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OmniTRAX and 1845 Oil Field Services team up for final-mile delivery of frac sand

(Photo: OmniTRAX)

Venture brings together two of the largest names in U.S. frac sand production to provide integrated delivery solution.

OmniTRAX, the second-largest operator of short-line railroads in the U.S., is entering a joint venture with Texas-based 1845 Oil Field Services, one of the largest U.S. frac sand trucking companies, for final mile delivery of sand and other bulk materials to oil and gas drillers.

OmniTRAX’s short-line railroads in Illinois and Texas carry about one-fifth of the sand mined in the U.S. for hydraulic fracturing. Justin Renfro, senior vice president at OmniTrax, says the collaboration with 1845 will “be able to offer faster delivery and service to the wellhead, and also optimize each one of those assets, whether it be a truck, whether it be a terminal or a maintenance yard.”

The joint venture will include OmniTRAX’s frac sand terminal and transload business, which operates in some of the largest U.S. shale basins.

Its terminals in the Bakken, Permian and Eagle Ford shale plays total 115,000 tons of silo, rail and flat storage. OmniTRAX also owns and operates a rail-to-truck transload facility serving the Denver-Julesberg Basin.

ShaleTECH expects to have between 12 and 14 crews operating across various basins over the next year. Each crew is expected to handle about 25,000 tons of sand and proppant per month.

Robbie Ballard, president of 1845 and ShaleTECH Transport, says the joint venture will initially house 50 trucks. But he says the joint venture could eventually reach 300 trucks.

Ballard says each crew will have between 10 and 50 trucks, depending on length of haul and production intensity.

1845, which runs a fleet of 600 trucks, expects to add another 300 trucks to its fleet as a result of the joint venture.

“We’ll scale up as need for customer demand,” Ballard said. He says the joint venture will provide drillers with one integrated service provider “from the terminal all the way through the wellsite.”

Shale drillers “may have a last-mile provider of wellsite storage, another supplying transload and another supplying transportation. This rolls everything into one with full visibility.”

ShaleTECH will also market OmniTRAX’s containerized sand delivery and storage product, Arrows Up, which is in use at various basins across the U.S. Renfro says the joint venture will house between 150 and 175 chassis for servicing Arrows Up customers.

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Michael Angell, Bulk and Intermodal Editor

Michael Angell covers maritime, intermodal and related topics for FreightWaves. His interest in transportation stretches back several generations. One great-grandfather was a dray horseman along the New York waterfront and another was a railway engineer in Texas. More recently, Michael has written about the shipping industry for TradeWinds, energy markets for Oil Price Information Service, and general business topics for FactSet Mergerstat and Investor's Business Daily. When he is not stuck in the office, he enjoys tours of ports, terminals, and railyards.