KAG Doubles Food-Grade Cleaning Capacity in Sidney

On Wednesday, May 6th, the team at KAG held a grand opening for their newest facility in Sidney, Ohio. Below is an article from Bulk Transporter that explains how the facility will serve industry partners in a growing market for edible oils.

Kenan Advantage Group’s acquisition of Ag Trucking formed a productive partnership.

The June 2021 deal immediately boosted KAG’s driver pool, food-grade equipment fleet, and management team; and expanded its footprint across five states, including Indiana, Ohio, and North Carolina, with little overlap. And it secured the help Ag wanted for the next stage of its growth. “It was a win-win for everybody because it really opened up our network and expanded it through the complete market, which drove a lot of efficiencies across one team,” said Tyler Coventry, executive vice president of KAG Food Products.

Grand Opening Event

Now the carrier’s Food Products group is aiming for another win with the addition of a new two-bay tank wash facility at KAG’s Sidney, Ohio, terminal that doubles the location’s food-grade cleaning capacity; and ensures KAG is well-positioned to serve industry partners in a growing market for edible oils.

KAG’s new tank cleaning facility was expected to open for 24/7 business in early March. A grand opening celebration is planned for May.

“This project was on the drawing board when we were acquired,” explained Casey Stump, vice president of the KAG Food Products group. “KAG was inquisitive about it and has been very supportive of it since we closed the deal, and it’s the first major project that KAG leadership helped us advance since the combination—so it turned out great.”

Growing group

KAG Food Products is KAG’s third-largest U.S. operating group by assets, behind KAG Energy and KAG Specialty Products, with approximately 650 trucks and 1,350 food-grade tank trailers. That’s up from 500 trucks and 800 trailers only three years ago.

See also: KAG acquires Ag Trucking

The group also is highly integrated with KAG’s Canadian division to support cross-border shipments. “We continue to add drivers and grow our footprint throughout the network, both organically and through strategic partnerships,” Coventry said. “And, overall, we see a lot of runway for our Food Products group.”

Coventry pointed to several market factors aiding expansion. Biodiesel demand is booming, and common ingredients include vegetable oil and used cooking oils. So is the variety of available oils, which is growing along with Americans’ evolving appetites; and yet fast-food restaurants continue to consume large amounts of oil, Coventry said. As a result, soybean acreage is up, and oil production in the U.S. is increasing. “And the major shippers are putting profits back into building up the refining capacity at their plants,” he said.

“We’ve seen plants throughout the Midwest coming online and looking to produce more, so overall we feel there’s going to be stronger demand than we’ve seen in the past,” Coventry said.

To keep pace with “skyrocketing” demand, KAG added three food-grade tank washes in the last four years, including one in Decatur, Alabama, in 2020, and the original two-bay cleaning facility acquired in 2021, giving it 11 Kosher wash facilities. “We continue to look at adding tank washes throughout our network,” Coventry said. “These facilities allow us to control our logistics and the quality of the wash, and we can service third-party carriers.”

The tank washes are so vital to KAG’s success, they’re treated like a separate business within Food Products, Coventry said.

“The service aspect has got to be there,” he emphasized. “It’s essential.”

Model location

The Sidney terminal is ideally located to deliver first-rate service.

It’s easily visible from Interstate 75, especially after an upgrade to the new wash facility’s exterior lighting.

“Now that we have four bays instead of two, we can take care of more of the traffic rolling by on I-75 and wash out more trailers for people,” Stump said. The site also boasts a shop, and plenty of space for drop-and-hooks along with overnight parking, with 10 acres that can hold 250-plus tank trailers—and room to grow.

And drivers are taking notice. “Our driver turnover has reduced since we came under the KAG umbrella,” Stump said.

Stump started out as the tank wash manager in Sidney, so he appreciates the upgrades to the location’s shop, driver amenities, and cleaning capacity as much as anyone. Sidney already was turning out 8,000 clean, dry, and odor-free trailers each year. Now it’s poised to double that with nine technicians and two managers providing around-the-clock service Sunday night through Friday afternoon, and morning shifts Saturdays and Sundays.

But one thing hasn’t changed: The highly trained cleaning staff’s ultra-low rejection rate of .25% per year. “It’s a source of pride for that team. It always has been, and it’s carried on over the years.”

State-of-the-art setup

Only now they have more powerful tools—and a streamlined operating environment.

With Greg Richard, KAG’s VP of tank wash operations, Dave Phillips (facility maintenance supervisor), and Kevin Carey (tank wash manager) leading the way, the KAG team spent months carefully planning the details, from how traffic enters and exits the property, and the new wash facility, to the capabilities of the equipment, and the safety and comfort of employees. Upgrades include OSHA-approved SafeRack cages for working on top of trailers, and large overhead fans that keep technicians cool on summer days. “We put a lot of thought into how we set this up and how it might work in the future at other locations,” Stump said.

KAG broke ground on the facility, which was built next door to the original to avoid interrupting established operations, in May 2022 with the goal of opening late last year, but supply-chain disruptions delayed delivery of key components, from the stainless-steel garage doors to power transformers, pushing back completion.

Tank wash suppliers The Peacock Company and Blue Sphere Water Technology provided the mission-critical equipment.

The new facility features two Peacock Model 660 single-pass wash systems, so KAG can clean two trailers at a time—and four including the original facility. “They’re high-pressure, low-volume units that exceed 200 degrees Fahrenheit at 32 GPM and 600 psi,” said Miranda McMas, special projects manager for Peacock. “And an on-demand, 4.2-million BTU heating system eliminates the need for a boiler, and the wait time to get water up to temperature.” The 660s are PLC-driven with pre-programmed wash recipes, and all washes are digitally recorded with time and temperature charts printed on customized certificates.

The energy-efficient systems also boast three chemical-injection chambers with HydroMinder dispensers and steam capabilities up to 17 GPM at 325 degrees F, and KAG installed a 20-hp Model 3126 high-pressure handgun system for exterior cleans. “The maintenance side is key, especially with natural gas and water prices where they’re at today,” Coventry said. “Energy as a whole is becoming more costly, so these systems allow us to control our cost structure, and how much we charge, to stay competitive in the market.”

Blue Sphere provided a dissolved air flotation (DAF) wastewater treatment system with three-chamber chemical reaction vessel for caustics, coagulants, and flocculants. The system includes an above-ground oil/water separator, 2,805-gallon Weir pump-down chamber, and two exterior, 12-ft.-by-20-ft. fiberglass storage containers with 16,800-gallon capacities. “This wastewater management system is robust, which allows us to wash more hard oils, like hydrogenated or inter-esterification oils and canola blends, and waxes,” Coventry said.

Driver-centric service

Each wash takes about an hour, giving drivers time to take advantage of the location’s upgraded comforts—or simply relax in a safe, secure setting.

“We made it driver-friendly, accessible 24 hours a day, and well-lit; and we’re the providing modern conveniences truck stops offer, whether it’s a shower, or washer and dryer,” Coventry said. “That way they can clean up and do their laundry without all the hassles other drivers face.”

This project was #builtforyou by our dedicated Sidney regional team.