A move to give 3M more supply chain flexibility is also helping to reduce shipping time to the company’s customers in Asia.
Ongoing congestion and delays shipping through typical ports of export like Los Angeles and Long Beach – and the potential for a labor stoppage on the West Coast this year – moved 3M to open a new shipping site in Charleston, South Carolina, focused on shipments to Asia.
The East Coast Consolidation Center (ECCC) takes truckloads of goods from 3M plants around the country and reloads them into larger seagoing containers.
This allows 3M to create full containers of products, which helps improve service to customers and reduces costs compared to moving goods through typical less-than-container shipping options. 3M already had two consolidation centers: one in Ontario, building export containers for Asia and the Greater China Area, and another in DeKalb, Illinois, serving Europe and Latin America. The Charleston site will be 3M’s third consolidation center.
The site is already contributing to one- to two-week reductions in average cycle times in initial shipments to Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
As a next step, 3M plans to diversify the ECCC operations to include exports to Europe and Latin America – driving improved reliability for customers in those regions, too.
“This new operation now provides 3M the ability to mitigate risk for our customers from potentially massive disruptions if there were to be a labor disruption on the West Coast,” said Junli Yamada, vice president of Global Logistics.