Arkansas and Missouri Railroad, APAC-Central awarded prestigious 2014 Argus Win-Win
From Left: Jim Seratt, A&M Railroad; Todd Tranausky, Argus Media;Reilly McCarren, A&M Railroad
From Left: Larry Combs, APAC Central; Todd Tranausky, Argus Media; Reilly McCarren, A&M Railroad
HOUSTON, May 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Global energy and commodity price reporting agency Argus has named the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad and APAC Central, a division of Oldcastle Materials, as the 2014 recipients of its prestigious Win-Win Award.
The Win-Win was awarded today at the North American Rail Shippers Association conference in San Francisco in front of almost 300 representatives of railroads and their customers.
The Argus Win-Win award recognizes innovation and co-operation in a sometimes adversarial relationship. It is given to railroads, shippers and organizations that develop innovative partnerships leading to improved service, efficiency and other mutually beneficial service improvements.
The efficient service provided by the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad allows APAC-Central to serve previously inaccessible markets and compete against sand producers that use trucks to deliver their product. The railroad actively promotes APAC-Central's product to local sand users to increase both companies' business by touting the benefits of its direct rail service and by using a wholly-owned transload company that can truck product to non-rail-served industries near its line.
"It is like having two or three extra sales people that we do not have. It really is the greatest partnership going," APAC-Central account manager Larry Combs said.
The shortline railroad found a way to cope with declining sand traffic and revenue after the 2008 recession by searching for an inventive solution that would benefit its customers and allow it to recover the revenue lost by the sharply lower volumes. Volumes were only 4,000 sand cars in 2008. But by investing in expanding its fleet of dedicated sand cars to 130 and working with APAC-Central to expand its geographical reach through transload options, it is expected to move 8,000 railcars of sand this year.
In 2013, 16pc of Arkansas and Missouri's revenue and 20pc of its volume were generated by sand traffic. It now serves 37 sand customers on its 139-mile network, and recently bought three new 4,300-horsepower SD70ACe locomotives to better handle the business.
The shortline railroad provides two-day cycle times for the sand traffic moving to a network of rail and transload facilities along its lines. Arkansas and Missouri is able to get even more productivity from the dedicated fleet by using it to haul limestone back from destination terminals to industries close to the sand loading sites.
"This project has been a win for all involved — a win for APAC-Central with the ability to reach more markets, a win for Arkansas and Missouri in increased car volume and revenues, a win for the customer, who receives quality product and service at a significant savings, and ultimately a win for the community as a whole, with the removal of so many trucks from our fragile highway infrastructure," Jim Seratt, Arkansas and Missouri's general manager for marketing and transload services, said.
Argus Media chairman and chief executive Adrian Binks said recipients of Argus Win-Win awards demonstrate the best practices in the industry. "We congratulate Arkansas and Missouri and APAC-Central on this successful venture and on the spirit of innovation and excellence it shows," he said.
Launched in 1998 by Argus Rail Business, the annual award is now in its 17th year and celebrates partnerships between rail carriers and customers resulting in significant cost or service benefits. The latest award recognizes both companies for establishing a partnership that allows the shipper to increase the reach of its sales through rail transportation, and the railroad for expanding its service and adding volume at the same time.
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New locomotives worth their weight
From left, Dan Drenner, Conductor; Jason Etheridge, Conductor/Locomotive Engineer; and Bill Wheeler, Conductor/Locomotive Engineer, stand proudly on the point of one of A&M’s newest EMD locomotives.
In anticipation of retiring all but 10 of its ALCO locomotives, the short line decided it was time to invest in more units for its fleet.
A&M picked up its three new EMD locomotives — Nos. 70, 71 and 72 — Sept. 11 in Monett. The locomotive engineers and conductors who operate them say it’s an honor and a privilege.
“They’ve got plenty of power to move what we need to move,” said Bill Wheeler, Conductor/Locomotive Engineer with 23 years of service. “Our speed doesn’t drop on the hills like it used to when we pull bigger trains. A couple of these can do what six or seven ALCOs can do.”
He explained that is to be expected. Horsepower of A&M’s ALCO locomo-tives is 2,000, and the EMD units’ horse-power is 4,300.
Dan Drenner, Conductor and two-year A&M employee, also appreciates the new locomotives.
“They’re efficient and more relaxing to run,” he said. “They make our job easier.”
Even Transportation Department employees who have not yet run the new locomotives are singing their praises. Kevin Hallmark, Conductor/Locomotive Engineer, for example, knows the three new units have been a big help.
“They allow us to move more freight in less time,” said the nine-year employee. “Everybody is happy they’re here.”
There are more benefits than just how much weight these locomotives can pull and at what velocity. Wheeler said they are more comfortable and ride more quietly.
“Everything works on them; they’re not drafty and you can talk across the cab to one another without shouting,” he said. “Basically, they’re big and shiny, and we like running them.”
RPCX 8322 car arrives
A&M recently received a RPCX 8322 car from the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum in Dennison, Ohio. Built as part of the “Pride of Texas” series for the Southern Pacific’s Sunset Limited in 1950 as a diner bar/lounge, the self-contained car features a 240–3 phase AC motor powered by a Stadco genset, electric baseboard heat and R134a air conditioning systems.
New warehouse accommodates business demands
An additional warehouse at Fort Smith more than doubles storage capacity, helping meet customers’ needs
A&M offers a range of logistics and transportation services to its valued clients, ensuring long-term success of the company and communities it serves.
Sister company Ozark Transmodal Inc. added 60,000 square feet to its Fort Smith warehouse, primarily for Graphic Packaging Inc. storage. Additionally, two new rail doors with hydraulic dock levelers were installed to help unload railcars better and faster.
Now encompassing more than 100,000 square feet, the expansion offers a larger transloading facility to accommodate customers moving bulk freight along the 140-mile system. Material now is readily accessible for delivery to Graphic Packaging at Chaffee Crossing Industrial Park.
In his role since January 2013, Bob Thorn, Operations Manager for Allied Enterprises, which consists of Ozark Transmodal and reload operations with A&M, oversaw the construction and sees many benefits.
“We can now store all material in one location instead of leasing an outside facility across town,” he said. “It’s fully operational and convenient.”
Five full-time employees, including Thorn, work safely and were reportable injury free in 2013.
OTI provides services for inbound and outbound commodities to customers lacking direct access to rail or storage. It is positioned for bringing in business, especially with the uptick for warehouse needs along Arkansas River.