NRG Rail LLC (Tucson, Ariz.) has built a much-needed rail terminal that will serve surrounding areas. “For many years, retail propane companies in the Southwest have had to drive too far for propane loads,” Chad Ayers, co-owner of Titan NRG LLC, the parent company of NRG Rail, told BPN. “This terminal will allow marketers to save money on propane delivery. In addition to lower-cost supply, Mexico’s deregulation of energy also makes it an attractive location to supply south-of-the-border markets.” Ayers co-owns Titan NRG with Alex Majalca.
The NRG Rail Tucson Terminal will have 20 rail spots and the capability for transloading from rail car to transport truck. Future storage and loading racks are permitted with a terminal that includes ten 90,000-gal. tanks and six 60,000-gal. tanks. Two truck loading racks will be able to load transports simultaneously in 25 minutes or less. With experience as a leader in a retail propane operation in the region, APE Fuels, Ayers and Majalca have been aware of the wholesale propane needs of area retail propane marketers. “We started in 2001 when the biggest independent in the area fell apart,” Ayers said. “It was the perfect storm to rapidly grow a retail operation.” The company was started by Ayers, Majalca, and Ginger Cunningham, a relative of Ayers, and is now solely owned by Cunningham. It currently has approximately 1800 residential customers.
Through the experience with APE Fuels, Ayers and Majalca experienced firsthand the needs of retail propane marketers in the region. “There were not enough trucks to drive the long distances to haul propane to these retailers,” Ayers said. “Alex and I started a wholesale transportation company, NRG Dynamics, in 2014 due to the overwhelming lack of trucks, especially during the busy season.” With more than 20 regional trucks operating from Texas to the Pacific Northwest, the company is now expanding to other areas. “We blend in other products to haul during the summer months,” Ayers explained. “We haul a lot of asphalt during the summer months.” With both owner-operators and company-operators, NRG Dynamics hauled more than 40 million gallons in 2019 and 2020.
Ayers and Majalca later decided a rail terminal was needed to further improve logistics in the region. NRG Rail joined NRG Dynamics under their parent company, Titan NRG. “We’re several hundred miles from refineries, so rail makes a lot of sense here,” Ayers said. Speaking in December, he added, “We are looking forward to serving the wholesale and retail propane marketplace.”