Global fleet management company recognized for leading the UK fleet industry in rental solutions

MOUNT LAUREL, NJ (May 18, 2016) ARI®, a leading global fleet services provider specializing in complex car and truck fleets, recently received the "Innovation in Daily Rentals" award during the 2016 Fleet World Honors held at the Royal Automobile Club in London.
ARI logo

The Fleet World Honors recognizes fleet suppliers in the UK market that identify potential savings and add value to provide a solution for the diverse needs of its customers.
The editors of Fleet World highlighted ARI’s holistic approach to rentals as the key to the innovation behind its comprehensive program. Their award citation notes, “ARI’s Hire Management system gives a rental solution that works with a select group of suppliers for the diverse needs of its customers, identifying potential savings and adding value such as out of hours service, crossover into manufacturer schemes and customized vehicles.”

“We are delighted to be recognized by Fleet World,” commented Jason Chamberlain, director of sales and marketing for ARI UK. “We’ve worked hard to bring innovation to our rental approach, taking our key principles of fleet management and applying them to ensure that rental is brought into the core of our offering, rather than treating rental like an ancillary service. This has included working with selected partners to add value to our customer base, extending out-of-hours solutions nationwide, and leveraging strong manufacturer relationships to provide customized vehicles on a long-term rental basis.”

ARI, was founded in 1948 as part of the Holman Automotive Group, and has become a global vehicle fleet management organization. With more than 2,800 associates, the company provides strategic insight, optimal lifecycle analysis, sustainable fleet practices, fleet and other technologies to increase efficiencies and cut costs. ARI manages more than one million vehicles in North America, the UK and Europe, and more than two million vehicles worldwide with its strategic partners. In 2016, ARI was recognized as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune magazine for a fourth year in a row. Headquartered in Mount Laurel, NJ, ARI also has offices in the UK and Europe.

Energy Distribution Partners Acquires Lyons LP Gas Company, Inc., in Ohio and Michigan

Chicago, Illinois-based Energy Distribution Partners (EDP) has completed the acquisition of Lyons LP Gas Company, Inc., a family-owned business that has been providing propane service for more than 50 years to nearly 4,500 customers in northwestern Ohio and south central Michigan.
Lyons Propane Filling tank

Energy Distribution Partners CEO Tom Knauff stated, “We are extremely pleased to have Lyons LP Gas join the EDP family of companies. Ludlow ‘Lud’ Seaman believes, as we do, in the importance of caring for customers, treating co-workers with respect and operating safely in the communities we serve. We are thrilled that Lud has chosen to entrust his family business to EDP.”

“I wanted to make certain that both our employees and our customers would be well taken care of,” said Lud Seaman, president of Lyons LP Gas. “I am confident that EDP will not only take good care of them, but will continue our company’s commitment to providing safe, reliable propane service, which was also a high priority for me.”

Headquartered in Lyons, Ohio, Lyons LP Gas also has an office in Addison, Michigan. The company was founded by Lud Seaman’s father in 1966. In addition to providing propane for home heating to residential customers, the company also serves agricultural and commercial customers in the area.

The acquisition of Lyons Propane marks the seventh acquisition for Energy Distribution Partners in the past four years. EDP continues to focus its growth strategy in the residential, commercial and midstream sectors and provides propane services in California, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

The New Normal: Technology Can Make Or Break Your Propane Delivery Business

By Bill Stomp… A message to owners of propane delivery businesses throughout Canada and the United States: Never has there been a more exciting time, and never has there been a more anxious occasion, in the history of this industry. Why? Because technology now makes it much easier for competitors to enter each other’s respective territories, but that same technology enables companies to strengthen their relationships with existing clients.
Baby Boom movie house in the snow

This technology allows a propane delivery business to create a very detailed database in less than a year concerning the residential and commercial clients that a nearby competitor may currently serve. Building this resource for a minimal expense, compared to the costlier and more tedious methods of the past, means two things. First, it disrupts regional monopolies that have made, and continue to make, some businesses so lucrative. Absent knowing the client names and fuel needs of each individual customer, the bar to entry within a specific town, city, county, province, or community is quite high.

Second, access to this intelligence ends the peaceful coexistence among multiple generations of family-run propane delivery businesses. Hence, the urgency of this situation, as well as the opportunity for improved customer service and increased loyalty among current clientele, are part of this scenario.

Picture, in other words, a series of fiefdoms that enjoy the protection of an invisible wall or barricade, an impenetrable fortress that makes it improbable—and extremely expensive—to market and capture customers in an area that belongs to a long-standing propane delivery business.

That hypothetical is over. New technology forces walls to collapse, barricades to crumble, and any additional obstacles to crash. For example, if access to the information described above is no longer difficult or costly to compile, the only remaining distinction between one propane delivery business versus another is name recognition—and trust.

The savings from creating the database referenced at the beginning of this article can fund marketing, advertising, and promotions that target a competitor’s zone of operation and points of delivery.

Technology not only makes this possible, it invites — no, it demands — that propane delivery companies modernize, right now, or face the very real prospect of losing customers to “invaders” from all directions at once. The insight technology provides means a war for the preservation, or acquisition, of turf. It’s inevitable.

The more personalized customer service is, and the more attentive and responsive a propane delivery business becomes, the more able that company will be to withstand the forces of technology, heightened competition, and aggressive sales and marketing. Technology will further disrupt the propane delivery business. We can no more dismiss this fact than we can deny its reality. What we can do, and what we must do, is prepare for this revolution, free of fear and full of enthusiasm. The future is present, and we must accept this truth.

Bill Stomp is vice president of sales and marketing for Jenkintown, Pa.-based, a mobile field management software solution provider for the liquid fuel, propane, and product delivery industries.

Women In Propane (WIP) Goes 5 for 5 in Nashville!

A great convention can advance your career by doing one of five things brilliantly. It can: #1 Encourage, #2 Educate, #3 Inspire, #4 Connect or #5 Inform. In Nashville, NPGA’s Women in Propane (WIP) business council did all five.

#1 Encourage: Prior to the opening of the convention, The Knowledge Exchange (WIP Mentor Network) launched its pilot program in a four-hour training led by Dr. Liz Selzer, CEO of Mentor Leadership Team. Mentor/mentee pairs, known as Knowledge Partners, learned best practices in preparation for their six-month course of mentorship. According to Selzer, “It is a bold yet accurate assertion that every organization should be utilizing the power of mentoring to maximize engagement, retention, productivity, strong corporate culture and career path growth. Mentoring utilizes your existing human resources, costs relatively little to implement, and creates measurable results.”  (The Knowledge Exchange pilot was sponsored in part by a presidential grant from PERC.)

#2 Educate: Day one of the convention presented the inaugural WIP Leadership Forum at the Expo, a full day of leadership training led by expert presenters Margaret Morford, CEO of The HR Edge Inc., and Lisa Gunderson, a Cy Wakeman-certified trainer in Reality-Based programs. More than 60 participants invested in learning skills to develop management courage, to forge effective workplace alliances, to lead successfully through changing times, and to coach personal accountability at all levels. (The WIP Leadership Forum was sponsored by AmeriGas, Ferrellgas, Bergquist, Delta Liquid Energy, and Irish Propane.)
#3 Inspire: WIP’s fifth annual Roundtable Session featured significant speeches by Angela John, vice president, natural gas liquids and sulphur, BP Energy Co.; and Mike Hopsicker, president and CEO, Ray Murray Inc. Their inspiring presentations on the power of mentorship in their careers created a framework for the audience to participate in discussions at each table where they explored the essential role a mentor may play in one’s professional life. (WIP Roundtable was sponsored by A.R.M. Solutions and Westmor Industries.)

#4 Connect:
WIP’s Networking Reception brought together industry colleagues for camaraderie, business leads, introductions, and conversation over beverages sponsored by AePex Energy. Connect Part B: A professional photographer was available on the trade show floor to take professional head shots which were sent digitally to those who participated. According to LinkedIn career expert Nicole Williams, you are seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have a photo.

#5 Inform: On hand to update Women in Propane members was Alison Abbott, director of communications at the World LPG Association, headquartered in Paris. Having launched in Singapore last September, the Women in LPG (WINLPG) global network’s first knowledge sharing workshop took place in Bogota, Columbia. Led by Abbott and WINLPG Chair Nikki Brown of Cavagna Group UK Ltd., the workshop united 16 women from eight Latin American countries. They discussed how the network can reach its goals in their region and how to promote role models and educate and attract women to the industry. The next meeting is scheduled on May 17 in Australia. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
“The Nashville Expo is barely over and we’re already on to the next adventure. Come see us at the Western Convention if you’re there. We want to thank all of our speakers in Nashville for providing such great content. Attendees at Women in Propane programs in Nashville are letting us know the events provided meaningful and useful takeaways,” commented WIP chair Kelly Bosak of Ferrellgas. —Nancy Coop

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Phillips 66 Freeport Export Terminal Scheduled to Open Later This Year

In the long run, U.S. NGL producers will have major cost advantages over their international peers, says Bill Briggs, director, waterborne NGL origination at Phillips 66. Any production growth slowdown is likely to be temporary due to cost deflation, high grading, innovation, consolidation, and global fundamentals. With international demand expected to grow by 42% from 2011 to 2025, Phillips 66 in the second half of this year is scheduled to bring online its Freeport, Texas LPG export terminal as part of its Sweeny Hub initiative.

In a presentation at the February Argus Americas LPG Summit in Key Largo, Fla., Briggs, a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y. and a 19-year commercial marine industry veteran, noted that the outlook for U.S. LPG supply points to growing exports. “U.S. LPG supply has grown by 90% since 2005 and is expected to continue growing, albeit with a potential short-term slowdown due to market economics,” he said. “Phillips 66’s Freeport export terminal will be operational in the second half of 2016 and will be a world-class LPG export facility.”

He added that U.S. exports will become more advantaged into overseas markets as freight rates decline with the delivery of additional very large gas carriers (VLGCs) and when the Panama Canal expansion becomes operational. “International demand is expected to increase an additional 25% over the next 10 years, especially in the Asian markets,” Briggs said.

To that end, the new export terminal will provide 4.4 MMbbl a month of LPG export capacity, the equivalent of eight VLGCs. The facility is located on the site of an existing crude import marine terminal in Freeport and utilizes existing Phillips 66 midstream, transportation, and storage infrastructure. Export terminal infrastructure includes a 550,000-bbl refrigerated propane tank, LPG salt dome storage, and four refrigeration trains. There are two new LPG-ship-capable loading docks and two loading arms per dock. Two ships can be loaded simultaneously at a rate of up to 36,000 bbl an hour.

Briggs commented that advantages of the terminal, which lies 30 miles inland, include a one-and-a-half-hour transit time to and from open water, a nominal 40-ft draft, expansion capability, and the limited potential for expansive port growth going forward, meaning waterway congestion isn’t just over the horizon. He contrasted Freeport with the Houston Ship Channel, where he said congestion is expected to increase with projected expansions.

“Freeport’s competitive position is that it avoids the congestion and fog delays of Houston, provides connectivity to Mont Belvieu, and is strategically located near West Texas NGL supply. There are fewer issues of nighttime operation restrictions and escort requirements. Freeport leverages existing refinery and terminal assets, there’s available salt dome storage, and there is access to a deep harbor.”

As part of its Sweeny Hub project, Phillips 66 last December began operations at its new 100,000-bbld Fractionator One at the company’s Sweeny Complex in Old Ocean, Texas. Sweeny Fractionator One currently supplies purity ethane and LPG to the petrochemical industry and heating markets, and is supported by 250 miles of new pipelines and a multimillion-barrel cavern complex. LPGs produced at the facility are being delivered via pipeline to local petrochemical customers, as well as to the Mont Belvieu market hub. Phillips 66 will have the capability to place LPG into the global marketplace upon commissioning of the 150,000-bbld Freeport export terminal later this year.

Sweeny Fractionator One and the export terminal represent a combined capital investment of more than $3 billion by Phillips 66. Fractionator One is located near the company’s Sweeny refinery in Old Ocean. Several pipelines, including the Sand Hills Pipeline, supply NGL feedstock to the facility, and a bilateral pipeline runs between Sweeny and Mont Belvieu.

Phillips 66 holds direct interests in three NGL fractionators and gathering systems in strategic NGL hubs in the U.S. The company owns 22.5% of Gulf Coast Fractionators, which owns a fractionating facility in Mont Belvieu. Ownership also includes a 12.5% stake in an Enterprise fractionator at Mont Belvieu and 40% ownership of a fractionator at Conway, Kan.

Along with those, Phillips 66 owns interests in gathering and interstate transmission pipeline systems. The pipelines gather and deliver Y-grade to supply its facilities at the joint-venture Borger refinery in Texas and the fractionators in Mont Belvieu and Conway. Phillips 66 holds one-third ownership interests in the Sand Hills and Southern Hills NGL pipelines, which connect production from the Eagle Ford Shale Basin, Permian Basin, and Mid-Continent to Texas Gulf Coast markets. DCP Midstream operates the pipelines, which began service in 2013.     —John Needham