published Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Chattanooga-based Tranco Logistics doubles staff to supply Volkswagen

Tranco Logistics Co-CEO Byron Trantham speaks about his company's growing relationship with VW while in front of an auto parts shipping container at Tranco's facility off of Shallowford Road.
Tranco Logistics Co-CEO Byron Trantham speaks about his company's growing relationship with VW while in front of an auto parts shipping container at Tranco's facility off of Shallowford Road.
Photo by Dan Henry.

BY THE NUMBERS

* $2.4 million - Amount Tranco invested in new trucks

* 57 - Number of employees the company hired for the VW work

* 53 - Percentage company revenues are up so far this year over last

Source: Tranco Logistics

A Chattanooga-based transportation, warehousing and logistics business has won Volkswagen contracts to move and sequence parts for the automaker, nearly doubling the local company's workforce.

Tranco Logistics, which has hired 57 more employees for the VW work, also is aiming to land some of the business generated by the new sport utility vehicle the German car maker is ramping up to assemble in Chattanooga.

"We think we will," said Bruce Trantham, who owns Tranco with twin brother Bryon.

Last month, the company was hired by VW to pick up and transport parts from various suppliers in the South to Chattanooga, securing the business from an out-of-town venture.

The company bought some two dozen more trucks for that work and invested about $2.4 million, Bruce Trantham said.

In January, Tranco started sequencing engines and transmissions for the midsize Passat sedan that's produced in the VW factory, he said.

Last week, Tranco shifted that operation from its Shallowford Road warehouse to the VW plant to speed the effort, which makes sure the right vehicle power plants are in the proper order for assembly line workers.

Tranco now has about 132 employees and services a variety of businesses, Bruce Trantham said.

He said revenues are up about 53 percent so far this year, though he wouldn't give a dollar figure.

Trantham said he believes VW likes for a local company to handle the work.

"They wanted us to have it," he said, adding that Tranco had to offer the best bid for the job.

Byron Trantham agreed, saying Tranco officials have a lot of "face time" with decision-makers at VW.

"We benefit by being local," he said.

Bruce Trantham said Tranco has worked with VW on occasion "from the beginning" since the German auto maker started production of the Passat in Chattanooga in 2011. He said Tranco transported an early Passat prototype from a warehouse to the plant, for example.

Trantham said that working with VW is a different cultural experience for the logistics company that began nearly 20 years ago.

He said a meeting with VW officials may include people from German, Spanish, Brazilian and U.S. backgrounds.

"But they're easy to work with," Trantham said.

Larry Wyatt, Tranco's chief operating officer, said the SUV announcement in July was important to the local economy.

"It will be good for all the vendors and suppliers," he said.

VW is spending $900 million, including $600 million in Chattanooga, to build the midsize SUV in Chattanooga. It also plans to hire 2,000 more workers along side the 2,400 already at the plant.

Byron Trantham said he expects to see more suppliers move to the Chattanooga area for the SUV. That, in turn, should provide opportunities for Tranco to serve those companies.

While Tranco has been around for nearly two decades, it made a big move a few years ago when the company and some partners bought the former Bi-Lo distribution center on Shallowford Road as well as space on nearby Polymer Road.

Bruce Trantham said Tranco is shifting its headquarters from South Market Street to the distribution center, redoing the former office space at the Shallowford location.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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