CBSL Transportation Services Inc expects to gain a greater share of the Gulf Coast tank cleaning business with the opening of its new Reserve, Louisiana, wash rack. The facility came on line in late February.
This is the third wash rack built by CBSL, and it incorporates everything management learned with the first two. The results are impressive. Designed from top to bottom by CBSL's management team, the Reserve facility offers the latest in tank cleaning, cargo tank repair, and tank container depot services.
“We spent two years on this project,” says Jeff Moore, CBSL vice-president of operations. “Initially, we considered buying an existing facility, but we quickly realized we could do better building from scratch.”
“We're very excited about the location for this new wash rack,” says Tara Moore, CBSL director of sales and marketing. “We see plenty of demand for our services in this area. It's close to both the Port of New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The facility is just off interstates 10 and 55 and is surrounded by chemical plants.
“The Reserve facility has gotten off to a very good start, and we are very optimistic. Reserve should do every bit as well as our Chicago and Houston locations, which have been quite busy since the start of the year.”
Capabilities for the new facility are similar to those of the other two CBSL wash racks. A wide range of chemical cargoes can be cleaned from tank trailers, tank containers, and intermediate bulk containers. Two shifts keep the wash rack running at least 12 hours a day, Monday-Saturday. Customers should call ahead for limitations.
CBSL's new Reserve location has an R stamp for cargo tank repairs and is certified to perform federally-required tests and inspections. The facility also performs certification for ISO tank container tests and inspections. The cleaning and maintenance services are part of a full range of tank container depot and drayage services. Both loaded and empty containers can be handled at the facility.
Various security measures are in place to prevent unauthorized access. The depot yard is well lit and completely fenced with just two gates (both having coded access) for entry and exit. Digital closed circuit television records all activity through the gates. Twenty-four-hour security patrols are being instituted.
Planning for the Louisiana wash rack and depot started in 2001 with Moore, CBSL President Tom Heaney, and other CBSL executives scouring southern Louisiana for a strategically located piece of property. They found a 15-acre site (seven of which have been developed) that fit the bill, and an architect was brought in to design a facility that would include a wash rack, tank repair shop, and tank container depot.
A general contractor was hired to erect a 35,000-sq-ft steel building. Even though responsibility for developing the site and putting up the building was in the hands of the general contractor, CBSL had its team on hand to monitor and control the construction process.
Work on the facility began in February 2002, but CBSL wasted no time in launching tank container drayage services from temporarily leased quarters. “Some of our customers had been asking us to expand into Louisiana for several years,” says Tim Tittlebach, operations manager for the Reserve facility. “We moved forward as fast as we could to accommodate them.”
Once the parking area and building were completed in Reserve, the drayage operation moved in, and CBSL added the sort of maintenance and container storage services that are available at its other locations. Now on hand at Reserve are 15 tractors and 25 dropframe chassis. Tractors and chassis are equipped to provide in-transit heat. In addition to Blackmer product pumps, some of the tractors have special compressors for handling R-134a refrigerant.
While the drayage fleet can serve any part of the United States, the primary focus is regional. The fleet at Reserve concentrates on Gulf Coast ports from Jacksonville, Florida, to Houston, Texas.
Tank maintenance is an important part of the depot service offered by CBSL. The Reserve location has been offering tank repairs for over a year now. By the end of March, the shop will employ 12 to 15 mechanics, about 25% of them ASME-certified welders.
“We have a good labor supply to draw from in this area right now,” Tittlebach says. “There has been a lot of shipbuilding, but quite a few people are looking for work these days.”
Without doubt, the wash rack is the centerpiece of the Reserve operation. This is where the greatest planning time and effort were devoted. The facility was built with two bays for tank trailers and tank containers, and two bays for IBCs. Each bay is 90 feet long and 15 feet wide.
“We did the wash system ourselves because we know what works, what lasts, what holds up,” Moore says. “It took a lot of advance planning and engineering, but we've got a cleaning system that should meet our customers' needs for many years to come.
“We used our experience with our other two wash racks to improve the layout for ease of operation, reduced maintenance, and greater safety. Everything in this wash rack is easy to access.”
The absence of cleaning equipment in the wash bays is noticed immediately. Most of the wash system is in an equipment room near the front of the building. Also noteworthy is the amount of automation in the system.
“We've tried to reduce cleaning inconsistencies through the use of preprogrammed wash processes,” Moore says. “We keep a computer database for all products we clean, and we've developed wash recipes that are printed out on the wash tickets. Wash workers don't have to make a lot of decisions about cleaning processes, and they do less running around.”
Wash operations are coordinated from a control board that has 12 preset cleaning programs. Each tank cleaning may require two or more of the programs, or a program may have to be repeated. Operators can override the system when a tank has special cleaning requirements.
Tank cleaning is done with a high-pressure, low-volume system that runs spinners at 750 psi. The Sellers 360 spinners that are used in the cleaning operation were specially modified for the higher pressures. The system generates just 45 to 50 gallons per minute of wastewater.
Steam for the cleaning operation comes from a 100-horsepower Superior boiler, which has enough capacity to meet the product-heating requirements of the depot operation. Hot water for tank cleaning is supplied by a four-million Btu Ray Pak hot water boiler. Prior to use, the hot water is stored at 185° F to 190° F in a 2,500-gallon stainless steel tank.
“We oversized the boilers and the hot water storage,” Moore says. “That way, we know we'll have plenty of hot water and steam at all times.”
Also available for cleaning are detergent and hot caustic, which is stored in a 1,500-gallon Inconel steel alloy tank. “We bought the caustic tank from a chemical plant,” Tittlebach says. “Fully jacketed and just under a half-inch thick, it can take very high heat.”
Cleaning solutions are injected into the water stream by air-operated solenoid valves. The solutions are then sent on their way to the wash bays by 13-stage, high-pressure Jet pumps, which are designed for quick response and low surge.
Steam and hot water also are supplied to pressure washers that are used for exterior cleaning. In addition to exterior cleaning of tank trailers and tank containers, wash workers remove and disassemble product outlets. During valve reassembly, seals are replaced in accordance with customer requirements.
Wastewater from all cleaning activities is collected in a 20,000-gallon storage tank. Pretreatment of the wastewater adjusts pH and removes solids and oils. The pretreated water is pumped to either of two 20,000-gallon storage tanks before being discharged to a local treatment plant.
“We're set up to continuously pretreat the incoming wash water,” Moore says. “Actually, we built the system with enough capacity to treat the water faster than it comes in.”
Future developments probably will include a vapor control system. Such equipment is not required in Louisiana at this time. Moore says the Reserve facility probably will start with a scrubber system, but CBSL's Houston-area wash rack has a thermal oxidizer.
“As we did with everything else at the new Reserve wash rack, we will want a first-class system with the capacity to handle plenty of growth,” Moore says. “We want to do everything possible to give our customers the best service.”