April 12, 2017 8:55 AM, EDT

Tennessee Logistics Firm Tranco Launches International Shipping Venture


Chattanooga, Tenn.-based logistics and warehousing company Tranco is going global with the launch of a venture to handle international shipping.

Tranco Global will offer ocean and air shipping and import and export services, said Brad Kemp, an industry veteran who was recruited to help get the new company going.

Through the addition of the international business, Tranco will be able to provide ocean cargo, airfreight and customs clearance in more than 180 countries.

"This gives [Tranco] another service to go after new customers," said Kemp, Tranco Global's chief operating officer.

He said he sees opportunities in pharmaceuticals, textiles, retail and machine parts in addition to the automotive and flooring sectors in which Tranco has had success.

Bruce Trantham, who co-owns Tranco Logistics with twin brother Byron, said they saw an opportunity to round out the company's suite of services.

"We're a one-stop shop," he said at the company's Shallowford Road offices. "We're truly global."

Trantham said the international business is a sophisticated one, and someone with Kemp's 30 years of experience was needed. Kemp has worked for some of the world's largest operators, such as FedEx and UPS, and he came to Chattanooga four years ago to help build Steam Logistics.

UPS Inc. ranks No. 1 and FedEx Corp. No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.

"We're super-excited about the business," Trantham said.

Kemp, 56, said the Tranco organization has been able to make an impact in the Southeast.

"The addition of Tranco Global provides an opportunity to expand both nationally and globally," he said.

Kemp said the industry is evolving as international forwarders have felt the need for offices in every port location. Even today, some competitors have 50 or more offices spread throughout the United States.

But with the advent of the paperless technology, companies are no longer required to have a brick-and-mortar office in every remote port location, he said.

"This untethering of service to geography will allow Tranco to recruit and grow here in Chattanooga based on those things that make this such a great place to live and work," Kemp said. "Our goal is to establish a significant corporate presence here in Chattanooga, opening remote gateway offices only as strategically required."

In terms of the growth of Tranco Global, he said he sees revenues hitting $1 million the first year and then $3 million to $5 million over the next year or so.

While the new venture is ramping up employment, its head count should be around 50 workers after five years, Kemp said.

Trantham, who founded Tranco in 1995 with one truck and a small warehouse with his brother, said the business has expanded to more than 250 employees and contractors, and more than 1.5 million square feet of warehouse space in the Chattanooga area.

The company, recently named as a small business of the year by the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, has been growing between 40% to 60% annually. Trantham said he expected growth to double this year.

In addition to launching Tranco Global, the company is setting up a driver training facility in Chattanooga called Tranco Tech Labs, Trantham said.

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