Even as falling oil prices take their toll on energy companies, there are big areas of the economy that will benefit in a major way from this period of cheap oil, one of which is the trucking industry. The logistics sector in Sturgeon County employs four percent of the labour force. They are an important sector that manages the flow of goods between local manufacturers and their suppliers. For trucking companies such as HIS Trucking, fuel is either the largest or second-largest expense; fuel and labor interchange with each other, and are dependent on current fuel prices. HIS Trucking spends about $100,000 a month on fuel, so the price drop means significant gains to their operational bottom-line.
I visited the company in October just before the oil prices started declining and I met the friendly owner of this successful company, Jon Bucher. Jon started this business 35 years ago hauling grain for Sturgeon farmers after moving here from West Virginia to start a farm. He saw an opportunity to expand his business by trucking chicken meal from Saskatchewan for Champion Petfoods – a growing pet food company that since evolved into a well-known global brand in 70 countries worldwide. The company sources its ingredients from regional farmers, ranchers, fishermen and smaller processors. Jon’s company hauls about 80-90 percent of Champion Petfoods’ raw materials from all over Western Canada.
HIS trucking hauls fresh meats, fish, poultry and eggs, and vegetables. They have extensive experience transporting a wide range of perishable commodities using vans equipped with temperature control technology. I asked Jon about his secret to success as a freight carrier for Champion Petfoods: “I started out hauling a product that no one else was willing to get into at that time because it was either too labour intensive or required specialized equipment they didn’t have”, he replied in a distinctive southern American accent.
Jon’s fleet consists of fifteen trucks, 11 refrigerated vans and four set grain trailers. HIS trucking has 14 fulltime employees that include experienced drivers that have logged many driving hours in all manner of road and weather conditions. The team also consists of mechanics that maintain the trucks on a regular basis.
So here is an interesting fact I learned about Jon’s trucking business: The average life of a newly purchased truck by the company is about 5 years with approximately 200,000 kilometers per year are put on each truck!
Trucking isn’t the only line of business Jon is involved in. Jon recently diversified his operations by opening a cleaning facility next to Champion Petfoods. Daily, this facility sanitizes about 200 totes that are used to transport ingredients for Champion Petfoods.
Jon may be contacted at:
25325 TWP Rd 560, Sturgeon County, T8R 0R6 or by
Phone at (780) 975-2507
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