Sources Sought Notice to Third Party Logistic (3PL) firms for Transportation, Storage, and Distribution of Food for the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

August 1, 2017

This is a sources sought notice. This notice is issued for market research purposes only. It does not constitute a commitment by the government, nor is it a solicitation or request for offers.

The purpose of this Sources Sought Notice is to invite comments, suggestions, and questions concerning a proposed solicitation for 3PL firms for the transportation, storage and distribution of food and to gain knowledge of potential qualified facility size classifications (such as Large Business, Small Business, 8(a), HUBzone, SDVOSB, or WOSB Programs) relative to the North American Industry Classification (NAICS code) 493110.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking qualified source(s) for one or more firm-fixed price performance-based service contract(s) for Third Party Logistic firms to transport, receive, store, and deliver food shipments purchased by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to recipients of federally mandated Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)  nutrition programs such as the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

Contractor(s) must be able to accept and process orders from USDA’s food ordering system,  the Web Based Supply Chain Management system (WBSCM), and be responsible for all logistic functions including, but not limited to, receiving truckload commodities from AMS vendors in dry, refrigerated and frozen forms, storing approximately a two (2) to three (3) month supply of commodities until needed, receiving orders for multiple types of stored commodities from recipients for scheduled delivery dates, loading of trucks consisting of 80% case pick, 20% full pallets, and delivery of multiple types of commodities to recipients in full and less-than-full truckload quantities, with a potential for dry, cooler, and freezer in a single truck. Storage facility proposed must be capable of storing both dry and temperature controlled products for the various nutrition programs.  Contractor must be able to track dates product is received into the contractor’s warehouse and best of used by dates on all external containers and report those to USDA electronically.  Contractor should have the ability to add additional routes on an as requested basis, including vendor pick up with multi-stop direct deliveries bypassing the warehouse. 

To assist 3PL firms in responding to this Sources Sought Notice, AMS has attached a spreadsheet that contains information on the locations of all current recipients by their City/State, annual shipment volume per lane, and temperature class. An average quantity of 17.5 pallets per full truckload can be assumed. Contractor(s) may also assume 4 inventory turns per year.

Note:  AMS anticipates the following line items will be included in future procurements:

  • One time, per pallet, in/out handling fee to include all loading, unloading, case pick fees (80% case pick anticipated) and assessorial charges
  • Temperature controlled initial and recurring biweekly storage fee charged on a per pallet basis.
  • Dry initial and recurring biweekly storage fee charged on a per pallet basis.
  • Special supplemental handling fee per pallet for slip sheeted inbound loads, to include palletization, stretch wrap, and any other necessary assessorial charges.
  • Transportation cost by dry truckload using Contractors route lanes of service.
  • Transportation cost by temperature-controlled truckload using Contractors route lanes of service.
  • Single out-of-route mileage rate that would be used for all multi stop shipments.
  • Stop charge on multi-stop deliveries
  • Fuel Surcharge, if applicable
  • Special Handling Circumstances (such as damaged loads, etc.)

AMS requests that respondents provide information as follows:

  1. What is your company’s business size (small or large)?  (businesses with 27.5 million or less in annual revenue are considered small businesses, businesses with greater than 27.5 million in annual revenue are considered large businesses)
  2. Is your company within a special socio-economic category as identified in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) relative to NAICS code 493110 (General Warehousing), such as 8(a), HUBzone, SDVOSB, or WOSB Programs?  If so, what is that designation?
  3. Based on the attached information and anticipated line items, how would you most efficiently handle this business? Describe the geographical service zone footprint that you would recommend. How many zones do you anticipate? What is your proposed warehouse location (city/state) to service each zone? If you do not wish to service all zones, describe which area you could best serve.
  4. Describe your ability to handle the volume specified.
  5. Describe your capability to manage data electronically, including incoming shipment scheduling, inbound receipts, inventory reporting (including dwell times and best of used by dates printed on external containers), recipient delivery order processing, outbound shipment tracking, invoicing, metric tracking, and any other pertinent data and information you see relevant.  What is your capability to transmit and receive this information electronically to/from USDA’s Web-Based Supply Chain Management System (WBSCM), which is based on SAP commercial software?
  6. Describe your customer service process and how problem resolution resulting in customer satisfaction is conducted.  (For example, how easy is it for the customer to get in contact with someone to discuss a problem, is there a specific process for tracking problems until resolution is achieved, how follow-up is handled and documented, how USDA will be notified, etc.)
  7. In the event a multi-stop full truckload is not feasible, how would you handle less than full truckload deliveries?
  8. Can your route guide handle transportation to final offshore destinations such as AK, HI, and VI, to include all drayage, last mile delivery, and assessorial fees?
  9. What is your fuel surcharge schedule and how often do you update it?
  10. Any additional comments on the anticipated line items or contractor capabilities/value added that AMS might want to consider that the contractor feels might be beneficial to AMS in planning such a contract.

Written questions in response to this RFI should be sent e-mailed to the attention of James D. Sprandel, Contract Specialist at by August 22, 2017.  Please include “Sources Sought Notice to Third Party Logistic (3PL) firms” in the subject line.

Written responses to this RFI should be limited to 10 pages, e-mailed to the attention of James D. Sprandel, Contract Specialist at  Please include “Sources Sought Notice to Third Party Logistic (3PL) firms” in the subject line.  These responses must be received no later than September 8, 2017.

Point of Contact: James D. Sprandel, Contract Specialist, AMS Commodity Procurement Staff (AMS/CPS), Phone 202-720-9191, Email:

CP Staff