"We're seeing an increase in rail activity," says Bob Lawyer, Northwest regional manager for Henningsen. "We do a considerable amount of business via rail at most of our facilities. We've just taken on a new rail project-we're partnering with the Port of Benton to develop a refrigerated transload center that we will manage."
The Port of Benton, Richland, WA, is working with local and state municipalities as well as the Tri-City and Olympia Railroad Co. to build the transload center. A ground-breaking ceremony was held last month and the center is expected to open in September. Tri-City and Olympia Railroad will provide rail service, hauling cars to interchange with BNSF Railway or Union Pacific Railroad lines.
"With this concept, we can utilize either one of the Class One carriers and go anywhere a rail car needs to go," says Lawyer. "The smaller shippers need the flexibility that they can only get with a BNSF or UP line. Plus, the railroads are becoming more efficient. With GPS tracking, cars no longer get lost and they're able to track better and monitor temperature."
Henningsen is also working on getting its distribution centers SHARP certified. SHARP (Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program) recognizes employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system. A SHARP-certified facility is exempt from programmed OSHA inspections.
Receiving SHARP status is not easy. To participate is the program, companies need to:
- Implement as well as maintain a safety and health management system that addresses OSHA' 1989 Safety and Health Program management guidelines;
- Lower Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate and Total Recordable Case (TRC) rate below national average; and
- Agree to notify the state Consultation Project Office about changes in working conditions or new hazards into the workplace.
"This is an outstanding achievement for our company," says Lawyer. "We want to make sure our commitment to safe business practices and compliance to regulatory and safety concerns is at the highest level. We want to make sure that we are doing everything right."
Currently, three of Henningsen's facilities have achieved SHARP status and the company is working on getting the rest certified.
Like Hanson Logistics, Henningsen is also expanding. The company is set to build a 140,000-square-foot distribution center in Portland, OR, this summer.
"We've been in the Portland area for years and our present facility is tapped out on space, so it became evident that we needed to expand," says Lawyer. "We've partnered with a local processor who is co-locating with us, so they will have some space at the facility."
The facility is designed for high-volume input, with a racking design and layout that will enable Henningsen to meet a variety of customer requirements, including case-pick consolidation and cross docking of temperature-controlled food products.
Kane Can Do
Kane Is Able, a Scranton, PA-based third-party logistics provider, operates close to six million square feet of distribution space across the U.S., counting warehousing, contract packaging and transportation among its services.
"The biggest challenge is being able to look for value-add that we can offer to customers," says Alex Stark, marketing and business development. "Much of our business is CPG-focused and the rising fuel costs hits their bottom line.
"Everybody is waiting for the oil prices to come down," says Stark. "But we see it as a challenge. The way we look at it, oil prices will force people to think out of the box. This crisis will push the industry forward and we will see something better as a result."
Stark says Kane has gone beyond the traditional third-party logistics services, offering contract packaging, delayed manufacturing and load consolidation. "We are very proactive when it comes to meeting our customers' needs," says Stark.