The Philadelphia company’s sixth facility located near Tioga Marine Terminal on Delaware River

On February 1, Associates Warehousing, Inc., a Philadelphia-based company, opened the doors to its newest facility, marking the expansion of its operations to include six warehouses. The building, an existing facility that is being leased by the company, is located near the Tioga Marine Terminal on the Delaware River north of Center City Philadelphia.

Tioga Marine Terminal has seen recent increases in demand for handling pulp, project cargo, steel, and lumber, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Associates Warehousing’s newest facility will emphasize the processing of bulk cargoes.

“It’s a 25,000 square-foot building with eight dock doors, including large overhead doors,” said William Parker, Jr., president of Associates Warehousing, Inc. “That feature is important for the loading and unloading of these types of cargoes.” Associates Warehousing, Inc. is part of a fourth-generation family business, providing asset-based third-party logistics services, which was established in 1939. The business also includes William Parker Associates, a container drayage operation in and around the Port of Philadelphia and regionally.

Bill Parker, president, Associates Warehousing, Inc.

Imported Lumber & Steel

Parker expects the new warehouse to be handling imported lumber, steel pipe, bars, and coils. He added, “it could be used also for the export of the same type of commodities.” The facility has four acres of paved space where stainless steel and other cargoes suitable for outdoor storage can be placed.

The stainless steel imports which the facility will be handling are destined for water and sewer projects in the Philadelphia region and beyond, according to Parker. The Port of Philadelphia as a whole handles over 200,000 tons of steel per year.

Parker expects the new facility to benefit from “the great relationship we have with the Tioga Marine Terminal,” which is itself building a 100,000 square foot warehouse at its facility to handle bulk and breakbulk cargoes. Parker also noted that the new building is within two miles of the company’s headquarters on Westmoreland St. in Philadelphia, which will facilitate labor exchanges between the two facilities. The company’s main facility on Westmoreland St. already handles bulk cargo, and noted Parker, “we needed more space.”

Lumber, including plywood and hardwood, also figures to be an important element of the business at Associates Warehousing’s new facility. “We’ve seen an increase in lumber imports at the Port of Philadelphia,” said Parker.

Brazil has been a mainstay of hardwood lumber and plywood, as well as steel, imports at the port, which enjoys “great vessel services from South America,” said Parker. The largest share of imported goods through the Port of Philadelphia—at 41%—come from South America, and the second largest—23%—come from Central America, according to port data.

Mahogany and teak from West Africa have also been handled at the port in large volumes, but, of late, spruce lumber imports from Europe, primarily Germany, have made an appearance and have been on the rise, according to Parker, destined for construction projects in the Philadelphia area as well as in the Midwest and upstate New York.

Transloading For Overweight Cargo

Besides bulk cargoes, other Associates Warehousing’s facilities, which are located around the Philadelphia area and in Sewell, N.J., handle food ingredients and bonded cargo. “We do a great deal of transloading,” noted Parker, “and we have Tri-Axle chassis which we are able to use to handle overweight cargo legally.”

Trucks operated by the motor carrier William Parker Associates are able to dray overweight containers within the port district to one of Associates Warehousing’s facilities, where they can be divided into multiple shipments for delivery to the ultimate receiver of the cargo. The warehouses handling perishables also feature reefer banks that are used to maintain the cargo at their proper temperatures.

Among the food ingredients that Associates Warehousing handles are commodities for which the Port of Philadelphia is well known—including sugar, cocoa, and fresh fruit. As with lumber, “a lot of that comes in from Central and South America,” said Parker. Both regions are key providers of fruit and vegetables delivered to the port, and benefit from the north-south shipping services that the port enjoys.

The Port of Philadelphia handles around 100,000 tons of cocoa beans per year. Fresh fruit cargoes handled at the port include grapes, tropical fruits, bananas, blueberries, kiwis, pineapples, and plums from Central and South America as well as Africa.

The expansion of the company’s bulk space will necessitate investments in new equipment. Unloading steel products from a flatbed truck requires the deployment of booms which are attached to slings that are used to lift the pipe off the truck. The operation will require the acquisition of different sizes of booms to facilitate the unloading of different sizes of pipe from different sizes of containers, as well as, said Parker, “different types of attachments for forklifts.”