Led by strong sales in the electronics sector, LTL giant Consolidated Freightways (CF) says it expects shipments of its expedited, time-definite ground services, known as PrimeTime, to continue to rise through the holiday season.

"Because of the economic uncertainties since September, retailers have been cautious about building inventories," said Tom Waltz, director of CF’s PrimeTime Services based in Vancouver, WA. "But the big retail chains, especially those that sell lots of electronics equipment, are now relying on time-definite services like PrimeTime to replenish inventory as goods move off the shelf."

Waltz said CF's inbound PrimeTime bookings from core retailers such as Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA and K-Mart nearly doubled last month compared to October. Circuit City and Best Buy are publicly reporting significantly higher sales than last year, and point to DVD sales, computer peripherals, and digital televisions as their hottest-selling items. Overall, CF said shipments of PrimeTime services (dedicated to time-sensitive freight that moves within two-to-five-day delivery windows) rose 10% in November. Waltz is optimistic about forecasts that predict the manufacturing sector may lead the nation's economic recovery next year. As the economy is kick-started, he believes the manufacturing sector will turn to expedited and time-definite freight to restock supply chain pipelines during the first half of 2002.

"Some reports indicate manufacturing is already showing signs of turning around, and CF -- like many economists -- believes this sector can lead the economic recovery," Waltz explained. "As the economy heats up, we expect to see spikes in all of our expedited and time-sensitive freight bookings."