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What to Look for in a Transloading Provider

Transloading is a core part of utility operations.


You need a dependable solution for getting your utility poles from rail to truck and to your final destination.


But choosing a transload facility in the United States can be a challenge.


How can you select a reliable company for transloading services?


Today, we’ll dive into the key qualities to look for when hiring a specialty trucking company for utility pole rail transport.


What is Transloading?

Transloading, or rail-care unloading, is a critical part of utilty projects. As a refresh, transloading defines the process of moving freight from one mode of transportation to another.


Different industries use different forms of transportation throughout their supply chain. In some industries, this process may be taking freight from ocean travel to trail, or from ocean to truck. In the utility industry, transloading commonly involves moving utility materials from rail transport to truck as part of cross-docking. The rail network plays a vital role for the raw materials in the utility industry.


Smooth transloading helps keep your project on track and your materials in prime condition. You want to choose a trucking company that can get the job done right.


Here’s what you should look for in a utility transloading provider:


Experience

First and foremost, you need a company with the necessary experience. Of course, you want a transloading company that has ample years of experience providing rail-car transportation.


But beyond total years of experience, you also want to look for the range of experience. The company should have significant experience with rail transport and comprehensive transloading services for the utility industry.


Ideally, they should know how to work with several types of utility equipment including:

  • Wood poles

  • Steel poles

  • Concrete poles

  • Utility pipes

  • Utility transformers


They also need a wealth of knowledge dealing with various weather conditions, common hauling challenges, and more.


The best way to find out about experience is to ask. Ask the company what experience they bring and how their experience can help with your hauling needs. They should be able to provide you with specific information about similar jobs done in the past and answer any questions you may have about their services.


Asset-Based

Many companies that offer services with specialized equipment do not own their equipment. Instead, there are several transloading companies out there that simply operate as brokers.


Brokers are a middle man who merely connects you with a provider for freight shipping. They do not own any of the necessary trucks to move equipment from rail lines, and they do not hire their own drivers. Instead, they simply work with a network of transloading operations and connect you with a company that does the job.


While working with a broker can be convenient and fast, it’s not the best solution for rail-car unloading. Instead, you want to choose an asset-based solution.


Asset-based companies own their trucks and employ their drivers. This means you can count on an asset-based company to perform the job at hand. They provide a direct line of communication and better reliability. When it comes to all of your utility hauling needs, including transloading, look for an asset-based provider.


Sufficient Service Area

You’ll also need a company that serves your area. Depending on the location of the rail car and the final destination, this area may be significant.


The top companies offer transloading solutions suitable for the long haul. Make sure you know which areas of the United States the company operates in and if they can assist you for your entire project.


Customer Service

When dealing with transloading services, you need a company that provides excellent customer service. Transloading operations can be complicated and difficult. There are many factors to consider, and you need a provider who focuses on safely and efficiently transloading your utility materials.


Look for a company that is dedicated to helping you every step of the way. They should be happy to answer any questions you may have and demonstrate a commitment to customer service right from the beginning.


Identifying customer service qualities can be hard at the beginning of a project. Take the time to speak with the company and get a feel for the customer experience they provide. Ask direct questions about how they handle common customer service issues as well.


Commitment to Safety

The utility industry as a whole requires a dedication to safety, and this includes freight shipping. Moving heavy utility poles is a dangerous job, especially between transportation types.


The company should adhere to national and local safety regulations. They should demonstrate industry-standard safety protocol. Safety measures prevent serious issues and keep the hauling team and your team safe.


Inquire about the hauling company’s safety measures. They should be able to describe their commitment to safety and how they handle safety concerns.


Self-Unloading

What happens once the company takes your poles from the distribution center to your final destination?


In most cases, you’ll have to deal with unloading them. Utility pole unloading is a complex, expensive, and dangerous process. It often requires additional equipment rentals and manpower. This can eat into your budget and your project time, it's not a cost-effective option.


The best solution is to choose a self-unloading hauling company. Self-unloading companies have specialized equipment to unload your poles right from their truck beds to your material yard. The highly trained operators quickly unload the poles using cranes attached to the trucks. This saves you time, money, and stress.


Ultimately, there are many key benefits to working with a self-unloading company for utility transloading. Forget about renting unloading equipment or having to hire a rigger. Skip the headache of unloading when you choose a self-unloading utility hauling company.


Utility Transloading from Blackwood Resources

Choosing a rail-car unloading company is an important decision for your utility company. You need to choose a company that has the expertise and commitment to get the job done safely and efficiently.


For transloading services that you can count on, turn to Blackwood Resources. We have over half of a decade of experience in utility hauling, including rail-car unloading. We’ve helped many utility managers off-load railcars and bring their new utility poles to their job sites.


As an asset-based company, we own our specialty trucks and directly employ our drivers. We are dedicated to the success of our customers and our drivers alike. This is why we’ve been able to achieve a 98% driver retention rate.


Our professional operators provide self-unloading services as well. This helps you get your poles ready to use quicker and safer than ever. With utility pole self-unloading, we save you hours of time and money on your project.


Count on our dedicated team for a track record of safety and professionalism. We strive to provide the best possible customer service at every stage of our hauling. We’re always happy to answer questions and provide the best solution to any issues.


No matter what your utility hauling needs are, our team at Blackwood Resources is here to help. Find out more about our rail-car unloading service and how we can help you today. Contact us at jamie@blackwoodresources.com or 812-676-8770 to learn more.

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