Updated: Feb. 25, 2019 at 12:10 p.m.
Freeporter Ken Deocharran, 37, runs a $15 million trucking business and manages almost 200 employees and truck drivers at his headquarters at Rockaway Boulevard and 157th Street in Jamaica, Queens, near Kennedy Airport. The native of Guyana is married and the father of two, and has made it possible for his parents to retire.
He attributes his success in part to working with Amazon’s Logistics network. His company, Express Trucking and Courier Inc., has roughly 120 trucks, but more than half of them haul Amazon trailers filled with packages around the tristate areas as well as in Pennsylvania and Chattanooga, Tenn. As a service provider for Amazon, Deocharran helps the company ensure that packages arrive on time.
But business wasn’t always this good for Deocharran. Thirteen years ago, he was just a man with a van, running a courier service out of his parents’ home in Richmond Hill, Queens. When he started his business, he had a single Honda Odyssey minivan that his mother helped him buy.
The then 24-year-old spent a solid year battling Manhattan traffic, often double-parking to deliver packages. When he wasn’t in his van, he was driving a taxi to make ends meet. “I had to keep myself busy,” he recalled, “because I had a [car] payment with high insurance.”
Deocharran eventually decided that he would make the courier business his bread and butter. “At that time, all I knew was [how to] pick up a package from point A and deliver it to point B,” he said.
By 2007, he had 35 vans, and employees delivering packages throughout the metropolitan area. When he rented the space at JFK, he became immersed in a different world of logistics — trucking. He bought his first 18-wheeler in 2010, and by the end of 2014 he had sold all of the vans and had 40 trucks delivering products for a diverse clientele, including DHL Global Forwarding and UPS Supply Chain Solutions.
Deocharran said he saw an opportunity to further expand his business when he heard through colleagues that Amazon was farming out its delivery services to smaller trucking companies. “Amazon gave me growth that allowed me to spread out on a wider scope,” he said.
The opening of another Amazon headquarters in Long Island City potentially would have meant further large-scale expansion for his company, but it wasn’t to be. Deocharran said he was disappointed by the company’s announcement last week that it was dropping plans to open in New York. But he remains optimistic, he said, and hopes to continue working with Amazon, with the hope of picking up more delivery routes.
Correction: The Herald made an error by saying "DSL Global and UPS" but should be "DHL Global Forwarding and UPS Supply Chain Solutions." We apologize for the inconvenience.