Transloading is a core part of utility pole hauling logistics. Moving items between trucks and trains is part of the supply chain that happens at a transload facility.
There are several options for moving your telephone poles from the rail car to the truck, but some are more cost-effective than others.
You could hire a separate company for transloading and then another for hauling to your final destination. Or you could choose a complete provider, like Blackwood Solutions, to both transload and haul your poles.
But what if you have months, or years until you need all of the poles? Do you have the capacity to store them at your job sites?
To combat this problem, and ensure we could provide the best door-to-door trucking solution to our clients, we built our own transloading yards.
Keep reading to learn more about Blackwood Solutions' transload yards and how we use them to provide an effective solution for our clients.
Grid Hardening is Growing
To understand how we came to create our own transload yards, it's helpful to review the modern grid-hardening landscape.
The electric utility industry is under immense pressure to harden grids, quickly. As electric vehicles become more common and in greater demand, they place more strain on the grid. Electric grids require more capacity and far more reliability.
We’ve already seen the immense damage that extreme weather and other issues pose to the grid. Weak grids collapse, leading to power outages that can last days or weeks. As the capacity requirements grow for the electric grids, these types of outages become less acceptable.
For these reasons, many utility companies seek to harden their grids. They need to ensure their grids can withstand the upcoming surge in capacity alongside the threat of natural disasters.
Oftentimes, a key part of hardening the grid is upgrading poles. This can include larger, more durable wood poles. Other times, it means converting the grid from wood poles to steel poles.
A Special Request from a Client
One of our existing clients (Company X) had several grid-hardening projects coming up within the next 7 years.
However, the lead times on the steel utility poles were very long. With varying start takes, they needed to order far in advance for their steel poles. That meant they needed to get a huge inventory of steel poles.
Company X did not have anywhere to put all of these steel poles. They did not have space on their property. Not to mention, steel poles are extremely heavy and hard to maneuver. They require specialized trucks and equipment to haul and handle. Even if Company X could bring them to their property, they would have a difficult time moving them as needed.
That’s why Company X turned to Blackwood Solutions for help. We were already helping them move poles between transportation movies and tuck them long distances to their job sites. But they needed additional help. Company X now needed a solution for inventory storage and management. They needed somewhere to put all of these steel poles until they needed them for each grid hardening project.
Building Our Transload Yards
At the time, Blackwood Solutions did not have our transload facilities. We did offer rail-car unloading to move freight between transportation modes. But we knew that to fully help Company X, we would need to create our own transloading lots.
So, 1.5 years ago, we built our first transload yard. The project went exceedingly well, and we learned a lot about building effective transload yards. We also learned the best strategies for holding and managing inventory. How to keep track of it and send inventory reports. Of course, we still used our yard to do what we do best: hauling new poles to their final destination.
After taking this special request from a customer, we realized what an incredible idea it was. We know that others in the pole industry would need the same help. Lead times on telephone poles are long, and projects are often far in advance. The manufacturers need to move the poles, but many utility companies do not have a place to store them.
Our Second Transload Yard
From there, we planned to create additional transload and inventory yards to handle new poles. Right after finishing our first build for Company X, another customer asked us for help with a failing transload yard.
We then purchased Geschwind Consignment in Cary, Ohio, a 30-year-old transload yard. In the past, this yard only worked with wood pole manufacturers. The manufacturer produced the wood poles and send them to the transload yard. They were held in inventory there and then shipped to the customer when ordered. We updated this yard, getting it in working order and ensuring it could handle other types of poles.
More to Come
Now, we plan to open two more transload and inventory yards in the next three months. By the end of 2023, we have another two planned. All of the upcoming yards will handle telephone poles, offering us the best possible spaces for outdoor inventory storage and logistics (as well as final mile delivery) for electric utility clients. Creating additional yards helps to ensure fast, efficient services for our clients nationwide.
Serving Our Clients with Utility Transload Yards
Our transload yards provide us with better opportunities to serve our utility clients. Thanks to our new facilities, we can offer a complete pole-hauling solution. Our services include:
Pickup from Distribution Center
The manufacturers want to get poles off their yard as soon as a customer buys them. Oftentimes, they send the poles by rail car. Blackwood Solutions will obtain your poles from rail cars and take them to our transload and inventory yards.
Utility Inventory Storage
From there, we can provide immediate delivery, or we can store your inventory. Given the long pole lead times and the extent of long-term grid hardening projects, we know you may need to store the poles before use. Our transload facilities are not only a place to transfer goods, they also offer a space for inventory storage.
Reliable Inventory Management
Storing your poles is only part of our solution. We offer reliable inventory management for utility poles as well. We keep track of all of your material, sending regular inventory reports on your steel, wood, or concrete poles. No matter how long you need to store your poles, you can count on us for quality inventory management.
Whenever the time comes to transport your poles to your final destination in the United States, we’re ready. After all, Blackwood Solutions began in the utility hauling space. We have specialized trucks and the most effective solution for hauling your poles.
What happens when our team arrives at your job site with your poles? We offer self-unloading to transfer goods from our trucks to your material yard. That’s right, you won’t have to hire a rigger or rent bulky, expensive equipment. Our trained operators use our built-in equipment to unload poles quickly and efficiently.
Turn to Blackwood Solutions Today
Blackwood Solutions built transload and inventory management yards to help a client with a special request. Along the way, we learned more about how we can provide the most effective solution to utility companies and manufacturers alike. That’s why we continue to expand and add additional facilities around the nation. We now offer a full suite of services that is rare for a trucking company. Working with us can help ensure affordable inventory, transloading, and transportation costs.
When it comes to utility hauling, Blackwood Solutions is THE solution. Turn to us for rail-car unloading, inventory storage, inventory management, telephone pole hauling, and self-unloading. We provide all of the benefits of transloading and much more. We're in it for the long haul.
Learn more about our services and how we can help you with your utility projects today. Contact us now to get started.