The Real Winter Roads

Discussion in 'Canadian Truckers Forum' started by 10-34-1, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. 10-34-1

    10-34-1 Light Load Member

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    Hey all.

    I ran winter roads in the mid 80's north of Yellowknife and in Labrador. As a possible retirement gig, I was thinking about running again a few months during the freeze. It's been awhile. Back then we had a box of crackers, an army sleeping bag, a hand full of cassettes, a surplus military 25 set for a radio, and a hand full of paperbacks. I hear now it's all satellite, dvd, lap tops, and vhf. That true ? Camps ? Camp food, and showers ?

    I'm also hearing that finding winter road drivers is like finding hens teeth. I'm hearing that rates are so low up north that drivers are being recruited from India ! Really ? NO WAY. What can an old, experienced, over size hauler still make running past the Ingraham ? It can't have gotten that bad, can it ?

    I'd like to know.

    Tks

    10-34-1 - fom Toronto
     
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  3. rzl-dzl

    rzl-dzl Medium Load Member

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  4. 10-34-1

    10-34-1 Light Load Member

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    What ?? No waaay Mon !

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2015
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  5. Tam_Tam

    Tam_Tam Light Load Member

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    The people I know who are regulars on the Yellowknife (to BHP and Diavik mines) say that ever since Ice Road Truckers the security on the road now is rather strict. More than a few long-timers made two winters ago their last time up on the ice.
    Mostly it's Westcan and Ventures West on the fuel, I don't know about the freight side anymore.

    Money's good, the tankers got a hefty raise last year to do it. The newer people fight with eachother and get pretty ugly about getting 'their fair miles', but yes, it's immigrants, mostly British ex-pats for Westcan because that's where they recruited. BHP and Diavik aren't being so hospitable with the food and things anymore.
     
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  6. 10-34-1

    10-34-1 Light Load Member

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    Thanks Tam_Tam. I really appreciate that. Years ago, the over-size haulers and the tankers made the coin. That still the case for over-dimensional ? Why did tankers get a big raise ? How big ? And why are the mines leary of feeding the drivers now ? Any other info would be great. I have an 'in' in Labrador I might pursue, but it's running a chemical unit on the actual site. Whole different ball game. Just looking for what pays best now I guess. Either way, it can be a hard go. Been there and done it. I'm just wondering if it's still worthwhile, or if it's like everything else in trucking these days - hack and slash ! Tks again and have a large ol' weekend.
     
  7. Tam_Tam

    Tam_Tam Light Load Member

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    YVW, I wish I had more for you. Over-dimensional seems to be done by Continental Cartage/Tli Cho as far as I understand... as for pay, I can't give a good answer on those guys but they pay them more than their decks or vans, anyway. The tank drivers at Westcan on company trucks got their work after Ventures lost it (and Ventures had the work from Westcan's mess up the years before, of course) so Westcan wanted to keep the production high with a 20% raise. Ventures has always paid better anyway, and by the hour. If you've got your own truck, Ventures will hire it on but Westcan keeps that mostly to the company units. Westcan has their base camp in Yellowknife (food, showers,beds, etc. - old RTL yard) and at Ventures you have your bunk.
    My opinion? I think it's hack and slash. Earlier this year Westcan was sold to the Keenan Advantage Group (tank company out of the US) and Manitoulin has bought up most of the freight carriers to Yellowknife (Matco, Northwest Transport, Westcan's Freight Division/RTL). The foreigners (and I mean companies not grounded in our north) like the margins they see for the north and figure if they can run it like they do where they're from the profits will be staggering. So they try, and pay instead with losing contracts, insurance claims or lack of drivers willing to move the goods because the wages aren't worth the heartache = contract shuffling often.
    BHP and Diavik have really amped up their security and there's been plenty of complaints about long waits at the gates. The reception of drivers by the mines isn't anywhere near as friendly as the past and I couldn't tell you why.
    If it were me looking, I would try Ventures as a first call. They have the least angry driver pool!
     
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  8. Tam_Tam

    Tam_Tam Light Load Member

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    And I heard a rumour Transforce just snapped up Continental Cartage. Sound like Manitoulin vs. Transforce for the entire continent of LTL freight.
     
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  9. Prairie Boy

    Prairie Boy Road Train Member

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    Rumours. Give you another, Continental want us to haul the OD loads. We've done it before.
     
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  10. nate980

    nate980 Road Train Member

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    The first season of ice road truckers! Tons of pioneer trucks in the background!
     
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  11. Tam_Tam

    Tam_Tam Light Load Member

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    Thank god. It's getting rather depressing having these large ones trying to squeeze everybody out everywhere. Grimshaw apparently has a big volume for YKE right now and has a former RTL manager as the new regional manager for the NWT. I would hope the northern customers would prefer to keep it as close to home as possible.
     
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