U.S. warehousing provides buffer amidst tariffs
October 15/22, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 9
By Ken Ryan
Xpress Global Systems is the largest nationwide transportation hauler for the floor covering industry, doing business with virtually all the mills based in and around Dalton for more than 40 years.
While that fact is pretty well known, perhaps less known—but vitally important—is the fact that Xpress Global has nearly 1 million square feet of storage space available in locations across the country. This capability could be of particular importance for those companies that source from China and might be looking to bring in goods before tariffs are set to increase in January.
Indeed, Xpress Global has seen an uptick in its storage space in 2018, partly fueled by the current 10% tariffs imposed on Chinese imports. (Tariffs are scheduled to rise again to 25% come Jan. 1, 2019.)
All this puts Xpress Global in an enviable position. “With 28 service centers across the U.S., we are seeing a big demand for warehouse space,” said Derek Bartley, vice president of process improvement at Xpress Global’s headquarters in Chattanooga, Tenn. “The majority of companies in the flooring industry do not know we have the systems in place to warehouse, so the opportunity is there.”
Xpress Global’s fleet entails nearly 300 trucks, and the company owns roughly 600 pieces of trailing equipment. From a logistics standpoint, about 75% of its freight originates out of Dalton, with approximately 20% coming out of the Southern California area.
“We provide an opportunity for businesspeople to warehouse freight and inventory some of their flooring throughout the network to get to the consumer quicker,” Bartley told FCNews, noting the 28 facilities equate to almost 1 million square feet of storage space.
Even if the tariffs go away, or are no longer a major factor, Xpress Global’s warehouse capabilities remain a competitive advantage and benefit for its flooring customers.
“We are in a sweet spot for a lot of reasons,” Bartley said. “We will pick it up for you. We will transport it. We can locally warehouse it for you, and we will deliver it. It’s a time-to-market opportunity. People don’t want to wait six weeks for carpet; they want it now, and we can shorten the lead time.”