Hoffman Equipment is a third-generation lifting and construction equipment dealer/distributor with deep ties to the New York metropolitan area. In 1920 Bill and Harry Hoffman purchased their first truck and founded Hoffman Motor Transportation to deliver roofing material for installers. During the ’60s and ’70s, the company began expanding internationally by delivering packages for construction projects overseas, so that all types of equipment required for a project could be purchased and shipped from one single source. In 1978, the International headquarters opened in Piscataway, New Jersey. In 2002, Tim Watters, the grandson of founder Harry Hoffman purchased the business.
Today, Hoffman International exports to 80 countries, especially to Sub-Sahara Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Russia/CIS. Total export sales represent 20 percent of annual sales of this major dealer/distributor of various U.S. manufacturers. The company sells cranes and other lifting equipment, dozers, excavators, road construction, maintenance and other associated equipment, spare parts and offers training to overseas customers.
Our company has been a customer of Ex-Im Bank for over 20 years (since 1993) and attributes most of its export growth to financing. We have used the Export Credit Insurance and Mid-term Structural Financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services. In fact, in the spring of 2009 in the midst of the recession, Hoffman’s private export credit insurance agency suddenly cancelled its policy, jeopardizing international sales. To address this problem, the company obtained Ex-Im Bank risk coverage for pending transactions and, as a result, protected 15 jobs. Using its Ex-Im Bank policy, Hoffman also signed and completed a $45 million transaction with a buyer in Cameroon for 163 pieces of equipment; the project supported 65 existing jobs at Hoffman and created 45 new jobs at Hoffman and some of its vendors. Due to exports and in spite of local recession Hoffman was able to maintain steady growth for the past three years. In 2014, Hoffman received the distinguished President’s “E” Award for significant contributions in increasing American exports. Government of Cameroon had not used U.S. Ex-Im since the 80’s when Hoffman approached the authorities.
Without the ability to use U.S. Ex-Im, Cameroon would not have bought machinery in the U.S. but rather in France, South Korea or China thus losing jobs and revenues for the U.S. Furthermore, Ex-Im is guaranteeing, contrary to most other export credit agencies (ECA’s), the best prices and the best quality for the buyers, eliminating the possibility of fraud and corruption thus creating a transparent process for the commercial bank, the exporter and the buyer. Without Hoffman International being awarded this important contract by the Republic of Cameroon and financially approved by Ex-Im Bank in April 2012 for more than $45 million, Hoffman International had planned to reduce our personnel starting in Dec. 2011 by 7 or 10 persons throughout our different offices in New York/New Jersey. The idea was to reduce our workforce to 55 or 57 employees until determining what the future would hold for our company. Through the guarantee of U.S. Ex-Im for this project, Hoffman International, a small business that has suffered mightily over the last three to four years was able to maintain 65 current jobs but also add 19 jobs internally and 26 indirectly to service this contract. Manufacturing and especially in the construction equipment sector has been hit the hardest during the recession.
Reauthorizing Ex-Im Bank will allow companies to continue to support decent paying jobs, support families and pay Federal and State taxes. Congress will do a” big favor” to foreign competition by eliminating the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. as small and medium-sized businesses will not be able to compete on the same level field. Without Ex-Im reauthorization and the ability to offer risk covered financing we stand no chance to win the next project.