The ports of Seattle and Tacoma are busy places and transloader MacMillan-Piper wouldn’t have it any other way. As the largest transloader and container freight station in the Pacific Northwest, the 100-employee, $18 million company loads cargo such as agricultural commodities and industrial materials in containers destined for ships en route to booming Asian markets.

The Seattle-based company transfers container shipments to the port docks from truck or rail with 170 truck doors and 70 rail spots at its six facilities located at the two ports. MacMillan-Piper’s Seattle sites can unload 36 rail cars and load well more than 150 containers per day.  The Tacoma facilities can unload more than 30 rail cars and load more than 100 containers per day. MacMillan-Piper also has 350,000 square feet of warehouse space at the two ports.

In today’s economic environment, however, maintaining a reliable and efficient supply chain can be difficult no matter how big or small the company is. In the face of rising fuel costs, increasing environmental regulation and an unstable trucking industry, developing advanced solutions for logistics is more important than ever. And advanced solutions are what GE has been about since the days of Thomas Edison. 

GE has been undergoing a revolution of sorts over the past few years as it has turned increasingly to intermodal as a means of tightening its supply chain operations and solving the transportation challenges it faces today. Global Transportation Manager Mark Chadwick says that by collaborating with rail industry partners such as CSX Transportation, GE is cutting down on risk and setting itself up for success for the foreseeable future. From an initiative started within the company’s lighting and appliances divisions, the gospel of intermodal has spread throughout GE’s operations, and Chadwick says it has the potential to be a lasting solution to the company’s transportation needs. 

Air Transat had modest expectations when it entered the cargo  business in the late 1980s. “We were flying wide-body passenger aircraft, so it made sense to diversify,” says Paul Nugent, senior director and general manager, cargo of the Montreal-based airline. 

“In this industry, the margins are so tight you want as many sources of revenue as you can find. The company decided that carrying cargo was worth the investment.”

Within the last five years, cargo loaded in the belly hold of aircraft during regularly scheduled passenger flights has grown to be an larger part of the company’s operations. During that time, Air Transat has more than doubled the fleet of Airbus 330 aircraft it uses to carry cargo from Canada to more than 60 destinations in 25 countries. This includes a number of destinations in Europe, which the airline serves with more direct flights than any other Canadian airline.

With an unsteady economy and high fuel prices, small- and medium-sized trucking companies are often struggling to remain profitable. Additionally, the increased use of transportation management systems (TMS) is shrinking carriers’ margins even more, sacrificing service for low costs. Even so, Wilson Trucking Co. is facing these challenges, all while maintaining the high level of service it has provided since the company was founded in 1926 – service that is based on integrity and honesty.

A vital link in rail transportation in West Texas was saved from deterioration just as the oil industry was beginning to develop in that area from hydraulic fracturing. Now, Texas Pacifico Transportation Ltd. is undergoing exponential expansion from the explosive growth of oil wells in the area. “The oil companies have plans to drill 4,000 wells within the next few years,” Executive Vice President Federico Díaz-Page reports. “We are not at the peak of demand.”

Many people take vitamins to maintain their health, so it stands to reason that the people who provide them do so with vim and vigor. That’s been the focus of Swanson Health Products for more than 40 years, and Director of Operations Terry Kraft says the company has grown to meet the demand of its customers with a nationwide distribution network that emphasizes speed and convenience.

One of the world’s largest independent providers of maintenance, repair and overhaul services to the global aerospace industry is making an internal investment that it expects will greatly enhance its operations.

StandardAero recently implemented the LoadStar transportation management platform companywide. The platform, created by software and supply chain solution provider CloudLogix, will allow StandardAero to improve its shipping operations and better manage its contracts with third-party logistics providers, Vice President of Supply Chain James Colleary says.

When transporting petroleum products such as gasoline, kerosene and jet fuel by ship throughout the Gulf of Mexico and as far north as Jacksonville, Fla., safety and maintaining a schedule are of prime importance. Seabulk Tankers Inc. carefully calculates the unloading time for these liquids when they are loaded onto or off of Seabulk’s ships through their manifold, a pipe with a flanged end that connects the ship’s liquid cargo to the petroleum company’s on-shore storage tank. Usually the unloading time is approximately 24 hours.

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