Expanding for opportunity

Expanding for opportunity

Many carriers are finding it’s not necessarily all gloom and doom out there right now--if they maintain control of their costs, market themselves more effectively, and expand their service while others contract

Many carriers are finding it’s not necessarily all gloom and doom out there right now--if they maintain control of their costs, market themselves more effectively, and expand their service while others contract.

It’s exactly this recipe that New Orleans-based Transportation Consultants Inc. (TCI) is using to take advantage of what it sees as opportunities in both the intermodal and truckload markets.

TCI recently leased 16 new trucks for its fleet – 15 Kenworth T660s tractors and one Navistar LoneStar Class 8– as part of a larger effort aimed at building business not only from current accounts but new ones as well, said Christian Jensen, president of TCI. In November 2008, the company signed a letter of intent to purchase and operate a new 28-acre container depot and warehouse facility in New Orleans East next to the city’s port so it could better serve its customer base.

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Many carriers are finding it’s not necessarily all gloom and doom out there right now--if they maintain control of their costs, market themselves more effectively, and expand their service while others contract.

It’s exactly this recipe that New Orleans-based Transportation Consultants Inc. (TCI) is using to take advantage of what it sees as opportunities in both the intermodal and truckload markets.

TCI recently leased 16 new trucks for its fleet – 15 Kenworth T660s tractors and one Navistar LoneStar Class 8– as part of a larger effort aimed at building business not only from current accounts but new ones as well, said Christian Jensen, president of TCI. In November 2008, the company signed a letter of intent to purchase and operate a new 28-acre container depot and warehouse facility in New Orleans East next to the city’s port so it could better serve its customer base.

"The situation right now is that many of our local competitors are scaling back operations," said Jensen. "Our decision to expand the New Orleans fleet to 80 trucks makes TCI the largest container-hauler in the city and better positions the company for long-term growth opportunities."

TCI – a trucking and warehousing firm that specializes in containerized cargo – runs a fleet of over 250 trucks with locations in Baltimore, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Jacksonville, FL, Mobile, AL, New Orleans and Costa Rica. The company is also expanding operations in some of those locations as well, said media spokesman Nicholas Bousquet.

“We’re doing well and still keeping our drivers busy,” Bousquet told FleetOwner. “We’re finding different opportunities, not just in our container and intermodal markets. Our Houston branch just leased 15 new dry van trailers for domestic over-the-road service. This is the time to look into growth opportunities we feel.”

Bousquet added that leasing new trucks benefits the bottom line in several ways. For starters, the T660s and LoneStar get significantly better fuel mileage than TCI’s older equipment, translating into operational savings going forward.

“According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ 2006 data, the average combination truck – which includes the type of freight trucks used by TCI – gets 5.1 miles per gallon,” he said. “In comparison, each of our new 2009 Kenworth trucks gets at least 7 miles per gallon, with LoneStar getting comparable mileage. That is expected to generate an annual total cost savings of $190,000 for us and save over 63,000 gallons of fuel annually.”

The new trucks also provide strategic capability, Bousquet added, allowing TCI to handle a greater volume of containers at better fuel efficiencies. They’ll be added to TCI's New Orleans truck fleet through February of this year primarily to haul shipping containers to and from ports, railroads, manufacturers and warehouses across the Gulf South region.

Bousquet noted that the new equipment offers TCI a marketing benefit. “Pulling up to a customer location in brand-new, metallic-blue painted trucks leaves an impression. That visibility is an added benefit, though you can’t put a value on it. For us, investing in new equipment to expand our operations is like hitting two birds with one stone – we’re cutting our operating costs while making a visible impression on customers.”

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