When it comes to logistics, Watco has some of the most experienced players in the industry. Watco not only has dedicated and experienced team members designing logistics moves for our customers; we’ve broadened our service offerings via a strategic relationship with Mid-Ship Logistics.

The companies’ relationship has been ongoing for many years, and in April 2018, it was made official when Watco purchased an interest in Mid-Ship Group, LLC. In December 2019, Watco made another investment in Mid-Ship, purchasing a large percentage of the logistics company, with a small investment in the marine division as well.

“Mid-Ship Logistics has in-depth knowledge of the inland riverway networks and barge operations in general and is well known to many customers in the barging world. Therefore, adding Mid-Ship into the mix makes a lot of sense for Watco, particularly as we have invested in a port and terminal network that barge management complements, and we have moved to offer increased modal breadth in our supply chain offerings,” said Watco SVP Sales-Logistics Lynda Patterson.

“Like most good partnerships, the benefits go both ways. Mid-Ship gains the added value of a large organization with the huge potential to provide end-to-end solutions for our respective customer base and new customers. Mid-Ship provides Watco with a Marine transportation solution to combine with Terminal handling, trucking, and rail. Watco and Mid-Ship are individually strong but unbeatable as a team,” said George Kachmar, Mid-Ship president.

Although the Watco and Mid-Ship partnership may be fairly new, Mid-Ship has been around for quite some time. The company was started in 1974, primarily focusing on ocean chartering, and consisting of non-containerized ship brokerage-chartering. In 1991, they added the logistics division, which handles the logistics of everything except ocean chartering, planning the movement of cargo from vessel to the point of rest. Mid-Ship is a non-asset-based company that coordinates services and manages providers on behalf of their diverse customer base. The services managed include stevedoring, surveying, trucking, rail, and barging. Mid-ship can handle all facets of the move or just the pieces that the customer needs handled.

The Mid-Ship logistics group is comprised of about 35 team members who work from four locations across the U.S., with headquarters in Port Washington, New York. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, location manages truckload activity; New Orleans, Louisiana, team members focus on barge operations; and the Houston, Texas, group provides in-house logistics management services for Kinder Morgan and other clients. The Port Washington team oversees all activity, including barge management. Mid-Ship manages ocean movement (via Mid-Ship Marine), extends into the interior U.S. via barge and truck moves executed by Mid-ship Logistics, which utilizes Watco Logistics to provide additional truck depth and rail sector expertise. The cargo that Mid-Ship moves is mostly non-containerized products such as steel and industrial bulk. The benefit of using the logistics services is they can move cargo from door-to-door, offering a one-call end-to-end solution with one consolidated invoice.

One good example of how the Watco and Mid-Ship teams work together is when a large industrial customer of Mid-Ship needed an off-site location to store their bulk raw material. Mid-Ship and Watco teamed up to identify a
location that was easily accessible, able to handle the product, and then capable of unloading barges and then reloading back to barge once it was
ready to be shipped out. Watco’s Vicksburg, Mississippi, terminal stored the product on-site and then was able to ship 22,000 tons of cargo via barge to New Orleans, where it was transloaded from barge to ship and then delivered to the East Coast of Mexico.

Although the relationship gives the logistics teams more ways to utilize Watco resources, they will only do so when it makes good business sense for their customers.

“In the end,” Kachmar said, “we are going to do what is in the best interest of the customer. Of course, we first see if we can use a Watco facility in the logistics plan, but we need to present all options to the customer.”