California’s trade economy is struggling to get back to the peak years of 2006-07, but Rail Delivery Services owner Greg Stefflre believes this is the perfect time to position his intermodal trucking and warehouse company for growth.
RDS invested $3.5 million to build a second distribution facility adjacent to his original warehouse, giving the company a total of 85,000 square feet in two structures near the intersection of the I-15 and I-10 freeways in Fontana, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles.
Stefflre paid about 15 percent more for the second distribution facility than he spent in 2005 for the first structure, but the cost of financing today is significantly lower, market values are strong and the location in Southern California’s Inland Empire is hot. “The Inland Empire is a great place to be,” he said.
In an interview Wednesday, Stefflre said the newly opened facility will serve initially as an assembly and reassembly center of domestic less-than-truckload freight for delivery to nearby railheads.
RDS will pick up LTL vendor shipments for retailers and assemble the smaller shipments into 53-foot domestic equipment for transport via intermodal rail to inland distribution facilities. The reverse procedure will take place for shipments moving from the eastern half of the country to California.
The business model is a “domestic version of trans-loading” that should reduce transportation and distribution costs for beneficial cargo owners while increasing efficiency. “If we do this correctly, it will vastly improve velocity,” he said.
Stefflre is a veteran trucking industry attorney, a past chairman of the Intermodal Association of North America board of directors and one of IANA’s early motor carrier representatives. He has written legal opinions for the American and California trucking associations.
However, Stefflre is a trucker at heart. He opened RDS in 2001 with his wife, Judi. He has successfully adjusted his operations to the nation’s strictest environmental regulations at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and at the state level by the California Air Resources Board.
The Inland Empire is known as the 1.5 billion square-foot distribution hub for the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex. Even though he is handling mostly domestic freight, Stefflre said it will not be long before international freight is blended into the operation.