November 30th marks the end of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season which began on June 1st. Of the eight hurricanes this season, two were major ones (classified as Category 3 or higher by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center), including Hurricane Ian which severely impacted southwest Florida and other sections of the U.S. coastline in late September. These force majeure events disrupt trade and typically cause affected businesses to suspend their operations.
EXIM customer Eastern Metal Supply (EMS), a Florida-based manufacturer and supplier of aluminum products, including hurricane shutters, has a facility location in Ft. Myers, FL that was directly in the path of Hurricane Ian. It is the site of Eastern Architectural Systems, an EMS division that employs over 150 workers and manufactures aluminum and vinyl impact windows and doors. After the hurricane, EMS employees at the Lake Worth, FL headquarters, located in an area that wasn’t in Ian’s path, gathered much-needed supplies to send across the state to hard-hit EMS colleagues in Ft. Myers. It is not the first time EMS has helped the communities it serves in the midst of a hurricane – please see this blog post from 2017.
Forty years ago, EMS began with just five employees at one location. Now the company has a workforce of nearly 800 across seventeen nationwide distribution centers and manufacturing facilities – and exports have been one source of the company’s growth. EMS initially found an opportunity to ship its products to the Caribbean then expanded to other international markets. Through using Export Credit Insurance from EXIM, EMS can protect against international buyer nonpayment.
Exporting can help small businesses broaden their customer base and reach new markets. To learn more about how EXIM can provide support, click here to schedule a consultation with an EXIM trade finance specialist.