Coal City Cob keeps Texas wash rack busy
Mar 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Charles E Wilson
Randy Wasson sounds downright upbeat when he discusses the outlook for DFW Tank Cleaning in Waxahachie, Texas. Chemical and foodgrade shipments are down, but plenty of tank trailers still need to be cleaned after hauling a load.
Located about 27 miles south of Dallas, the wash rack cleans about 450 tank trailers a month, roughly the same number as in 2008 when the economy was much stronger. DFW Tank Cleaning provides chemical and foodgrade washes for tank trailers and intermediate bulk containers (IBCs). The six-bay facility is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We have to work harder at marketing and sales, but we are keeping the wash rack busy,” says Wasson, vice-president of operations for Coal City Cob Company Inc, DFW Tank Cleaning's parent. “Our cleaning volumes haven't been badly hurt so far by the recession even though tank truck activity in this area is down 20% to 25%. We're putting a lot more effort into marketing, because we want to be ready to go when the market turns around.
“We are still very optimistic about the future of DFW Tank Cleaning. Looking down the road, commercial tank cleaning was a good business for us to add to our operation. The long-term benefits will outweigh the short-term challenges.”
DFW Tank Cleaning opened for business in April 2008. It didn't take the wash rack long to reach an average monthly wash volume of 450 tank trailers, which is about half of the facility's full capacity. IBC volumes also have grown steadily. The wash rack can clean a wide range of challenging products, including specialized coatings.
The 28,000-sq-ft wash rack shares space on a 30-acre site that also houses Coal City Cob's headquarters terminal, a 48,000-sq-ft maintenance shop, and an 85-railcar transloading operation. The facility has plenty of room to grow and add services.
The Waxahachie complex is the largest of the five terminals in the Coal City Cob network, and it is home to 42 of the fleet's tractors (Only the Houston, Texas, terminal has more equipment with more than 60 tractors). It replaces a smaller terminal in Avalon, about 15 miles south of the Waxahachie location. The Avalon terminal has been closed and will be sold or leased.
“We needed a new facility to serve the Dallas-Ft Worth market because we had run out of room to grow at the Avalon location,” says Michael O Cloonen, president of Coal City Cob. “We found the Waxahachie property in November 2006, and we closed the deal in April 2007. The office building and the rail access were already here, but we had to build the rest.
Wasson adds that the facility was built with growth in mind. “The terminal gives Coal City Cob the opportunity to increase market share substantially,” he says. “We're just off Interstate 35, which is a major NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) highway, and the Dallas-Ft Worth area is a key rail hub.”
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