The shipping industry has seen explosive growth in the last several years with the rise of e-commerce and supply chain outsourcing. Richard Ibarra, the founder of Interload Forwarding LLC, has worked to capitalize on these industry changes, positioning his company to lead the pack.
Interload Forwarding provides logistics services including local and long-haul transportation, warehousing, and brokerage of loads. It currently offers long-haul freight transport across the nation currently operating 52 long-haul and 64 local units and has over 460,000 square feet of warehousing space in El Paso and Laredo, TX.
This mix of logistics services has helped Ibarra serve his clients throughout the lifecycle of the transportation process. By adding in technology enhancements, such as GPS tracking, instant proof of delivery and secure warehouse management system online access, Ibarra has made it simple for his customers to handle their shipping needs from any part of the country.
Rapid growth brings big opportunities and big challenges, but Ibarra’s long history in freight forwarding and material control he commitment to customer service and innovation have guided him along the way.
Values Lead the Way
Ibarra is the founder of Interload Forwarding and three other El Paso-based companies that all target different aspects of the shipping industry. Together, they provide manufacturers with a day-to-day solution for transporting goods in the United States and Mexico.
Built on Ibarra’s values of honesty, faith, fair pricing and providing personalized service, Interload Forwarding is a family business – Ibarra’s wife, daughter and sons join him in running their busy enterprise.
With decades of experience in the freight industry, Ibarra knows what it takes to stand out. He’s developed an innovative customer experience system, creating dedicated service teams for each customer that ensure their specifications for rates, hours and other complex details are met. He also keeps a diverse roster of customers to protect his business from the financial ups and downs of the industries he serves, including consumer goods and medical supplies.
With customer experience at the heart of his business, Ibarra recognizes that good people can make or break you. He works hard to attract and retain best-in-class employees. One way he does this is by promoting from within, giving his employees a career path and opportunity for forward momentum.
Managing Growth and Keeping Finances Healthy
In 2016, Ibarra was speaking with national banks and the Small Business Administration, looking for funding for a new warehouse. Sunflower Bank heard about the project through the SBA and came out to take a look – something the national banks hadn’t done.
As a result of the introduction, Sunflower helped Interload Forwarding purchase land and build its headquarters and warehouse facility through a combination of SBA loans and bank-provided conventional financing. In the subsequent years, Interload Forwarding and their sister company Carmen Pacheco Transportation have developed and grown, as has their relationship with Sunflower Bank. In mid-2023, Interload Forwarding plans to build an additional trailer yard and another 182k sq. ft. warehouse on its property as well as purchase new trucks using additional financing commitments from Sunflower Bank.
Community Focus from a Community Bank
The shipping industry has many lenders willing to extend loans based on collateral without looking at the borrower’s overall financial picture. As a community bank, Sunflower handles things differently. The bank builds close relationships with borrowers and provides financial feedback to help them succeed and remain a vital part of their community. For Interload Forwarding, this has meant that Sunflower helps Ibarra improve certain areas of his finances for a healthier business, an ongoing process that ensures Ibarra is ready for the volatility that comes with his industry.
“I’m indebted to Sunflower,” Ibarra said. “They’re not like the big banks that promise the stars but don’t come through.” Ibarra don’t feel just another customer to Sunflower they feel the partnership and strong business relationship.
Antonio Escobedo, Sunflower’s primary banker for Interload Forwarding, has been a key partner for Ibarra, acting as an advisor and liaison to help keep him on track for success. Escobedo also guided the company in securing two rounds of Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans, demonstrating Sunflower’s commitment to serving its El Paso community and keeping it thriving.
Throughout his challenges and his successes, Ibarra trusted Escobedo’s expertise and advice.
“Other banks approach me with proposals, but I don’t listen to them,” Ibarra said. “I listen to Antonio, who’s my partner. He knows my business and where we stand.”