Sunday, June 13, 2004

By truck or rail, Parsec finds success

Local company has lucrative niche in multisystem shipping

By John Eckberg
The Cincinnati Enquire

As companies continue to blend rail and truck transportation to get raw and finished goods to market, one local company has found growing market share and revenue.

Parsec Inc. is a Cincinnati-based provider of intermodal services in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and transferred for its railroad industry clients 4.5 million container units shipped by rail in 2003.

"The fastest growing segment of the railroad industry is intermodal transportation," said Gary Sease, spokesman for CSX Transportation Inc., a Jacksonville, Fla.- based railroad unit of CSX Corp.

"More consumer-oriented products are moving that way. There's a combination of factors, congestion on the nation's interstate highways and a desire on part of trucking companies to ease fuel cost, although we're feeling it now, too."

Parsec, which employs 2,200 people, has found a lucrative niche in intermodal systems, which move goods in containers to or from railroad flatcars, said Otto Budig, president of the company he founded with his brother, George Budig, in 1985 from a trucking company created years before by their father.

Parsec had $116 million in revenue in 1997, which increased to $178 million in 2003, according to a report compiled by the former Andersen Co. of the top 100 privately held companies in Greater Cincinnati.

Parsec operates cranes that load and unload containers and trailers, which are in turn moved by rail, truck and ship. When you see a train hauling flatcars, each carrying a trailer that seems like it belongs on a highway behind a truck, there's a good chance that Parsec put the trailer on the rail car.

"The intermodal business has grown at a rate of 7 percent to 9 percent compounded yearly," Budig said. "What has happened is that shippers and receivers have found that intermodal service is equally reliable as truck service and less expensive."

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