Apex Logistics International Builds Out its West Coast Perishables Operations

San Francisco, California USA
October 2019
By: Evan Armstrong

Michael Piza – Vice President of Corporate Sales & Marketing

Apex Logistics International Overview:

Apex Logistics International (Apex) is an international transportation management centric third-party logistics provider having a core service offering in air and ocean freight forwarding, cross border e-commerce logistics solutions, domestic transportation management, customs brokerage, consolidation/ deconsolidation, buyer’s consolidation, warehousing, air charter business, and supply chain consulting/trade compliance training.

Founded in 2001 as an air freight wholesaler, Apex now has 2,500 employees and $1.35 billion in revenue. In 2018, Apex’s air freight forwarding business posted a 34% year-over-year increase to 430,000 air freight metric tons making it the 14th largest global air freight forwarder in 2018. Meeting the needs of major e-commerce companies, specialty retailers, high-tech, and cold chain shippers has bolstered Apex’s growth. Apex is a licensed NVOCC (Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier) and holds IATA/CNS (International Air Transport Association/Cargo Network Services), C-TPAT (Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism) and TAPA (Transported Asset Protection Association) certifications.

Its global network now has 16 branch offices in the Greater China region, 11 in North America, 3 in Europe, 1 in Korea, 2 in Vietnam, 1 in Singapore, 2 in Australia and 1 in New Zealand.

Apex Logistics International U.S. Cold Chain Perishables Operations:

With its rich experience in the logistics industry year over year, Apex gained a leading position within the international transportation management of perishable commodities from the U.S. West Coast to Asia. Its cold chain operations are managed by a staff of 50 overseeing its bonded facilities in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California and Seattle, Washington. Combined the 24/7 operations manage the export of approximately 25,000 air freight metric tons and 500 ocean TEUs (twenty-foot trailer equivalent units) per year. The main commodities being exported from the operations include dairy products, fruit, meat, seafood, and vegetables.

The largest air export trade-lanes for the operations are from the U.S. to China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Japan, Korea, Guam, and Hawaii. Securing temperature controlled commercial air freight capacity as airlines decrease the amount of wide-body capacity in the market can be a challenge. To meet its customers’ needs Apex works with the following (as well as other commercial airlines) to transport perishables: United, China Eastern, Air China, China Southern, Korean Air, EVA, and ANA. In addition, it utilizes freighter capacity when needed.

Apex Logistics’ San Francisco, California operation has a multilingual staff of 34 people managing approximately 1,000 metric tons of air freight exports each month. In addition to air freight forwarding, Apex has an advantage of being able to provide customs brokerage services within the U.S., China, and other Asian countries.

Export shipments managed by the San Francisco operation are transported directly from customers to the airport or are cross docked and consolidated at its 13,950 square foot C-TPAT certified warehouse. Exports include cherries, peaches, strawberries, seafood, dairy products (including milk, yogurt, and cheese), beef, pork, and bagged salads. Some items are repacked as a value-added service and some products are cross docked for domestic distribution.

The warehouse is a TSA Certified Cargo Screening Facility (CCSF) with a high-quality x-ray machine. All shipments transported on commercial aircraft must be screened.

CCSF X-Ray Machine in San Francisco, California Warehouse

Along with ambient warehouse space, the facility has two cool rooms and one freezer room. The cool room sizes are 31’ x 43’ x 17’ and 40’ x 43’ x 17’ feet respectively and run at 32- and 36-degrees Fahrenheit. The freezer room is 24’ x 43’ x 17’ feet and runs at negative 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Products in the San Francisco, California Warehouse Cool Room

Air export shipments are often built up on different load devices such as EH1, EH2, LD3, RAP, Envirotainer, and others. Apex can build loads as needed to each device at each of its West Coast operations. Apex manages a local three-truck fleet in San Francisco for airport and local deliveries.

Volume wise, Los Angeles is Apex Logistics’ next largest perishables CCSF air export operation. It is located six miles from Los Angeles International Airport, totals 13,000 square feet of warehouse space, and has a staff of 11 employees.

The operation is exporting approximately 500 metric tons of air freight per month. Exports include asparagus shipments to Japan, strawberries to Hong Kong and Singapore, and cherries to Korea and China. In addition, Apex Logistics’ Los Angeles operation is managing fresh Lobster and Crab shipments to China. Both are very service sensitive and must be delivered within 42 hours from leaving the Los Angeles operation, so optimal air carrier routing and selection is very important.

The Los Angeles operation has two cool rooms of 44’ x 38’ x 17’ feet dimensions, having different temperature settings. It also has a separate packaging and preparation area to build up shipments, and the requisite screening X-ray machine for commercial airlines shipments.

Additional services being performed by the Los Angeles operation include local pick-up and storage of imported products, product repackaging, and deconsolidation/consolidation for domestic distribution.

Completing Apex Logistics’ U.S. West Coast Perishables network is its 32,187 square foot CCSF operation in Seattle, Washington which was opened in 2018. Situated five minutes away from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the operation’s staff of six oversees approximately 400 metric tons of air freight exports per month. Key customer exports include Dungeness crabs, Pacific geoduck clams, and fruits and vegetables.

Six thousand square feet of the facility is comprised of two cool rooms capable of storing over 200 pallets of product. It also has a screening X-ray machine and performs similar value-added services to Apex Logistics’ other two West Coast perishables operations.

Apex Logistics International West Coast Perishables Operations Summary:

Apex Logistics International has gained a leading position within the international transportation management of perishable commodities from the U.S. West Coast to Asia. According to Apex, its three CCSF networks makes it the second largest provider of air freight forwarding services for perishables on the West Coast. To manage time-sensitive perishables shipments, Apex has built out a flexible network of commercial airlines and freighters who can provide scarce temperature controlled capacity. Its ability to consolidate air freight shipments into larger shipments provides customers with significant savings. We anticipate Apex will continue to grow its perishables operations leveraging its West Coast operations and large Asian network.

Sources: A&A Primary Research, https://www.apexglobe.com

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