Tracking the Reverse Logistics Cycle

DLA Disposition Services sets a sustainable pace for the reuse of federal-level materials with the help of Government Liquidation


Military practices

With such large items and material unlike the useable property that comes into DLA Disposition Services, the agency turns to Government Liquidation, which sells over two billion pounds of scrap material and over 5.6 million surplus items—adding to its green initiative, a factor which serves as another important function of reverse logistics that experienced added attention from companies in the supply chain.

Such was the scenario in the case of the USS Long Beach. Deactivated in 1994, the superstructure of the vessel was removed, reactors were defueled and the cruiser was towed through the Panama Canal to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington where it was held until further recycling measures were taken. Most recently—and in support of one of the largest green and zero-waste initiatives in U.S. government history—the vessel was auctioned off July 10th through July 12th for its scrap metal components through Government Liquidation.

“As the USS Long Beach was dismantled, we had to identify bidders that were capable of removing the metal as it was coming away from the ship,” explained Burton. “The government is committed to zero waste. Even the slag that is generated from cutting torches is collected and put in hoppers to be removed. So it’s not haphazard—the process is planned well in advance. We set up an auction and we qualified bidders to make sure they had the capability to meet the requirements of Puget Sound—which is more critical than most because their space is just so limited. There is property that is turned in as excess nearly every week. And the following week, there is more property. And this is the same problem at all 200 or so military bases,” he continued.

A global seller of assets in over 500 different U.S. government commodity categories—such as aircraft parts and industrial machinery and equipment—Government Liquidation operates an online sales portal to allow surplus and scrap buyers to purchase available government assets. The company promotes property for sale with approximately 1,000 videos per week and over one million photos per year to over two million registrants to make this property available to as large an audience as possible to find the best use for it.

And as a contractor of the DLA Disposition Services for the sale of surplus and scrap assets of the United States Department of Defense (DOD), Government Liquidation knows first-hand the number of more finite details—with strict compliance to safety, environmental and security restrictions as a large component of that—that are involved with reverse logistics in this realm than perhaps in a different industry segment.

“The one thing that all this property has in common is that it was purchased by the Department of Defense for the U.S. military,” said Burton. “So while some of this property may have originally had a military purpose, the government wants to know who is buying it and what will that material be used for. Because it is the government, we need to make sure that we keep good records of the material, we don’t let property sit idle, we make sure that space is available to hold next week’s collections—such as for some of the high-interest items.”

Not surprisingly, some of the processes involved require correct documentation which the government requires for some of the “end-use certificate” purchases. For example, Government Liquidation receives FDA certificates for medical devices or any type of potentially-hazardous material, which verifies if an item has been properly handled and is disposed of toxic components. In addition, Government Liquidation has a safety program and a risk management department to comply with DLA Disposition Services’ rules and regulations.

Throughout the bid process, Government Liquidation identified Tacoma Metals with the winning bid which met all the requirements for the scrap removal process of the cruiser. To date, of the 7.35 million pounds of scrap assets of which the USS Long Beach was sold for back in the June/July timeframe, over 140,000 pounds of material was removed thus far, according to Burton (the project is ongoing under a three-year term).

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