Schneider National is expanding its bulk service to include local and regional service in five markets with more promised in the near future.

The service, initially launched in four markets in 2007, has been so well received, Schneider said, that it will include a terminal in Keasbey, NJ, with shipments to begin later this year. Previously, Schneider opened facilities in Houston, New Orleans and Chicago and then, in April, began operating out of a terminal in Pittsburgh.

“Today’s bulk customer has a mix of long- and short-haul needs,” said Georg Grossardt, vp & gm of Schneider National Bulk. “Providing local and regional bulk service gives customers a single-source bulk solution that capitalizes on Schneider’s history of safety and service.”

Schneider now offers three bulk solutions for shippers—long haul, local or regional and fuel hauling, which began in March. It hauls liquid commodities such as industrial and specialty chemicals, petrochemicals and fuel, but currently does not offer dry bulk or food-grade product shipping.

Expansion plans include offering the service in Detroit, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Los Angeles beginning in July with more expansion possible.

“We are open to establishing other service points based on the needs of our customers,” Grossardt told FleetOwner.

With a national carrier looking for business dominated by long-standing regional carriers, the question is whether there is enough business for everyone. The impact, analyst Chris Brady said, is not clear-cut. “If it’s national carriers, they might not provide any more advantage than a local provider,” Brady, president of Commercial Motor Vehicle Consulting, told FleetOwner.

Schneider’s model is designed to offer services to existing customers wishing to have one national distributor as well as opening up the service to new clients. Grossardt said the expansion of the service, despite rising costs for the trucking industry, is a response to customers’ needs.

“Our customers have asked us to provide this service to them,” Grossardt said. “Many markets are underserved from a bulk perspective, and the addition of a carrier like Schneider provides shippers with more choices. It is a logical evolution based on our 40-year history of providing exceptional service and safety to our bulk customers.”

One added bonus for Schneider is driver retention, where the added flexibility provides drivers more opportunities to spend time at home.

“In addition to our legendary long-haul business, having this local and regional work also provides more lifestyle choices for Schneider's driver associates,” Grossardt said.

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