door to door logistics services. Of course, providing a full range of transportation services requires licenses and certifications from both industry and government regulators. As a condition of holding and maintaining these licenses, we must maintain our systems and provide persistent, recurrent training to our employees. Coppersmith boasts more than twenty licensed Customs brokers and Certified Transportation Specialists on staff.
Today our industry is focused on security and efficiency. As the governments of the world develop security requirements, Coppersmith is the first to implement them. ISF, AES and ACE among others are programs where we have once again been asked to participate in testing, to advise regulators how best to implement these systems among the industry. Currently almost half our staff has been security screened by TSA, while all of our offices are trained in security measures as required by our Customs and Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) certification.
Over the decades, Coppersmith has built on the niche business that every company uses to grow. As mentioned, offices in the South and Central California helped us to become a leader in forwarding raw cotton worldwide. As this business changed, so did we, into what is now a perishable market which continues to produce products for shipping around the globe. From fruit and nuts in Los Angeles, to fresh-cut flowers and pharmaceuticals in Chicago, to fresh and frozen seafood in Houston, Coppersmith has become a perishable expert. Consumer electronics imports of the 1970’s and 1980’s soon led into automobile parts, then accessories, then tires and specialty items. Other governmental agencies like the Food and Drug Administration also regulate thousands of products, which we both understand and welcome. From packaging and labeling to trademarks and quota, we have done it all. As the years pass, our experience with new products grows, as does our ability to advise our customers on what is needed to meet the guidelines of the government.
As a member of the World Cargo Alliance and through many years of business relationships, Coppersmith has developed a global network of knowledgeable and reliable agents. These relationships help us secure competitive international transportation rates from supplier door to customer door, whether they are in the U.S.A or not. One contact, one invoice, one company. All the services you need in one local contact.
We take pride in what we have accomplished over the past 75 years, yet we are not stopping our development, but rather striving to learning more about our customers and industry so we can continue to lead the way for many years to come.