Michael Berzon, logistics innovator, dies

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Michael Berzon, who spent his career helping companies enhance the efficiency of their supply chains, died Tuesday from complications associated with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 77.


   Michael Berzon, who spent a decades-long career helping companies enhance the efficiency of their supply chains, died Tuesday from complications associated with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 77.
   Berzon was born Aug. 21, 1940 in Buenos Aires and received his degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.
   For 40 years, he worked for various companies, helping to solve their problems with global manufacturing, sourcing, ocean shipping, domestic logistics and international marketing.
   Berzon worked at Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont Co. for 27 years, where he was responsible for purchasing international ocean and air transportation services for shipments between the United States and South/Central America and Asia.
   Earlier in his career at the chemical producer, he was responsible for international marketing and sales in Latin America and traveled the area extensively. While at DuPont, he also was responsible for the global distribution of high-explosives. This included using all forms of transportation, including chartering small vessels and aircraft.
   Berzon was also an active and longtime member of the National Industrial Transportation League, where he chaired the influential Ocean Transportation Committee. He was called upon by Congress on several occasions to testify on maritime issues. He was also asked to speak at various international forums about ocean freight transportation issues, including the Global Shippers’ Forum at Dubai in 2009.
   For more than 20 years, Berzon served as chairman and president of the Containerization and Intermodal Institute (CII) and received the organization’s distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award.
   In addition, he continued his logistics consulting practice until recent years, representing firms such as Polzug Intermodal of Hamburg, Germany on rail intermodal issues in Europe. He served as U.S. marketing manager for the Port of Hamburg for 12 years. During the 1980s and 1990s, Berzon was a frequent contributor of commentaries and articles to American Shipper.
   “Michael Berzon represented the best kind of person one could know,” said Barbara Yeninas, senior partner and chief executive officer of BSY Associates, who worked with Berzon at CII. “He had a vast amount of knowledge in our industry and shared it with a true spirit of generosity. His goodness will be missed by many.”
   He is survived by his wife, Carol; his son Christopher Berzon and daughter Ailsa Pujol, both of Fort Worth, Texas; stepsons David, Steve and John Tate; a  sister, Ailsa Berzon of Buenos Aires; and four grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.

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