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Pacer expands into Seattle area

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
July 18, 2011

Freight transportation and logistics services provider Pacer International Inc. recently announced that its Pacer Distribution Services (PDS) subsidiary has expanded into the Seattle region by leasing space in Sumner, Washington.

PDS is based in southern California and provides various services for shippers, including public and contract warehousing, transloading, cross-docking, consolidation and de-consolidation, local and regional trucking, and harbor drayage. Its main focus is on import logistics, serving shippers bringing cargo in from Asia and moves this cargo via transloading or warehousing, setting containers up for intermodal delivery throughout the U.S. and other services like drayage into its facilities. PDS primarily serves big box retailers.

This new facility kicked off operations on July 1 and is close to the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. Pacer officials said that along with warehousing and transloading operations this facility will provide, it will also offer trucking services to support the new facility and local Seattle-area shippers.

“Expanding into this area has been on our radar from customer feedback that has been inquiring about us expanding our services in the Pacific Northwest,” President of Pacer Distribution Services Kent Prokop told LM. “This is due largely to port diversification, which has occurred over the last few years at the Port of Los Angeles. The ‘eggs all in one basket’ approach is something that not all of them want to do and they want another outlet. They have been asking us ‘when are you moving out of LA to expand and where are you expanding to?’”

And from a corporate and a business unit standpoint, Prokop explained that expanding out of Los Angeles was key for PDS to augment and boost its services, adding that the port complex in Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) is one of the largest in the U.S. and it will be a natural flow for PDS to capture some of that business, as Pacer historically has capacity for the Sea-Tac intermodal services, which it can help fill.

This will be done, he said, by participating with its West coast rail partners to fill containers for Pacer’s intermodal networks.

“Customers have been asking us to get up there to help with their port diversity, and from a Pacer standpoint, the company wants us to help grow the logistics division and we are a big part of that, so this is our first step,” said Prokop. “Our goal is to provide port-to-door services for customers and even beyond that. Our international division would be able to work with importers indirectly through an NVOCC or a BCO and have that freight controlled by our international division.”

In terms of shipper benefits, Prokop said there are drivers for shippers moving freight through Sea-Tac compared to Los Angeles, as shippers have service and timing issues which cater to their specific needs, adding that there are various political issues in southern California impacting shipping and logistics over the past decade. Customers are looking for a port they can get to quickly and have the security that if something happens in Los Angeles they have another outlet.

When asked how many shippers this new location will serve, Prokop said since opening on July 1 it has inventory set up for five customers and has the ability to quadruple its existing space. There is a lot of available real estate near this location, making it relatively easy for Pacer to expand should the need arise.

“We have a multi-client set up as we are a 3PL, but we don’t have a lot of dedicated facilities where we can do that,” he said. “We are looking for a big expansion in Washington by the end of this year.”

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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