G&D Hoffman Transportation is making good progress on a resin distribution center that it's building in the Chicago area.
The 400,000-square-foot facility in Coal City, Ill., is on track to open in January, Vice President Jordan Hoffman said in a recent phone interview.
"We hope some of the rail work will be done prior to that so that we can get bulk shipments going," he said. "That will give our customers something to get excited about."
Hoffman added that the firm has had "massive amounts of ballast hauled in" and that all excavation work at the site is complete.
The center will include paved access for nearly 700 rail cars and a fleet of bulk trucks. Services will include warehousing, bulk transfer and packaging.
Coal City is located about 60 miles southwest of Chicago and about 10 miles from G&D Hoffman's headquarters in Channahon, Ill. The firm is building all of its own rail track for the Coal City site. Jordan Hoffman said that doing so "isn't typical, but we've been in business for 35 years and can do that work ourselves."
Resin distribution leader M. Holland Co. of Northbrook, Ill., will be the main client of the site, which also can serve as a secondary export hub for a growing polyethylene production base in the United States. Major Prime Plastics Inc. of Villa Park, Ill., will provide logistics services. Both G&D Hoffman and Major Prime have worked with M. Holland for more than 30 years.
The project will give M. Holland access to direct rail service from three rail providers — Union Pacific, Burlington Northern-Santa Fe and Canadian National — for service to domestic and international markets. M. Holland is one of North America's largest resin distributors, supplying more than 1.4 billion pounds of resin annually to more than 4,000 customers.
The Coal City site is intended to provide resin to domestic customers, but could be used as a secondary export hub as well.
The Gulf Coast shipping systems may soon be at capacity, even during regular weather conditions, Jordan Hoffman said. An estimated 12 billion pounds of PE may be coming online in the region, which can use more shipping options.
Shipments from resin plants on the Gulf — where most of them are being built — can reach Chicago in seven days, according to Hoffman. Chicago also is home to "every Class 1 intermodal hub," he added.
Coal City's location also allows rail traffic to avoid most of Chicago's rail grid, which can slow down deliveries. Officials previously said that avoiding Chicago rail traffic could reduce delivery times by 10-14 days.
G&D is investing $20 million in the Coal City project, which is expected to employ 50 in its first year. The firm's dry bulk transportation business includes 90 tractor units and 145 trailer units.