Niles welcomes new international shipping service

Published 10:52 am Saturday, February 3, 2007

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES – An international logistics company has a base in Niles.
An office of AIT Worldwide Logistics has been established in the same warehouse with Michiana Delivery Service, renaming the facility the Michiana Transportation Centre. AIT Niles co-owners Ray Bennett and Ryan Jay have more than 35 years experience in the freight forwarding business.
"Our claim to fame … is we are the first and only full service freight forwarder to be physically based in southwestern Michigan," Bennett said.
Bennett established the first freight forwarding business in South Bend – Circle International – more than 25 years ago. Jay has 10 years experience with major freight forwarding companies in the Michiana area.
AIT as a corporation is one of the top five logistics companies in North America and is partners with more than 115 fortune 500 firms. Bennett, a Granger, Ind. resident, said the office at 2220 S. 11th St. will provide primary services of domestic and international air freight, ocean freight, import services and brokerage, warehousing, expediting and regional service express.
"We're your one stop total logistics," said Jay, who's from Edwardsburg.
AIT's Web-based operating system allows Bennett and Jay to manage cargo locally and anywhere in the world, and provides clients the ability to track their product around the globe, Bennett said. Through their partnership with MDS, AIT has access to more than 30,000 square feet of storage and 40 local delivery trucks.
Bennett said he expects AIT's main clients to be based in manufacturing and commercial business, with products like medical supplies, electronics, appliances and appliance parts and consumer goods. The office in Niles is capable of serving clients within a 150-mile radius, he added. AIT's major trading partners include Canada, Mexico, major European cities and China, which accounts for about 80 percent of the company's ocean freight.
"We can handle 50,000 pounds or we can handle a pound," Bennett said, adding they primarily handle large packages.
AIT is also involved with numerous charities, such as the American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross, Bennett said. The company was honored last year with the American Cancer Society 2006 Mission Impact Award, he added.