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Agency Aids Construction Material Purchases

American Forces Press Service

FORT BELVOIR, Va., Jan. 8, 2010 – Defense Logistics Agency officials have made shopping for construction materials easier for warfighters in Afghanistan.

DLA has created an online shopping portal, also known as a virtual storefront, so troops in Afghanistan can see what types of construction materials are available from local contractors in their region.

The Maintenance, Repair and Operations Uzbekistan Virtual Storefront warehouse and Web site is open for business. DLA leaders say they expect that allowing warfighters to check available stocks in real time will shorten delivery times by as much as 60 to 90 days on certain items.

“The virtual storefront is being established for proof of principle that ordering and shipping time can be improved by moving supplies closer to the point of use,” said Linda Gruber, branch chief for the agency’s construction and equipment supplier operations directorate.

The virtual storefront was established through an agreement between DLA and one of its contractors to create a prime vendor-owned and operated facility in Termez, Uzbekistan, which borders Afghanistan to the north.

Within the area of operations, the storefront will procure, distribute and store material manufactured in South Caucasus and Central and South Asian states. Besides Uzbekistan, countries included in these two groups are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. In addition, items can also be sourced from any Trade Agreement Act compliant country.

“Having the products closer to the fight will make it easier for warfighters by reducing logistics response and delivery time,” said Chet Evanitsky, DLA’s construction and equipment supply chain division chief.

So far, 24 types of construction material products are available for delivery to customers through the virtual storefront. These include cement, concrete, fencing, roofing, rope, sand, steel, gutters and pipe. Additional items will be added on an as-needed basis, Gruber said.

Other high-demand items not manufactured or sourced in the region, such as replacement parts for relocatable buildings, also may become available through the storefront. DLA officials also are identifying sources for food items in Uzbekistan and plan to share these sources with subsistence prime vendors for potential local purchase as long as items meet quality and price requirements.

As the Defense Department’s combat logistics support agency, DLA is responsible for providing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, other federal agencies and joint and allied forces with a variety of logistics, acquisition and technical services.

(From a Defense Logistics Agency news release.)

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