CATERPILLAR GOES WITH WALLENIUS CARRIER TO ADD NORFOLK TO CALLS

CATERPILLAR GOES WITH WALLENIUS CARRIER TO ADD NORFOLK TO CALLS

Caterpillar Inc. has decided to ship tractor parts with a joint venture operated byWallenius Lines of Sweden and Transroll Navegacao of Brazil.

The Peoria, Ill.-based farm equipment manufacturer decided to use the carrier, known as Wallenius Transroll, after the carrier promised to add a port call to accommodate the shipper.The Wallenius Transroll venture uses one ship, a multipurpose 9,200- deadweig ht-ton vessel. Previously, it traveled between Baltimore and Santos, Brazil. Now it will make a stop at Norfolk, Va., to off-load parts destined for Caterpillar's Decatur, Ill., manufacturing facility.

Caterpillar was looking for a carrier that could provide it with low rates

from Brazil yet maintain a steady service, according to Ken Burdick, international traffic manager for Caterpillar. Wallenius Transroll offered the lowest rate, he said, but didn't have the right port call.

The parts being imported are called scraper bulls. They are rear assemblies for a type of tractor produced by Caterpillar.

It is cheaper to construct the units in Brazil but they are oversized, Mr. Burdick explained, and need to be transported on widebody railcars or trucks.

Rail transportation is preferable over a long distance because of rates, he said. Baltimore, because of clearance restrictions, cannot handle the cargo, he said. So Caterpillar wanted the carrier to stop at the Port of Hampton Roads next to Norfolk.

Wallenius Transroll agreed to accommodate the shipper to win its business. The carrier will regularly deliver 40 units a month to Norfolk, where they will be transported to Decatur by Norfolk Southern Corp. The shipments total roughly 50,000 tons a year.

"It's important to us to have, at a minimum, monthly service," Mr. Burdick said. "We'd like to see the frequency increase. We may supplement the service with other carriers to keep the pipeline going."

Caterpillar has negotiations under way with other carriers, Mr. Burdick said. Production at Decatur relies heavily on steady delivery from Brazil, Mr. Burdick said, and Caterpillar wants to guard against any disruptions.