International firm Braid Logistics finding growth at Port NOLA
Transporting liquids has been revolutionized in recent years, thanks in large part to the innovative flexi-tanks offered by Braid Logistics. With its capital investment in a new facility at the Port of New Orleans, Braid Logistics is positioned to capture new business and even more growth.
Braid Logistics is an international company touting work on all seven continents. It moves more than one billion liters of liquid logistics annually in its ISO tanks and flexi-tanks. Now Braid Logistics North America is building on a record of success with its New Orleans-based office.
Growing from a joint venture in 2012, Braid partnered with business-owner and engineer Chris White. Braid purchased White’s intellectual property for the flexi-tanks and now White owns a 40 percent stake and serves as President of Braid Logistics North America.
“We started in Baton Rouge and realized we needed to be closer to the Port of New Orleans,” said White. “We initially moved our operations to the old New Orleans Cold Storage facility and leased from TCI for rail siding and warehouse space.”
After three years at that location, Braid outgrew the facility. Officials decided to make a capital investment and in June 2016, signed a lease with the Port of New Orleans for Braid’s current location on Jourdan Road and the Industrial Canal.
White explained, “The Port of New Orleans offers some very unique capabilities that aren’t available at all ports. Because of all the Class I rail, it’s a great place for us to export flexi-tanks out to people far away who weren’t able to use them before.”
Braid utilizes two rail spurs and 40 rail car spaces on the 10-acre site. Citing increasing competition in the flexi-tank market, White said value-added services are a growing aspect of his business.
“Quite a large number of our customers who historically weren’t able to use flexi-tanks now have that option. They send their product in bulk and we transload it into flexi-tanks. By being located in the Port’s system, we don’t have the weight limitations that some areas have. We are offering our customers tremendous efficiencies and savings this way.”
Another efficiency Braid has built in to its process is to deliver empty flexi-tanks to a customer’s facility to be filled onsite, then use truck or rail to ship the tanks through its Port NOLA facility. And because Braid Logistics is a NVOCC (non-vessel operating common carrier), it can contract directly with the steamship lines and ocean carriers.
“We offer complete turnkey solutions to our customers,” said White. “Not only can we seal, fit and deliver the tanks, we can handle the trucking, the ocean piece, and even do the destination services in a lot of cases because of our offices around the world.”
Braid’s Port NOLA facility is specially engineered to handle liquids and prevent cross-contamination. The infrastructure and equipment was designed to keep products isolated and the warehouse staff is certified to inspect, fit and seal the tanks. Flexi-tanks generally hold 24 metric tons or nearly 53,000 pounds.
Commodities frequently handled at Braid include calcium bromide, sodium bromide, polyol, urea nitrate ammonia, caramel coloring, vegetable oils, mineral oils and pepper mash.
The decision to operate its business from Port NOLA is paying off for Braid. White shared, “Since we have moved to the Port of New Orleans in 2013 we have achieved 176 percent growth in revenue. I think this tells the story on how important being located in the Port is to us.”