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VOL. 128 | NO. 190 | Monday, September 30, 2013

Dunavant Picks Up TCI's Houston, Dallas Operations

By Michael Waddell

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Dunavant Transportation Group recently completed the acquisition of the Houston and Dallas operations of Transportation Consultants Inc., a New Orleans-based third-party logistics provider founded in 1983.

The move is the next in the continued evolution of Dunavant from a cotton merchant into a purely third-party logistics and asset-based transportation firm.

The deal marks the second acquisition for Dunavant in the Houston market in the past three years. In early 2011, Dunavant entered the asset-light side of the trucking business when it acquired Trans Gulf Transportation, a Houston-based transportation company specializing in regional and local intermodal drayage and trucking operations.

“We already have operations in Dallas and Houston, and TCI has locations there that are complementary to what we are trying to do in the Texas market and the Southwest. It’s a good fit,” said Richard McDuffie, Dunavant chief operating officer, who explained that the TCI deal provides Dunavant with a much-sought-after warehousing component in the Houston area.

The acquisition increases Dunavant’s regional and local intermodal and port chassis services, trucking and crossdocking amenities, and crossdock and warehouse capacity near Houston’s Bayport and Barbours Cut port terminals.

“Shipping and logistics are enormously important to the futures of Houston and Dallas, which are two of North America’s strongest regional economies,” McDuffie said. “Uniting Dunavant’s global expertise with TCI’s exceptional team in Texas will maximize our capabilities across the United States and around the world.”

McDuffie feels that the acquisition does not significantly affect Dunavant’s operations in Memphis.

“We did not impact or add any people in Memphis as part of this operation, other than a small amount of back office support,” he said. “We continue to expand our operations here in Memphis with organic growth.”

In addition to Dunavant’s latest strategic move to grow its operations in Texas, the company added Bethany Coots as director of marketing & business development as well as more sales and marketing staff in that market over the summer.

“We are very happy that we’ve experienced double-digit growth this year,” McDuffie said.

He said he expects continued growth, organically and through strategic acquisitions.

“We’re looking for the right companies with the right talent,” he said. “We are not opposed to more acquisitions in the Texas market. It’s a growing area of the country.”

Dunavant Transportation Group is a subsidiary of Memphis-based Dunavant Enterprises, an asset-based company providing container drayage, crossdocking and transloading, yard services, and chassis leasing. The company is currently involved with agricultural commodities, retail, paper, chemicals and food products.

Dunavant was founded in 1928, and the company gained more than 50 years of experience in logistics and supply chain management as one of the largest global commodities distributors in the world. The company sold its cotton interests to Louis Dreyfus Commodities in 2010.

Dunavant now has 10 truck terminals in the Southeast and Southwest, including Norfolk, Va.; Wilmington, N.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Savannah, Ga.; Atlanta; Dallas; Houston; Nashville; and Memphis. It also has sales offices in cities like Cincinnati.

The company has recently established new sales offices in Phoenix and Baton Rouge, La.

Through its Dunavant Transportation Group and Dunavant Logistics Group, the company focuses on four main “pillars” – global, freight, distribution and consulting.

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