Rail giant Union Pacific Corp. and shipping leader Katoen Natie are getting ready to move a lot of plastic resin.
The two firms recently announced their new Dallas to Dock shipping service, as well as plans to build a major resin shipping center in Dallas.
The Dallas to Dock service “provides plastic producers with a low-cost export solution for plastic pellets, expanding their reach overseas,” officials said in a news release. The service transports plastic pellets in hopper cars from the Gulf Coast region and ships the product to Dallas, where the pellets are packaged and transferred into intermodal containers.
The containers then travel to ocean ports via Union Pacific's premium intermodal service, they added.
To support the service, a state-of-the-art plastic packaging facility will be built in Dallas' Prime Pointe Industrial Park, a 3,000-acre industrial park in South Dallas County served by rail by Omaha, Neb.-based UP, which ranks as the largest rail provider in the U.S. The 500,000-square-foot location will be adjacent to UP's Dallas Intermodal Terminal and is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2017.
“The new plastic packaging facility is strategically located in Dallas to align with empty container availability and our premier intermodal service to the West Coast for export,” UP chemicals vice president Beth Whited said in the release.
She added that UP's expedited intermodal service offers four-day transit to West Coast ports. Union Pacific also offers international intermodal service between Dallas and Houston.
No jobs total or investment amount for the project was included in the release. It will be operated by Katoen Natie, which is based in Antwerp, Belgium and currently operates 14 locations in North America.
Katoen Natie USA president Frank Vingerhoets added in the release that the location “is a great extension of the Katoen Natie Global logistics network” and is one that “provides our customers flexibility for their far east export needs out of the U.S. Gulf.”
Newfound supplies of natural gas feedstock have prompted several resin makers to announce major capacity expansions in the U.S. Gulf Coast, primarily for polyethylene. More than 6 billion pounds of new PE capacity is set to come online in Texas in 2017 alone.
Some of this new capacity will go to meet the needs of domestic plastics processors, but a good portion of it is expected to be exported outside of North America, primarily to Asia and South America.
Texas-based firms Hillwood Development Co. LLC, Packwell Inc. and BNSF Railway Co. are working on a similar project in nearby Fort Worth. That project will be part of the AllianceTexas mixed-use development and is expected to come online during the fourth quarter of 2017.
The Hillwood/Packwell/BNSF effort will be part of a new global supply chain route that enables Packwell to ship resins in containers to end users through ocean steamship lines that work with BNSF. This route will connect Texas to Asia through ports in California.