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Primo board adviser turns CEO, ready to rewrite 3PL norms

Since joining third-party-logistics firm, LFS, as an advisor and investor, Justin Hall has been working to rebrand the company under the name of Primo. That rebranding became official in May.

Primo also launched its newly branded website in May. FreightWaves’ The Future of Supply Chain event will be Primo’s first event under its new name. Hall hopes to use that opportunity to introduce the company and himself to many in the industry. He will also be speaking on various upcoming podcasts and at a fireside chat at the event.

Primo is a freight and logistics solutions company that offers a ‘human first’ model, on top of its proprietary freight management portal. The platform integrates with its customers’ systems through application programming interface and electronic data interchange (EDI) connections…but vows to always have its “Primos” on call to serve the customers the good old fashion way, via phone, live chat and email. Primo is a dba of Logistics Freight Solutions based in Miami, founded by Andres Lopera in 2010. While its home offices are in Colombia, the company is primarily North America-focused.

Hall has served in many leadership positions in the industry — including chief customer officer of Yellow and president of Logistics Planning Services and LP Projects International, a company started by his father and now owned by GlobalTranz. Hall also serves as an adviser to 8VC and Lean Solutions Group and is the founding partner of Cardiff Equity. He serves on various nonprofit boards, including the Hall Foundation, Change Starts with Me and the M-Health Fairview Hospitals Philanthropic board.

After venturing into investment, he found his way back to operating after the pandemic by taking the reins from Lopera as CEO and president of LFS.

Hall, a 20-year veteran of the supply chain and logistics sector, says the logistics industry has seen enormous change since the beginning of his career.

“Logistics has never been more complex. Shippers are being asked to do more with a lot less. These days you have shippers managing massive transportation budgets and all the decisions that are made around warehousing, inventory and order management,” said Hall, who has built multiple successful freight management and logistics technology companies over the years. “Outsourcing is as relevant, if not more relevant, now more than ever…there will be no death to the 3PL as once predicted.”

Hall also believes that a lot of those in the industry are “territorial” and there is not enough emphasis on collaboration and customer relationships, and added that he’ll partner with his biggest competitors if it’s best for the shipper-customer.

“People want to talk about freight optimization, but I don’t see a lot of companies actually doing it.” he said. “There are those working toward fully managed distribution centers and things of that nature with hard-core collaboration, but by and large, I think relationships are still way too transactional. No one is taking the time to really commit to being strategic and then holding themselves accountable.”

This mindset led Hall to shape Primo as an industry leader in customer experience and employee satisfaction.

Hall, a graduate of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, has seen strong desire in the industry for more customized solutions. Primo is dedicated to providing those solutions, rejecting the “one-size-fits-all” narrative many companies preach. Primo positions itself as a one-stop shop able to manage all transportation modes and geographies.

“Looking at team, tech and transport, I want to have a menu-style onboarding of everyone we do business with — which is anyone from freight forwarders to retailers.” Hall said. “We will do business with anyone if it’s the right thing to do.”

Through strategic partners like Lean Solutions Group and 8VC, Hall is confident Primo can meet the needs of its customers at scale. And he believes that starts internally.

“The companies that protect and retain their people tend to have the strongest customer retention,” Hall said. “I use the saying ‘We’re about stakeholders first, not shareholders.’ Everything we do is to try to improve the lives of our customers and our employees.”

Primo, which means “cousin” in Spanish, is representative of the company’s four core values: humility, passion, diversity and tenacity.

“Our Colombian origin very much drives our values and how we do our work. Family orientation is what we’re all about,” Hall said. “Primo is like your cool cousin. We’re about good vibes only — no pretension or arrogance. Our core values genuinely embody how we operate.”

Among these traits, Hall believes transparency is key to standing out in today’s challenging market.

“We are radically transparent about everything. This is a flawed market so to assume everything is perfect and capacity is abundantly available is a joke,” Hall said. “Customers are yearning for, not just transparency as it relates to freight visibility, but transparency around what is going on in the market, even my margins. Too many companies are trying to hide the warts.”

According to Hall, the future of Primo is to help customers move logistics from a “pure expense center to a profit center.”

“I want to see a day come where more and more shippers, carriers and forwarders come to a company like Primo to help them build a brokerage in a box for them. Rather than the classic broker and 3PL relationship that has existed for the last 30 years, I want to change the game,” Hall said. “I think the future is teaching them what we do and help them do it themselves.”

A PR campaign will be coming this summer to launch the new brand, he added.

“I am really excited for what’s to come and to have everyone meet Primo — your new favorite cousin,” Hall said.

To learn more about Primo, visit its new website.