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Resin packaging plant under construction on Gulf Coast

December 21, 2016

You can add Plantgistix to the growing list of firms adding resin-related facilities on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The Houston-based company provides in-plant and off-plant services — including maintenance and warehousing — to plastic resin makers. Its expansion plans include a 330,000-square-foot resin packaging plant. The plant currently is under construction in Baytown, Texas, and is scheduled to open in April.

The new plant and Plantgistix’s existing Houston facility will give the firm almost 1 million square feet of space.

“Who would have thought there would be all of this new polyethylene?” President and CEO Marc Levine said in a recent phone interview. “But this is really happening.”

The project represents a $3.5 million investment for the firm. It will be located in the AmeriPort Industrial Park and will support Plantgistix’s off-plant contract packaging services. It also will provide railcar storage and switching services for the firm’s customers through a partnership with Rail Logix, a privately owned rail yard operator.

In a recent news release, Plantgistix officials said that the firm’s growth mirrors the vast ethylene and PE capacity expansions currently underway on the Gulf Coast. Most of this new production will be exported globally, they added, and Plantgistix will help meet growing demand with its new location in the Baytown/Bayport corridor.

The nearby Port of Houston has a 75 percent share of the nation’s waterborne exports of PE resin, officials said. The port also has a vast amount of on-site infrastructure that can be developed to meet future industry demand.

Plantgistix — formerly United DC — has been working with resin makers for seven decades. The firm claims to be the first in the U.S. to provide contract packaging to the plastics industry. The new plant will provide Plantgistix’s ultra-high speed form fill seal bagging system, increasing the company’s nameplate capacity to over 1,000 hopper cars per month.

“Since becoming the first family in America to process plastic resin in the 1930s, our focus has always been to make our customer’s business better by continually improving the processes and operations,” Levine said in the release. “The business landscape has changed since then … but the need for businesses to remain focused on their core competency has not.

“Our mission is to be a success catalyst for our customers, and this new facility greatly enhances our ability to deliver on that promise,” he added.

The new site will also have storage and switching capacity for 2,400 railcars, along with barge service to the Barbours Cut and Bayport terminals. The site contains room for future Plantgistix expansions in packaging, warehousing and rail car storage.

The history of Plantgistix dates back to the early days of the U.S. plastics industry. Brothers Harry and Louis Levine founded injection molder Commonwealth Plastics in Leominster, Mass., in the 1930s.

The Levine family then over the years founded several companies — including UnitedTrans, United Warehouse and United DC, offering contract packaging and trucking services for resin makers across the United States. Those combined firms — operating as UnitedCompanies — were renamed as Plantgistix in 2013. The firm handles more than 2 billion pounds of resin every year.

Logistics firms are investing in the Gulf Coast area because of massive amounts of new PE capacity that’s being installed there. These expansions are being driven by newfound supplies of natural gas throughout the region, which is supplying PE producers with abundant and affordable feedstocks.

Others investing in the region include Ravago Americas, which has purchased approximately 200 acres in Houston near Highway 1405. The Orlando-based firm plans to build a materials center there that will be able to handle more than 2 billion pounds per year.

Belgium-based Katoen Natie is working with railroad leader Union Pacific Corp. on a new Dallas-to-dock shipping service, along with plans to build a major resin shipping center in Dallas which is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2017.

Rail giant BNSF Railway Co. and Texas-based firms Hillwood Development Co. LLC and Packwell Inc. are working on a resin shipping center in Fort Worth. That project is expected to come online during the fourth quarter of 2017.

Frank Esposito,