PARTNER TURNS COMPETITOR AS FORWARDER FIRM OPENS

PARTNER TURNS COMPETITOR AS FORWARDER FIRM OPENS

Less than three months after leaving Airfreight Consolidators International Inc. because of a dispute with his partners, Julian Keeling has formed a new wholesale freight forwarding concern in Los Angeles.

The new company, called Consolidators International, will compete directly with ACI in the South Pacific and London markets.Wholesalers purchase space in bulk from the airlines and then sell it to small and medium-sized forwarders at a "retail" price lower than the regular forwarders could get on their own.

Mr. Keeling, a New Zealand native who owned 50 percent of ACI, was placed on administrative leave in July and left the company entirely in August, said Chuck Cocci, vice president of air cargo for Mr. Keeling's former partner, Lep Profit International Inc., a Marietta, Ga., forwarder.

"We're still in the process of working out the final details" of a settlement, said Mr. Cocci, who is also president of Los Angeles-based ACI.

In a statement, Mr. Keeling said "differences in management philosophy" prompted his departure from ACI. He said his new company is completely independent.

"Consolidators International has no ties to any other organization. Every customer is treated exactly alike," he said.

He said forwarders have responded warmly to his new operation, claiming it is already "the largest single cargo customer on a number of flights to Australia."

Mr. Cocci said ACI is more global in scope than Mr. Keeling's new company

because it covers Europe, the Far East and South Africa, as well as the South Pacific.

As for the new competition, the ACI chief said, "We've been around since 1986. We're going to continue to develop the wholesale market."

Besides its main office in Los Angeles, Consolidators International also has facilities in Chicago, Sydney and Melbourne. It plans to open offices in New York and Melbourne within the next few months.