A single derailment can have a significant negative effect on a railroad's operations. Although there are several potential factors that could result in a train leaving the tracks, one of the most common is a flaw in the steel rail. For rail operators, broken or defective rails are significant safety and cost hazards.

To prevent problems from broken rails, rail operators in the United States usually contract companies to conduct non-destructive testing using ultrasonic flaw detection to determine the rails' structure and integrity. International rail operators, however,  have typically chosen from a limited number of international contractors or expensive rail-bound vehicles, says Brad McCall, president of rail equipment distributor American Equipment Co. (AMECO). The company specializes in exporting a wide-range of railroad equipment and represents a number of U.S.-based manufacturers internationally.

What some firms view as waste, 

Altiras sees as a possible treasure. Based in Houston, the company provides chemical and fuel reuse products and services for clients worldwide, including “virtually all the major chemical manufacturers,” CEO Steven Marshall says.

Founder Todd Pencarinha started the business in 2003. After spending 10 years in the chemical industry as an engineer, he got the idea for Altiras when he saw that no firms were finding an efficient use for their co-products and byproducts, known as secondary chemicals. These, Marshall explains, are often co-products and byproducts from the prime chemical manufacturing process and can also result from accidental contamination during transportation.

One example is a chemical plant that produces acetic acid. The manufacturer will sell the “prime” product that is 99.5 percent acetic acid or better, but reject any byproduct that is less pure and contains other chemicals in the mixture.

Maintaining and expanding the transportation infrastructure of Canada’s largest cities requires a great deal of planning, engineering and construction management expertise. URS Canada Inc.’s expert staff and more than 60 years of experience makes it more than up to the challenge of ensuring that the highways and rail lines of Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa and Vancouver run smoothly.

Ever since Howard LeFevre laid the foundations of what would become Truck One in 1947, the organization has been building a reputation for delivering loads as promised. LeFevre passed away in 2008, but his legacy lives on through the assets, strength and quality of service that is a part of Truck One today.

“We have gone through a great deal of evolution,” President and CEO Jay Winegardner says. “Howard was the driving force that helped the company become what it is today.”

Over the past three decades, TCSI-Transland has striven to provide best-in-class service that exceeds customer expectations. TCSI-Transland focuses on offering safe, reliable and environmentally responsible transportation services. 

“This company started by taking trailers off the railroad hub in Springfield in conjunction with another company that was doing the same thing in Kansas City,” Chairman and CEO Mark Walker says. “We started with one tractor and grew by focusing on timeliness, consistency and following through on our promises.”

Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus is advancing its technology to provide its passengers with real-time scheduling, easy payment options and reliable service, just as public transportation needs are on the rise in its 58-square-mile service area. 

The Big Blue Bus is a department of the city of Santa Monica and governed by its city council. However, it’s unique in that none of the city’s general revenue funds the department and Big Blue Bus is considered a regional provider of public transportation service, Executive Director Ed King says. “People look upon us as the city of Santa Monica’s operated department, but we are a regional transit authority,” he adds. “We are always trying to expand our markets and looking at new market initiatives.” 

When Meredith “Rube” Roarke started in the trucking business in 1969, it was for a simple purpose. His company, Meshoppen Stone Inc., needed transporters to haul Pennsylvania bluestone across the country. 

The company was supplying bluestone to customers such as the Arlington National Cemetery, Wellington Cemetery and Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Roarke secured two trucks to haul this bluestone flag. Now, Penn’s Best has expanded well beyond that original mission and serves Fortune 500 clients. 

The logistics industry is cemented in practicality. Get in, get what you need and get out. But do it in a way that’s the most time-, cost- and labor-efficient. David Wood, director of sales and marketing for Kalmar Ottawa terminal tractors, says that if the plan doesn’t meet those needs, those in the logistics industry don’t want anything to do with it. 

“As we study the needs of our customers and listen to their feedback, we learn that they are on the hunt for appropriate technology,” Wood explains. “There isn’t an appetite for toys and gadgets that don’t pay off in productivity. But if it’s appropriate technology that pays them back in short order by ensuring productivity in moves per day or results in less mistakes and more accuracy, that’s a good investment.”

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