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ABF expands global services portfolio with new Ocean LTL service

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
November 10, 2011

Freight transportation services provider ABF said this week it has rolled out a new offering entitled Ocean LTL.

Company officials described Ocean LTL as a single-contact, expedited less-than-container load (LCL)/less-than-truckload (LTL) offering for shippers importing from manufacturing centers in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

And they added that it offers shippers guaranteed weekly departures on a fixed day and schedule that allows ABF to expedite shipments roughly 40 percent faster than traditional LCL services. They also noted that long-term planning is enhanced by advanced scheduling for consolidation and departures, with in-transit, virtual warehousing and dynamic rerouting enabling on-the-water inventory allocation or order fulfillment directly from the container to the end-user or multiple delivery locations.

Ocean-borne service offerings are not new to ABF. The company introduced a FCL (full-container-load) business in 2006. ABF has had an established presence for several years and is a licensed NVOCC (non-vessel operating common carrier) and services more than 250 ports in 130 countries as part of its ABF International service, which is geared for shippers moving international freight on a periodical basis. And in 2008, the company rolled out its ABF Global Supply Chain Services to meet the demands of an economy that has expanded globally.

“ABF is evolving into a global provider of logistics solutions,” said Russ Aikman, director of marketing and public relation at ABF. “As such we are responding to the dramatic changes in distribution channels resulting from the globalization of manufacturing. With supply chains now stretching around the world, the rising cost of maintaining inventory creates an acute need to reduce cycle times.”

Domestically, said Aikman, that is the reason ABF developed its Dual-System network, explaining that it developed a strategy to organically expand into regional markets. And this was done without sacrificing operational efficiency in its traditional long-haul markets while enhancing the performance of both its national and regional supply chain services.

When asked what the main benefits of this new service are for shippersm Aikman explained that Ocean LTL features faster transit than conventional LCL at a cost lower than air transport.

“Customers gain real-time, end-to-end visibility and the ability to reduce inventory cycle times from one transportation source with a seamless and efficient process from origin to door,” he said. “Further, ABF Ocean LTL offers simple LCL/LTL transportation pricing with a single lump sum rate from Asia to the customer’s door based on W/M (weight or measure CBM/Ton, whichever is greater).  A single invoice provides the importer a true cost foreign CFS (Container Freight Station) to-door price including the ocean freight and less-than-truckload rates and arbitraries, bonded warehouse expenses, and US Customs duties.  This will really make this process easy for our customers.”

And Ocean LTL includes hot stowage of LCL/LTL containers to enable fast stripping in U.S. ports, which further speeds transit time, explained Aikman. Through 10 container freight station locations lining the coast of China, ABF provides coverage for all major ports, with Taiwan having full coverage with three locations. Ocean LTL also serves container freight stations in the Chinese port cities of Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong, as well as the Taiwanese port cities of Keelung, Kaohsiung, and Taichung.

In describing what makes Ocean LTL different than Ocean LCL, Aikman said that a single Ocean LTL invoice provides the importer a true cost, foreign container freight station to door price, including the ocean freight and LTL rates, bonded warehouse expenses, and U.S. Customs’ duties.

“The customers supply chain is enhanced with end-to-end visibility from the manufacturer’s floor to the final destination,” he said. “Shipping documents are instantly available online, including ABF bill of lading, packing lists, commercial invoices, and U.S. customs documents. Trained customer service personnel are available to assist from origin to destination. Upon arrival to bonded warehouses and ABF terminals, the cargo is immediately loaded onto ABF LTL trucks to perform the final door delivery. E-mail alerts are automatically sent on booking, ETD, ETA, customs clearing, and domestic transportation. Door ETA at the time of booking enables ABF customers to proactively plan the arrival of their purchase orders before the sailing.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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