By Peter Hempenstall, NTEA Director of Outreach
Meet our experts
This article was published in the December 2019 edition of NTEA News.
NTEA recently crossed paths with AutoPort Inc., a distributor member located in New Castle, Delaware, at the Port of Wilmington. This privately held organization opened in 1981 and has handled, processed and modified over 3 million vehicles for U.S.-based manufacturers, including Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, American Honda, Suzuki, Mitsubishi and Toyota. A portion of the company’s business is to prepare vehicles leaving through the Port of Wilmington for locations such as Jeddah, a Saudi Arabian port city. AutoPort owns six rail spurs (for loading and unloading vehicles) in Wilmington with capacity for 72 rail cars.
Domestically, AutoPort does significant customization for work truck vehicles from Midwest factories arriving by train. The company also provides a full range of fleet conversion services.
For example, employees add partitions behind cabs and metal shelving to vehicles that will become work vans for plumbers, electricians and other tradespeople. Roof-mounted light bars and corner strobe lights are added to law enforcement vehicles.
Another part of AutoPort’s business includes modifying heavy-duty chassis. This involves substantial work — a repowering of internal combustion vehicles to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) for utility company use. This strategy was developed in response to large fleet customers planning to move operations from a cost center to a potential breakeven or profit center. The business now offers bi-fuel, dual-fuel and dedicated CNG solutions. AutoPort partners with NTEA member Alliance AutoGas (Swannanoa, North Carolina), a network of companies that joined together to form propane vehicle conversion centers, on-site fueling infrastructure, fuel supply and ongoing technical support.
Dick Johnson, AutoPort’s vice president of business development, inspects a CNG conversion job. Find company details at autoportinc.com.
AutoPort occupies 102 acres encompassing an on-site rail head, 50,000 square-foot conversion center, 20,000 square-foot processing center, 10,000 square-foot fabrication center and 10,000 square feet of dedicated warehouse space.
Vice President of Business Development Dick Johnson shared their mission statement: “We will meet or exceed the expectations of our customer each and every time.” AutoPort is part of NTEA’s Member Verification Program, which recognizes eligible companies in the work truck industry for outstanding business practices and successful implementation of quality standards. Learn more at ntea.com/mvp.
For more information, visit autoportinc.com, call 302-658-5100 or stop by 203 Pigeon Point Rd. in New Castle, Delaware.