MANAGING TRAFFIC

MANAGING TRAFFIC

FED UP WITH RISING RATES and unsatisfactory responses from ocean carrier conferences, toymakers formed their own shippers' association this week.

"Corrective action is needed because of the intransigence of Anera (the Asia North America Eastbound Rate Agreement) in dealing with small and medium- sized shippers and some large shippers on a level playing field," says David A. Miller, president of the Toy Manufacturers of America."Conceptually, it's a good idea," says G.F. (Jerry) Jenkins, manager, international distribution for Fisher-Price Toys Inc. of East Aurora, N.Y. The internal workings of the Toy Shippers Association will be solidified when toy shippers convene at the TMA's annual meeting in San Francisco later this month, he says.

Dave Akers, traffic manager of Cincinnati-based Kenner Products, and the individual heading up the fledgling group, says one option the shippers have is to work with independent, non-conference carriers.

But Mr. Akers says chartering ships is not being considered. Kenner is a division of Tonka Corp. of Cincinnati.

Various TMA committees were formed, over the years, to deal with the conferences but they've come back with nothing but "sweet talk," Mr. Miller says.

Not all toy shippers belong to the 230-member TOYSA, which is based in New York. "We have enough volume to control our destiny," explains a traffic manager at Hasbro Inc. of Pawtucket, R.I. Mattel Inc. of Hawthorne, Calif., which also didn't join, declines to comment.

Other toy shippers, such as Bachmann Industries Inc. of Philadelphia, haven't joined because of contractual commitments, says Jack Gallagher, Bachmann's traffic manager. But Bachmann expects to join TOYSA in the future, Mr. Gallagher says.

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"NOBODY HERE BUT us traffic managers."

Only 24 workers will be left when Canadian Coleman Co. shuts down its production lines at the end of the month, says Len Oreskovich, traffic manager. The rest of the company's 250 workers are being laid off.

But the company, the Canadian subsidiary of camping equipment maker Coleman Co. of Wichita, Kan., will remain in business as a distribution company, he says. About 500 trailerloads of product made in the United States are expected to be received by Canadian Coleman each year, Mr. Oreskovich says.

Eventually, the company will relocate to another warehouse in the Toronto area, he says. The company is looking to sell its huge 300,000-square-fo ot Toronto manufacturing complex. Space at the facility, built in 1952 and remodeled once, won't be needed after production ends.

A company study found Coleman's camping products could be made more cheaply in the United States, says Jim Reid, a company spokesman. Coleman was taken over by MacAndrews & Forbes Holding Inc. last April.