Logistics Industry Change Spurs New Entity for Dunavant

By Michelle Corbet, Memphis Business Journal

Aging equipment usually isn't a money maker, but for one Memphis-based company, it turned into a new entity to add to its global logistics service offerings.

Dunavant Enterprises Inc., a privately-owned operating company based in Memphis, has been able to capitalize on a national logistics trend.

About three to four years ago, Maersk Inc. and other large ocean carriers began to slowly phase out the historic practice of providing chassis for inland moves.

Chassis are the wheeled metal frames used to transport shipping containers from sea to rail and truck.

“The U.S. was the only one still offering the chassis to the customer — that is where we then saw an opportunity to come in and provide that service for our clients,” said Woodson Dunavant, vice president/director, Marketing and Business Development, Dunavant Enterprises Inc.

Through the formation of Dunavant Logistics Leasing Group LLC (DLLG), the company strives to provide a full-service solution for customers, while taking on an industry-wide issue.

“Dunavant’s formalized leasing entity resulted from growing customer demand, as well as our desire to continue to offer a comprehensive and coordinated operation,” said Richard McDuffie, Dunavant COO. “Our customers specifically requested chassis and trailer offerings in conjunction with our warehousing, trucking, drayage and global logistics management services. Though we have been experts in chassis since the formation of Dunavant Logistics, equipment leasing is a natural evolution for us.”

The equipment historically provided by ocean carriers was reaching the end of its useful life and was putting a strain on delivery, service and safety.

Instead of buying used equipment, like many of the chassis pools have done, Dunavant has only purchased new chassis with improved LED lights, radial tires, PSI tire systems and anti-sway technology.

“We have been operating this fleet for the past four to five years and accumulating new equipment each year,” Dunavant said. “Drivers would much rather come pick up one of ours rather than a pool chassis.”

When using a chassis pool, the truck driver must go pick up the chassis and then the container. The two aren’t always in the same place, Dunavant says.

There are several chassis pools in Memphis, but Dunavant offers the added convenience of bringing the chassis to the client. With 80 to 90 percent of chassis controlled by pools, truckers pick up and return chassis on a day-to-day basis.

“We’re not in the daily game,” Dunavant said.

Dunavant offers a one-year minimum lease on all transportation equipment, including container chassis, specialty type chassis and Dry Van Trailers.

The DLLG’s headquarters is in La Porte, Texas, but will lease anywhere in the Continental U.S., as well as non-contiguous states of Alaska, Hawaii and the Caribbean.

Carlos Rodriguez leads the DLLG entity as Director of Business Development/Equipment Leasing. Rodriguez has more than 30 years’ experience in the transportation business, most recently serving as Maintenance and Repair Director of Dunavant Trans Gulf Transportation LLC for six years.

Stacie Garcia serves as the Equipment Leasing Manager. Garcia has worked in the chassis business for three years and has more than 15 years’ experience in the transportation industry. She previously worked for Intermodal Chassis Resources LLC.

Equipment specifications can include but are not limited to:

23.5’ SL Tandem

40’ GN Tandem

40’ GN Lightweight

20’/40’ Tri-Axle

20’/40’ Wide Spreads

48’ IANS

83’ IANS

Specialized hauling equipment