Excerpted from the April 2015 issue of Valve World Americas:
Interview By Sarah Schroer
The selection and purchasing of new valves and other materials also requires another aspect be considered: how to transport the new equipment to the desired locations. Valve World Americas spoke with Cory Rank, the National Account Executive at Broussard Logistics to discuss some of the considerations that go into transporting pumps, valves, and stainless steel.
Tell us about your company and what industries you are involved with?
Cory Rank: Broussard Logistics has been around since 1978. Paul L. Broussard is the owner. He started in the railroad industry, but soon transitioned to a full service logistics firm with a focus on LTL (Less Than Truckload). Our clients are usually manufacturers or distributors, and being headquartered in Houston we see a lot of oil and gas companies (particularly valve and pump manufacturing). We have a transportation brokerage division called Freight Cowboy and that deals with truckloads, flat beds, drop decks, and all the kinds of items needed to move things like stainless steel, valves and pumps.
What are your responsibilities at the company?
Cory Rank: I am a National Account Executive. My focus is to develop programs for clients who are looking to become more efficient in shipping and the handling of information as it applies to shipping across a multitude of different departments. We have a lot of different levels of service and can be as invisible or visible as our customers want us to be. We do a lot of behind the scenes with a certain large and well-known oil and gas giant. We are very behind the scenes with them providing freight audit and payment services as well as enhanced reporting capabilities. With other valve manufacturers we provide a full system that gives them more control over shipping and receiving, and allows multiple department visibility of freight related information. We also negotiate lower pricing and can provide integration into their existing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software. Our web-based TMS (Transportation Management Software) allows our clients to rate and route freight and they can best choose the carrier that fits theirs and their customers’ needs.
When you are transporting stainless steel, what are some of the logistics that you need to keep in mind?
Cory Rank: Stainless steel is little tricky because it is little more expensive and it’s a little less durable than normal steel. It has some bend and flex to it. You have to take certain precautions when transporting it. For example, you can’t use chains, you have to use straps, and more dunnage is needed when you are dealing with pipes to keep it straight. Sometimes, customers require tarping to avoid staining. Stainless steel – depending on if it is rolled, or sheet, or pipe – typically ships out around a class 70. If you had a ball of regular steel, it would be a class 50. The higher the class, the more costly the freight rates.
What goes into transporting pumps and valves?
Cory Rank: Pumps and valves are very durable. There is not usually too much on the LTL side that needs to go into it, as long as it is properly crated. Ball valves or check valves, for example, will often go out as a class 85. There are some big valves sometimes; one of my newest customers has 40,000 pound valves, for example. That requires a drop deck trailer to move it. All of the carriers that we bring on board have to meet a specific guideline, so we are always rotating them to make sure we have the best carriers in place for our customers.
Coming from the unique standpoint as a transportation company, have you noticed any trends that are taking place in the industry?
Cory Rank: Absolutely. Our trends are more geared towards what the future looks like for shipping and receiving. We are going to be seeing a push towards more brokerages. A lot of the big trucking companies are not investing in new equipment. This allows the smaller independent brokerages to pick up a lot of the slack that the big companies can’t handle. Pricing is going to go up because there is a shortage of truckload drivers, which will likely continue. The last figures I saw, we are running at about 160% of capacity. For every 10 trucks, only 6 get moved. I think we are going to see a consolidation of smaller brokerages that will combine to become a bit larger and be in a more beneficial position. I also think that this trend will carry over across from stainless steel to the valves and pumps. The price will continue to go up on the LTL side of things.
What do you recommend to manufacturer’s who have to move their products?
Cory Rank: I think we are going to see a consolidation of smaller brokerages forming larger players in the marketplace. This will give most manufacturers and distributors more leverage against the CH Robinsons of the world.