Henderson Transloading Services

A young agriculture transloading company with a bright future
Written by: 
Tom Faunce
Produced by: 
Drew Taylor

Founded in January 2013, Henderson Transloading Services provides transloading services to a broad range of industries including consumer goods and agriculture. Located in Memphis, Tennessee, the company’s transloading process is customized to meet each customer’s specifications.

“The business concept for Henderson Transloading was developed two years prior to when we actually started,” says CEO Carolyn Hardy. “Going from an idea on paper to execution of the plan was a very detailed process.” As the company grew, it began handling grain from Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri. “We also receive grain from Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana on a backhaul basis,” Hardy explains. “Backhauls work well because the trucker’s empty miles are minimized resulting in a win-win for our customers and the truckers.”

As the concept for Henderson Transloading germinated, Hardy investigated the key success factors for agriculture transloading in the Memphis area. With a strong presence of the agriculture industry in the surrounding tri-state area, Hardy and her team discovered an abundance of the available empty containers. “Memphis is one of three cities in the United States with five class-one railroads. I discovered that Memphis imports exceeds our exports by a significant percent which results in empty containers repositioned to the west coast or other states for filling. By filling containers in Memphis versus repositioning, value is created for both the customers and the steamship lines as well as producing a positive impact on the Mid-South agricultural industry,” explains Hardy.

Year-round grain services

One aspect of Henderson Transloading’s competitive edge is the ability to handle all types of grains from whole cottonseed, coarse grains, pellets, and a variety of meals on four load out systems. “Since most grains are seasonal, we built flexibility, capability, and capacity to operate year round. Our desire is to be ‘almost’ all things to all people. We are a strategic partner with our customers providing one stop shopping while supporting their growth in the Mid-South region,” Hardy explains. This led the company to a recent expansion of its transloading facility, which was completed in January 2015.

Henderson Transloading uses three methods of receiving grain; hopper truck, railroad and barge. Henderson Transloading chose to customize it new facility to work as efficiently as possible. “Example, Fullen Dock unloads a barge in 10 hours or less,” Hardy explains. “Therefore, grain delivered to Henderson must be dumped into pits in 10 minutes or less to reduce the truck turnaround time to meet the 10 hour unload time; thereby avoiding detention charges.”

When Henderson Transloading’s new facility was in the design phase, the company consulted with employees and the grain trucking companies that delivered to their facility. “We presented preliminary plans and received input,” says Hardy. “They were very pleased with our inclusiveness and the respect shown by valuing their opinions. The trucker’s business model requires them to make multiple turns each day when delivering grain. Our new design will have a positive impact on a trucker’s value proposition by increasing their number of turns. This means a greater bottom line for the truckers, which would hopefully position Henderson to be a destination of choice by truckers.”

Accepting new challenges

Hardy enjoys the risk versus reward aspect of being an entrepreneur. “I always enjoy taking on a new challenge,” says Hardy. “There is an adrenaline rush when you take a risk and it works out in your favor. I love networking and will go anywhere to gain the knowledge necessary to become an industry leader in a new sector, because it’s so energizing.”

In order to complete a new business strategy or expand into a new sector, Hardy and her team network with industry leaders, attend seminars, and tradeshows. Henderson Transloading has established relationships with transloaders, brokers, merchandisers, traders, 3PLS, and others to benchmark and identify best practices. “If it means flying to Chicago to meet industry leaders or Virginia Beach to meet the best in class traders, merchandisers, and customers while sharing our value proposition to handle their grain in Memphis that’s what we’ll do,” says Hardy.

Looking ahead

For the first two-and-a-half years that Henderson Transloading has been in business, the company has focused primarily on grain and agriculture commodities. In 2015, Henderson expanded to receive grain by rail, and by mid-year will have capability to transload lumber and other products from boxcars. “Our goal is to utilize our site to its full potential,” says Hardy.

While Henderson Transloading continues to serve its clients the company will continue to grow and provide year-round services to the agriculture industry

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