UPS in West Columbia unveils new products in push to attract new clients

rburris@thestate.comMay 1, 2014 

— Shipping and logistics giant United Parcel Service on Thursday used its annual Air Hub Client event and tour day in Columbia to roll out new products and go after a larger share of the global freight market.

More than a dozen companies located from Charleston to the Upstate and throughout parts of North Carolina toured UPS’ West Columbia plant, where company officials said the international market is a major growth area.

The company touted its new Worldwide Express Freight service, which it said provides guaranteed either way delivery of palletized international shipments to 40 countries in one to three business days.

UPS also unveiled an expanded import control service Thursday that it said gives customers complete visibility of a shipment from the time it leaves a supplier to the time it reaches them.

“These service offerings allow the customers to use UPS for their complete supply chain,” said Dirreck Williams, a UPS international account executive.

UPS is bidding for companies’ small package, or individual package volume, Williams said, but also their palletized freight business and ocean shipments. For the past three years, UPS has opened its 314,000-square-foot facility for an interactive, but invitation-only information session and plant tour in Columbia, which includes boarding one of its signature cargo planes.

“It’s fascinating to see how things (go) from stage one, where, in our warehouse we’re packaging it up and the next day it’s in Illinois somewhere,” said Wellington Wheat, a shipping coordinator with Organon Technika in Durham, N.C. A division of Merck, the company produces a vaccine called BCG Live, Wheat said, which is shipped to the Netherlands, Great Britain and other international destinations.

Greg Marshall, Sunoco Products international transportation manager, handles sourcing for small parcel and international transportation for that company.

Though the Hartsville-based company also is an existing UPS customer, Sonoco does not utilize UPS in all its facilities for all their shipping needs, Marshall said, and the company is looking for options.

“It was very good,” Marshall said of the tour. “I’m fairly familiar with their technology. … I just didn’t see it in action.”

So will that mean more business for UPS? “Probably, yes,” Marshall said.

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