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VOL. 126 | NO. 235 | Friday, December 2, 2011

Trans Gulf Terminal in Dallas Opens

By Bill Dries

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A year after becoming majority owner of Trans Gulf Transportation Inc., Dunavant Enterprises Inc. of Memphis has announced the opening of a Trans Gulf terminal in Dallas.

The 3.5-acre facility is adjacent to the Dallas Intermodal Terminal. The intermodal terminal is a 360-acre complex with an emphasis on technology that allows a truck driver to get a container through the gate to its railport in less than two minutes – half the national average. The intermodal terminal has a 10-lane automated gate system and operates around the clock.

“Dallas is a key confluence center for products that are being imported or exported either intermodally going to the West Coast or going to the eastern ports,” said Richard McDuffie, Dunavant senior vice president of global logistics.

“It will help drive and support our customer base out of Houston and drive new customers in the Texas and Oklahoma interior. It’s just another opportunity for us to continue to grow our business.”

Trans Gulf is based in Houston and is expected to be a key link to eastern seaboard ports that will benefit from the Panama Canal expansion coming in 2014.

“Part of our strategy is to support those port cities we feel like are going to be positively impacted by the expansion of the canal,” McDuffie said. “It’s not going to be just this rush of containers and product. But I do believe you will see increased links from our ocean lines into those Gulf and East Coast port cities. Obviously we want to be prepared for that.”

Panama Canal Authority executives have been marketing the $5.25 billion expansion as another option for those in logistics. It’s a more subtle approach as opposed to billing it as a replacement for other options including the West Coast ports that have been handling the bigger vessels for years.

Rodolfo Sabonge, vice president of market research and analysis for the canal authority, told a Memphis intermodal conference in October the city is positioned to benefit from whichever option shippers choose.

McDuffie expects Dunavant customers will choose what works best pricewise – and what works best will differ depending on the particulars.

“We need to understand they are obviously not expanding that canal for free,” he said. “The charges that will be associated with going through the canal – all that weighs into the cost for shippers that they have to pay as they look to export or import product from the U.S. or into the U.S.”

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