The Reason We’re Getting Resin
The Port and the Private Sector Partner to Bring a New Cargo to Philadelphia
A popular manufacturing component is now making its way to U.S. factories faster and more economically than ever thanks to the Port of Philadelphia, an exciting new ocean service, and the Port’s private sector partners. Who would have thought that resin pellets from Mexico would be causing so many smiles along the logistics chain in our region?
“This is such a great cargo for us, and we’re proud to have it,” said William J. Parker, Jr., President of William Parker Associates, Inc. and its warehousing subsidiary Associates Warehousing, Inc., together a major warehousing and trucking operation located in a busy 10-acre complex in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond neighborhood, immediately off Interstate 95. “The resin comes off vessels at the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal, is trucked to our Port Richmond facility, and we process it for delivery via truck fleet to the final customers. The biggest customer right now is in Ohio.”
The resin, which arrives in individual cardboard shipping boxes, are transported to the Port of Philadelphia inside metal shipping containers. Manufactured by Polimeros S.A., a Mexican company that developed the specialized product, the resin is used in the manufacturing of everything from children’s toys to plastic office furniture.
Philadelphia Regional Port Authority Marketing Representative Joe Fox is excited about the confluence of events that has brought this new cargo to Philadelphia, a cargo that benefits all participants along the logistics chain.
“The SeaLand Atlantico service is the brainchild of Philadelphia shippers, our terminal operator at Packer Avenue Marine Terminal, our port staff, and, of course, SeaLand itself,” said Mr. Fox. “The idea was, in part, to establish a service that might be attractive to those who traditionally move their Mexican cargoes to the U.S. via truck. We all had a thought: moving those cargoes onto a vessel that would deliver them to the Port of Philadelphia would eliminate the congestion and red tape trucks deal with at the U.S. and Mexican border, as well as the long trucking haul to the northern U.S., where many of these Mexican cargoes are destined.”
The Atlantico Service began last spring and has been making inroads with various Mexican cargoes, including cargoes that have been moving via vessel already and some that have indeed made the leap from truck to vessel transport. Polimeros’ resin cargoes are an example of the latter.
Bob McCaig is a Sales & Marketing professional at the Parker Associates operations, and is gratified that the company was able to land the resin business and become a crucial part of the logistics chain for the cargo’s movement to the final customer. “We regularly interact with PRPA, Holt Logistics (Greenwich Terminals operators at PRPA’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal), and the Port’s carrier services including SeaLand. We knew that Polimeros needed a partner here in the U.S. once its cargoes arrived in Philadelphia, we put together a strong pitch, and they ended up trying us out.”
So far, Parker Associates, Inc. has handled about 75 containers of the resin, which regularly arrive at one of their four warehouses in Port Richmond. The cargo usually arrives in increments of about 4 to 6 containers at a time. The resin pellets are from different color dyes, and processed depending on the needs of the final manufactured product.
“We pick up all kinds of port business, because that’s what we do, move cargo,” said Mr. McCaig. “But what’s really noteworthy about this new Polimeros business is that it developed from scratch. Everyone in the port community worked together to attract a totally new cargo to the Port of Philadelphia, which resulted in a totally new cargo for us here at Parker Associates as well.”
“We were very aggressive in showing Polimeros that we were the perfect landside partner for them, and they decided to give us a trial period,” continued Mr. McCaig. “That gave Polimeros a chance to see how we operate, and to sample first-hand all our value-added services. They saw our inventory control and oversight methods, how we carefully broke out and organized the contents of their containers, neatly stored them in our warehouse, then loaded them into our trucks for final delivery. We put our best foot forward during that trial period and showed them the efficiency of our operation here at William Parker. And as I said, they are still here and seem to be very pleased with us.”
PRPA’s Mr. Fox, a big part of the team that helped bring the resin to Philadelphia, is enthusiastic about what can be done when key players in the Port work together. “It’s great when we get out there and talk about the Port of Philadelphia and its facilities and services, but so many of those attributes come from the private sector, so it’s critical to get them all at the table. And that’s what we did here. Every part of the logistics chain that would be needed to get this resin from the manufacturer in Mexico to the final customers in the United States was, quite literally, at the table in question, and we were able to put a deal together that delivered for Polimeros, and delivered jobs and economic impact to the Port and the private sector.”
“We’re a family business that’s been around since 1939, so we’ve seen a lot of new shippers over the years,” said William Parker of his centralized Port of Philadelphia warehousing and drayage operation. “But something like this never gets old. Polimeros has given a great boost to our drayage and warehousing operation, and it’s terrific to see all the new activity here as our guys unload containers, move product in our warehouse, and load our trucks. And, of course, the Port is seeing new activity on the docks, too, which I’m sure they’re happy about.”
Mr. Fox summed up the formula that helped attract Polimeros’ products and their attendant economic impact to the Port of Philadelphia and the surrounding region. “Things can get complicated when you’re going after a new cargo, but ultimately it comes down to providing, first, a welcoming attitude and, second, flexibility. We all tried to do that with Polimeros, and the people at Parker Associates, especially, did those things. We work hard to bring the right private sector partners into the mix when we try to attract cargoes here, and have helped many companies in the port district in that regard. For this endeavor, we’re proud that William Parker Associates is our private sector partner, and we hope they demonstrate to all the other private businesses that serve the Port that there are cargo opportunities out there for companies that really want them. Their example will be a great help as we all work to attract more cargo onto SeaLand’s Atlantico service, and to our other great carrier services.