September 23, 2022

3M opens East Coast shipping center

A move to give 3M more flexibility in the supply chain is also helping to reduce shipping times to the company’s customers in Asia.

Continued congestion and shipping delays at typical export ports like Los Angeles and Long Beach — and the possibility of a West Coast work stoppage this year — prompted 3M to open a new shipping location in Charleston, South Carolina, focused on expeditions to Asia.

The East Coast Consolidation Center takes truckloads of goods from 3M factories across the country and reloads them into larger shipping containers. This allows 3M to create full containers of product, which helps improve customer service and reduce costs compared to transporting goods through typical containerless shipping options.

3M already had two consolidation centers: one in Ontario, building export containers for Asia and the Greater China region, 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 reductions of one to two weeks in average cycle times for initial shipments to Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

As a next step, 3M plans to diversify ECCC operations to include exports to Europe and Latin America, which will also improve reliability for customers in these regions.

“This new operation now provides 3M with the ability to mitigate the risk to our customers of potentially massive disruptions in the event of a West Coast labor disruption,” said Junli Yamada, 3M vice president of global logistics.