IT WAS truly fiesta time June 18 and 19 when Transportes Especializados Antonio de la Torre e Hijos SA de CV (TEATSA) dedicated its terminal and wash rack in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
Festivities started on June 18 with a tour of the Jose Cuervo tequila distillery in Tequila, Jalisco. Dinner and musical entertainment followed. Jose Cuervo is one of a growing number of companies sending foodgrade tank trailers to TEATSA's foodgrade wash rack in Guadalajara.
Activities on June 19 included tours of the wash rack, which is the centerpoint of TEATSA's Guadalajara terminal. Now fully operational, the four-bay wash rack can clean four trailers at a time. An eight-man crew keeps the facility running from 7 am to 10 pm, seven days a week. They handle 30 to 40 tank trailers a day.
The state-of-the-art foodgrade cleaning system is packaged in two ISO box containers and was assembled by Applied Mechanical Technology Inc, Crestwood, Illinois. One container holds a 60-horsepower Cleaver Brooks boiler and water softening system. The other container has a 4,000-liter (1,000-gallon) hot water tank, A O Smith ultraviolet water treatment system, pumps, and blower for drying tanks.
Exterior cleaning is done at a covered area next to the foodgrade wash rack. A Karcher pressure washer is used for the exterior cleaning and has performed well.
Guests at the dedication also had ample opportunity to inspect the other facilities at the 44-acre terminal complex. A maintenance shop handles routine service work primarily. Next to the shop is a two-bay chemical wash rack.
A dormitory is available for drivers who have to lay over at the terminal. The terminal also provides an outdoor cafe, where drivers and terminal employees can order meals and beverages. An independent contractor operates the cafe.
During the dedication program, Marco Antonio de la Torre, TEATSA president, thanked the company's customers for their support over the 52 years that TEATSA has been in business, and he recognized a number of long-time employees for their loyalty and support over the years.
Special recognition went to Manuel Fragoso Sosa, maintenance shop manager at the terminal, who has been with TEATSA since 1947. "Workers such as Sosa were instrumental in making TEATSA the success that it is today," De la Torre said.
He also praised the relationship that has been built with Quality Distribution Inc, TEATSA's carrier partner in the United States. "We have a special relationship with Quality Distribution, and they have provided us with a lot of help over the past four years," De la Torre said. "We're very pleased with the partnership, and we look forward to a long and successful affiliation with Quality Distribution."
Charles J O'Brien Jr, Quality Distribution president and chief executive officer, responded that the relationship with TEATSA is more than a business partnership; it is a family partnership.
"All of us at Quality Distribution truly appreciate the genuine warmth and kindness we have received from the De la Torres. We wish you all continued success and prosperity, and we look forward to growing together, both as business and family, here in Mexico.
"Five years ago, we handled about 15 loads per month. Today, I'm pleased to note that we are moving 400 loads a month. We also have over 100 tanks leased strictly for intra-Mexico business. By any measure, this has been an incredibly successful experience for both Quality Carriers and TEATSA."
De la Torre is a 52-year-old family-owned tank truck carrier that began as a one-truck operation. The company has grown steadily, and the fleet now consists of almost 300 tractors and 385 trailers. Tanks account for the vast majority of trailers.
Through its Quality Distribution partnership, TEATSA has become an active player in the movement of liquid bulk chemical shipments between the United States and Mexico.
Cargoes include fatty acids, alcohol, glycerin, lubricating oils, solvents, and latex. Customers are served out of six terminals, all of them in Mexico. Besides Guadalajara, the carrier has facilities in Mexico City; Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros, Tamaulipas; Cuautitlan Izcalli, Estado de Mexico; and Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. The carrier has plans to build a terminal in Queretaro, Queretaro.
A computer network links the terminals through e-mail communications. TEATSA is in the process of upgrading the computer software used to manage the operation. All new software is fully Y2K compliant.
Satellite tracking of vehicles is part of the computerized fleet management system. Every tractor in the fleet has been equipped with the Qualcomm system.