Another Bites the Dust

Another Bites the Dust

Copyright 2003, Traffic World, Inc.

Audipac Logistics Management, a freight bill audit and payment firm based in Grove City, Ohio, is closing its operations and liquidating, the company announced recently.

Audipac is a trade name for North American Logistics Inc. and has been in business for 34 years providing freight bill audit and payment services and related products, according to the company''s website.

(The company that is liquidating is not related to the Fort Wayne, Ind., firm northAmerican Logistics, now called nAL, or northAmerican Van Lines, both part of SIRVA.)

"Due to the prolonged economic downturn coupled with related volume and rate pressures, depressed interest rates, increased competition from transportation software developers and asset-based transportation management companies, Audipac has concluded that it is no longer prudent to continue operations," according to a June 30 notice on the company''s website.

Bankruptcies and allegations of fraud have followed similar interruptions of services at Computrex Logistics and at Strategic Technologies Inc. over the last two years, but Audipac and a trade association to which it belongs said Audipac is a different case, with an "orderly liquidation" and no complaints from customers so far.

"It is the intention of Audipac to provide an orderly closure and liquidation of the business. It is our plan to provide transition support and information to our clients and their carriers so that there will be a clean cut-off between the termination of our services and our client''s selected alternative," the announcement said.

All shipper customers of Audipac already have been given details of the liquidation plan and carriers should contact those shippers if they have any questions, the website said.

"We plan to maintain a minimum staff for a suitable period of time to maintain our website, provide data files and reports, complete short-term logistics projects, etc. in order to support this transition plan," the announcement said.

"Audipac has been a member of Freight Transportation Consultants Association for some time. Our information is that they are in progress with an orderly liquidation for the reasons stated on their website, and that their clients were notified and given much more detailed information about the process as is appropriate," said FTCA Executive Director Donna F. Behme.

"Apparently there has been no problem with the liquidation to this point, which seems to be borne out by the fact that there are no public complaints. No clients have complained to FTCA about either the company (Audipac) or the liquidation, nor have we heard any reports of anyone being injured in any way," she said.

"As long as the confidential contractual relationship exists (between Audipac and shipper-customers), and both parties to it are happy with the process taking place, it is unlikely that either party would care to discuss it publicly," she said.

No one at Audipac could be reached for comment. Larry Wiesman, identified by industry sources as owner of Audipac, did not return a phone call to his office. Nor did Ross Tulman, identified by his website as Audipac and North American Logistics'' portfolio manager of fixed income and equity investments and a member of the board of directors, or Robert V. Byrd, identified by Ohio secretary of state records as president and chief executive officer of Audipac and North American Logistics Inc. in 1997.

Previously Audipac was a registered trade name for Industrial Traffic Corp., which apparently merged with, was acquired by or changed its name to North American Logistics Inc. Industrial Traffic Corp. was located at the same address as North American Logistics Inc., 4110 Demorest Road. State records listed Jack Lett as a responsible party for Industrial Traffic Corp. in 1991. An Audipac receptionist said she did not recognize Lett''s name.

According to industry sources, recent Audipac customers include: AEP Service Corp, AMAT, American Electric, American Woodmark, Appalachian Power, Arden Fasteners, Butler Co., C.R. Anthony Co., Carlon, Columbus Southern, Direct Fasteners, Dover, Gateway Industries, Hanover Direct, International Knitting, Isuzu Motors, Metalcraft, Ohio Power, RB&W, Southwestern Electric, SWEPCO and Thyrocon Controls.

One shipper avoided the Audipac shutdown. "We were in the process of leaving our current audit and payment company when we got notice Audipac was closing. We won''t be doing that," said Mike Rhodes, director of transportation for Park Ohio, a conglomeration of manufacturing companies. "I was in total shock. It sure put us behind the eight ball."