FedEx will offer discounts to some shippers

FedEx will offer discounts to some shippers

Small- and medium-sized manufacturers could enjoy substantial discounts off standard prices charged by FedEx Express and FedEx Ground now that the logistics and express provider has joined the National Association of Manufacturers' Freight Alliance Program.

The discounts range from 18 percent on international priority and economy services to 24 percent on domestic overnight express, according to Chris Strong, NAM's vice president for member programs. Domestic ground shippers who belong to the alliance would get a 20 percent discount.

The group has 14,000 members, of which approximately 10,000 are small- and mid-sized companies. It established the Freight Alliance eight years ago, and Strong said it will aggressively promote FedEx's participation to members.

Large manufacturers who belong to NAM would also be eligible for the discounts, but those who are already FedEx customers probably already get a better rate, depending on their volume, Strong said.

Besides attracting new customers, FedEx expects the move to help it win more business from manufacturers who already use one or more of its services, said spokesman Howard Clabo. Companies that already use FedEx Ground, for example, might see the discount on international service as an inducement to enter the export arena. "The cost of distributing internationally is prohibitive for a lot of small and mid-sized companies. This is an opportunity for them to do business internationally," he said.

Fletcher Steele, an NAM board member and president of the Pine Hall Brick Co. in Winston-Salem, N.C., estimated that his company will save an average of $4,000-5,000 every year by taking full advantage of FedEx's participation in the freight alliance program.

Brian Philips, vice president of U.S. marketing at FedEx Corp., said the alliance with NAM "gives FedEx access to a very desirable and very loyal membership."

The discounts do not apply to other FedEx services, such as FedEx Freights, its less-than truckload operation; FedEx Trade Networks, its freight forwarding and customs brokerage business, or FedEx Custom Critical, its service for urgent door-to-door shipments.

Other carriers that participate in the Freight Alliance are Menlo Worldwide Forwarding, Yellow Transportation Inc., Airborne Express and Mach 1 Air Services. Strong said NAM is always looking at attracting new participants, but he declined to comment on how the acquisition of Airborne's ground network operations later this month by Deutsche Post World Net will affect its participation in the program. Nor would he comment on the implications of Yellow's acquisition of Roadway Express.