AV Logistics has become a successful third-party logistics company over the past 15 years because of its ability to provide a single point of contact for its customers with up-to-the-minute shipment information. “We have simplified a fragmented industry by communicating and looking ahead to meet customers’ demands,” founder Art Zimmerly says.
Zimmerly founded the Fleming Island, Fla.-based company in 2000 with a focus on drayage and intermodal asset-based management. AV Logistics provides comprehensive international and domestic drayage services, as well as a variety of intermodal services throughout the United States. Partnered with its sister company, C&K Trucking, AV Logistics handles more than 350,000 container moves per year.
AV Logistics and C&K Trucking own more than 100 tri-axles and have one of the largest private asset-based chassis fleets in North America. “AV Logistics is a 3PL and there are several things that set us apart,” Zimmerly adds. “Very few 3PLs have a sister trucking company with over 700 power units and our relationships with partner trucking companies in the United States allows us to expand our fleet on a daily basis.”
The 53 employees at AV Logistics and 150 at C&K Trucking are considered the companies’ greatest asset and are also a differentiator for them in the industry. “What sets us apart is our team concept,” Zimmerly says. “We offer a single point of contact for our customers and it allows them to deal with one person, regardless of how many steamship lines or trucking companies are involved. Generally, trucking companies plan for next day or next week’s dispatch. At AV Logistics, we are monitoring vessels 30 days out and planning for capacity 30 days out.”
AV Logistics’ and C&K Trucking customers include beneficial cargo owners, steamship lines, railroads and domestic trucking companies. “Our customers expect a lot of different things and define quality in different ways,” Zimmerly explains. “We are able to adapt to their different needs because of our capacity capabilities and our operating systems have been homegrown. We can make modifications quickly instead of waiting for months. We meet our customers’ demands, whether it is on-time performance, capacity, reporting or communication and adapt as challenges in this fragmented industry change on a daily basis.”
As logistics management has changed over the years and customers demand greater visibility into the supply chain, AV Logistics has continued to improve on its communication. The company will manage a container from the onboard bill of lading through delivery, which can take 45 days or more. “We provide up to 20 different pieces of data on a single container and in most cases a customer wants a status update within four hours of the actual event,” Zimmerly says. “Eighty percent of the fleet is equipped with GPS and phones that will update a driver’s status within minutes of the event.”
AV Logistics utilizes technology that is equipped with geo-fencing capabilities and which allows drivers to pull up the app and accept a dispatch. “We can take a beneficial cargo owner’s facility and create a geo-fence around it that will provide updates on the driver’s arrival so he doesn’t have to do it,” Zimmerly explains. “Drivers can also access a list of empty containers to select from and bring back. As soon as he leaves the gate we are notified he is headed our way and given an ETA.”
Moving forward, AV Logistics and C&K Trucking plan to continue focusing on their core business of container management and drayage. AV Logistics plans to grow 10 to 12 percent each year through strategic sales and marketing. “We will continue to improve on our margins, open terminals based on demand, focus on our internal operations and customer service,” Zimmerly says. “Controlled growth is where we are headed.”