border areas is a weekly review of developments in the world of cross-border transportation and trade between the United States and Mexico. This week: LGT Transport expands in Texas; Fintech Firm Raises $16M in Cross-Border Trade; Transfar Shipping Launches China-US Gulf Coast Container Service; and El Paso Logistics Park opens.
Nebraska-based tanker ship expands in Texas to serve industrial refineries
LGT Transport recently expanded its Baytown, Texas facility to handle the growing volume of industrial gas customers in the US Gulf Coast region.
The Baytown facility now also serves as LGT Transport’s southern headquarters, managing customers and services in North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Texas.
Pam Spaccarotella, founder and CEO of LGT Transport, based in Omaha, Nebraska, said the growth in Texas has come from chemical and gas refinery customers.
“We’re still focused on the industrial gases industry, and refineries are big consumers of industrial gases,” Spaccarotella told FreightWaves. “We recently expanded into anhydrous ammonia in the Gulf Coast region, and we’re also expanding into LPG.”
LGT Transport also has five other locations in Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee and California. Spaccarotella first opened a cryogenic manufacturing workshop and truck terminal in Baytown in 2016.
“I had a truck terminal and I also have this repair facility for cryogenic trailers and ISO containers that are used to transport ethylene in the liquefied natural gas space,” Spaccarotella said. “We outgrew that area, so we bought 11 acres of land in 2020 and built our new facility in 2021.”
Today, the Baytown terminal is LGT Transport’s largest facility. It includes a 4,100-square-foot office space and a 20,000-square-foot maintenance center. The expansion was completed in January.
About 75 to 100 trucks operate from the Baytown facility, with a mix of company drivers and owners. The expansion included driver amenities such as showers, a laundry facility, a break room for meal preparation and storage, and a lounge and rest areas.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, LGT has 178 trucks and 194 drivers.
Spaccarotella founded LGT Transport in 2012 after a career in the Air Force, where she worked as a missile launch officer. A graduate of the Air Force Academy, she also has a law degree and is a chartered accountant.
“When I became a CPA, it was during that time in public accounting that I started working for transportation customers,” Spaccarotella said. “My trucking career really began when I became Controller and Chief Financial Officer for Cryogenic Transportation.”
Spaccarotella worked her way up to President and CEO of Cryogenic Transportation before going freelance and founding LGT Transport.
Petroleum and liquid tankers may be the trucking segment with the biggest job shortage, with applicants for skilled drivers down nearly 42% since 2019, according to National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC), an industry trade group.
“The driver shortage has hit the specialty petroleum driver segment particularly hard, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the problem,” NTTC said in a study released in August.
Spaccarotella said LGT Transport was very lucky to find drivers.
“We have excellent drivers, and we don’t have the turnover or recruitment difficulties that most trucking companies have,” Spaccarotella said.
The biggest challenge for LGT Transport at the moment is not finding drivers, but getting new tankers.
“It’s very difficult to get trucks these days; The big truck manufacturers are far behind on production this year,” said Spaccarotella. “All trucks that we are supposed to deliver in February have been postponed to July.”
Watch: FreightWaves’ Carrier Update for February 25th
Fintech company raises $16 million to boost cross-border trade
New York-based startup Mundi recently announced it had raised $16 million in a Series A round, according to TechCrunch.
The funding round was led by Union Square Ventures and included Upper90, FJ Labs, Base10 Partners, Exor NV, Andbank, AlleyCorp, Operator Partners and Gilgamesh Ventures, as well as Brex, C2FO, Bluevine and Wisetack.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved in the first two years. Our mission will continue to help support more Mexican companies to expand their business internationally,” Mundi officials said in a statement.
Mundi was founded in 2020 by Martin Pustilnick. The company previously raised $7.8 million in a seed round led by Base10 and FJ Labs.
Mundi is a digital factoring financial platform aimed at Mexico-based freight forwarders exporting goods to the United States. The company uses non-recourse factoring solutions to provide financial services to transportation and logistics companies.
Transfar Shipping launches container service between China and US East Coast
Singapore-based Transfar Shipping recently launched a China-US East Coast service that includes two seaports in Texas.
Transfar Shipping will call at Chinese ports of Qingdao and Ningbo; and also includes stops in New York Harbor and New Jersey; Charleston, South Carolina; and Port Houston and the Port of Freeport in South Texas.
Transfar Shipping’s China-US East Coast service currently offers one to two direct trips per month. The service, which launched in December, is Port Freeport’s first container ship to offer an all-water service from Asia.
“The current disruptions in the supply chain have encouraged shippers and shippers to consider alternative ports of entry, Port Freeport has become an enticing alternative,” said Phyllis Saathoff, CEO of Port Freeport, in a statement.
Transfar Shipping began operations as a freight forwarder in July and launched liner shipping services between China and the US West Coast on chartered vessels in August.
Transfar is owned by China’s 3PL Worldwide Logistics, a subsidiary of Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company.
El Paso Logistics Park opens, 3 tenants under contract
VanTrust Real Estate, a commercial real estate developer, recently completed phase one of the El Paso Logistics Park in El Paso, Texas.
Phase I consists of four industrial buildings totaling 514,135 square feet on 59 acres. The park is 1 mile from Interstate 10 and 5 miles from the US-Mexico border crossing at the Ysleta-Zaragoza International Bridge.
Kansas City, Missouri-based VanTrust also announced three new tenants at the park, including OLA Logistics LLC, Interceramic Inc. and Buckland Global Trade Services Inc.
“These three leases are a great example of the industrial demand that El Paso, the world’s largest frontier community, is experiencing,” said Josh Meredith, development manager at VanTrust, in a statement. “This is just the beginning of what is expected to be a growing market in 2022.”
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The list of FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers includes LGT Transport (No. 491).