New container-on-barge services links Brownsville and Tampa Bay

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Work Cat’s future plans include investing in high-capacity, advanced catamaran vessels

Work Cat Trans Gulf LLC, a short sea shipping company with plans to introduce an innovative 400 foot catamaran capable of transporting 300 truckload equivalent shipments, is already offering a container-on-barge (COB) service between the Port of Brownsville, Texas, and Port Tampa Bay in Florida.

Launched after a series of weekly cargo sailings since October to fine-tune operations, the new weekly shipping option efficiently connects markets in Florida and the Southeast United States with Texas’s Rio Grande Valley and Mexico’s industrial centers in Monterrey, Saltillo, and Matamoros.

The operation already has moved more than 2,000 containers of customer cargoes between Texas and Florida, demonstrating the advantages to customers. With service times and pricing options said to be competitive with typical trucking options, the new service offers significant new capacity, and advantages to shippers and customers across a wide array of industries and distribution centers, particularly the more than 300 operations along the I-4 corridor in Florida and Mexico’s industrial centers in Monterrey.

Work Cat says that shipping cargoes directly between Tampa and Brownsville involves about 40 percent less distance than trucking around the Gulf of Mexico, requiring about one-fourth of the fuel with significant environmental savings and emission reductions. Additionally, as the weekly service expands, Work Cat will look at additional options such as investing in its high-capacity, advanced catamaran vessels that can provide even greater performance savings.

“We’re excited to formally launch this new weekly service between the large and rapidly growing Northern Mexico, South Texas and Southeastern U.S. markets,” said Hank Hoffman, CEO at Work Cat. “Work Cat is built around the core pillars of excellence in shipping and logistics and we’re proud to work with Port Tampa Bay and the Port of Brownsville in carrying out our mission to provide customers with fast, safe and dependable transport from loading dock to customer site.”

Tampa-based Port Logistics Refrigerated Services and Brownsville-based Schaefer Stevedoring will handle the receiving, consolidating, cross-docking, loading and sorting activities at each port.

“At Schaefer Stevedoring, we have spent more than four decades focused on helping integrate steel and general cargo logistics through the Gulf Coast,” said Nico Schaefer, Vice President at Schaefer Stevedoring. “This new route will allow us to help a wide-range of customers get what they need when they need it – as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

“Restoring a strong transportation option between Brownsville and Tampa will help a number of our customers save a significant amount of time and money,” said Rick Sharp, Chief Operating Officer for Port Logistics Refrigerated Services. “We look forward to ensuring that using this route is as easy as possible for customers across the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.”

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