Real Estate Roundup is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of industrial real estate used for logistics and transportation. This week: Saia uses new terminals for sales growth; USA Truck hopes to lower repair costs; orange juice hauler expands to Georgia
Several carriers across the U.S. continue to renovate or construct new terminals for a variety of reasons, including expansion into new geographic markets and to lower repair expenses.
Saia Inc. has been one of the most aggressive in real estate expansion. The Johns Creek, Georgia-based less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier has opened 18 terminals since May 2017, many as part of its first push into the Northeast. New sites include sites in Erie, Pennsylvania as well as Albany and Buffalo, New York. The expansion generated a 54% increase in total doors in the Northeast – from 296 at the end of 2017 to 457 at the end of 2018.
“Every time we open a new terminal in an existing market, we have the opportunity to improve service standards for existing customers and we also get closer to potential customers,” President Fritz Holzgrefe said during an Oct. 30 conference call.
Old Dominion Freight Line, headquartered in Thomasville, North Carolina, is eyeballing about three dozen locations as sites for new or upgraded terminals, Chief Financial Officer Adam Satterfield said during an Oct. 24 call.
“We’re certainly building out and investing in our service center footprint to ensure that we have capacity that’s willing and ready… when there is a positive inflection in the economy,” Satterfield said. “We’ve got a target of about 40 services centers or places that we think we need to add service centers.”
USA Truck recently signed a lease agreement for a terminal in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, its first facility in the state. After the Van Buren, Arkansas-based company reported a loss in the third quarter, it outlined several strategies to improve financial operations, including terminal expansion.
“We are expanding our terminal footprint and decreasing our dependence on outside repairs in high-volume locations,” CEO James Reed said during a July 26 conference call with investors. USA Truck also recently opened or renovated terminals in Atlanta and South Holland, Illinois.
Smaller carriers are also expanding through real estate. The privately held Indian River Transport, headquartered in Winter Haven, Florida, is a tank carrier that specializes in distributing orange juice. It is building a terminal on Interstate 75 near Cordele, Georgia, according to the Cordele Dispatch. Indian River plans to hire 125 workers for the facility, which will be the company’s seventh U.S. terminal. The terminal will be located near a state-operated inland port that provides direct rail access to the Georgia Ports Authority in Savannah.
And the LTL carrier Central Transport, based in Warren, Michigan, is upgrading its 12-acre site on Moreland Avenue in DeKalb County, Georgia, one of its Atlanta-area terminals, by replacing a gravel parking lot with new paving.