Skagit Transportation leverages leasing to remain a top carrier
Like many successful trucking companies today, change and diversification are the driving force behind the success of Skagit Transportation, headquartered in Mount Vernon, Washington. The company was originally started by Bud and Dode Egbers in the 1940s, hauling grain and hay on their four trailers to local farmers. This turned into transporting bulk food and agricultural products throughout the Northwest and into British Columbia. With new ownership in the 1990s, the business continued to expand, winning more general freight contracts, including the carriage of dry, frozen and refrigerated cargo.
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Today, with 103 company trucks and additional capacity from owner-operators, the company is a fixture in the Northwest. He has been hauling cranberries for Ocean Spray for over 50 years. Skagit Transportation has also grown its agricultural transportation business with Cargill and Lamb Weston, while handling loads for Amazon and Serta Simmons. The company is also in the middle of a 10-year contract with a local municipality to transport biosolids.
“With each account, we found opportunities for growth,” said Dan Boffey, president of Skagit Transportation. “We strive to be every customer’s preferred carrier through on-time deliveries and excellent customer service. This effort has certainly paid off when we review our rankings with our customers. »
Over the years it has expanded its terminals to include hubs in Quincy, Seattle and more recently Pasco in eastern Washington. Historically, the company owned trucks, but in 2018 the company re-evaluated that decision and opened the door to full-service leasing. “Leasing gives us the ability to know and budget our costs, while keeping our expenses off the balance sheet,” Boffey said. “There are definitely benefits to leasing from an accounting standpoint.”
The company leases trucks from its local PacLease franchise. “And it was a great decision to increase our own fleet,” Boffey said. “We operate our PacLease units – a mix of Kenworth T680s and T880s – for our longer, higher mileage routes, while maintaining our own units in more local operations close to our terminals.”
T680s are primarily used to haul dry vans for Amazon on a Seattle-to-Spokane area haul line. Kenworth T880s are designed for intensive agricultural use. “In Washington and surrounding states, the weight limit is 105,000 pounds, so we’re one of the few trucking companies in our area that’s specifically configured for these heavy-duty hauls,” Boffey said. “It gives us an advantage to grow our loads.”
Since it specializes in more regional loads, most drivers go home every night, but 33 of their trucks are equipped with sleepers (mostly 52 inches) to handle longer multi-day routes that can go in Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. PacLease trucks average 120,000 miles per year and are powered by 15-liter Cummins engines, rated at 550hp and driven by 13-speed automated transmissions.
Since Skagit Transportation had three existing maintenance facilities, PacLease worked with Boffey and JR Abrams, Skagit Transportation’s VP of Operations, contracting out their certified technicians to work on the T680 and T880 on PM’s schedules. normal. Other maintenance or repair work is handled by PacLease sites. “It was a great solution, using our own facilities and trained technicians, and it helps with availability since PacLease trucks don’t have to leave our terminals,” Abrams said.
The Kenworth T680 and T880 have been well received by Skagit drivers. “They like the trucks and their comfort,” Abrams said. “They certainly help us with our driver retention efforts.”
Recently, two very special PacLease Kenworth W900Ls were delivered to Skagit Transportation. “These are our new flagship trucks to help us celebrate our 75th anniversary,” Abrams said. “They feature our original logo and look amazing. Our drivers were unfamiliar with the trucks so it was a big surprise when they arrived at our Mount Vernon and Quincy terminals.
The trucks feature 62 inches. flat-top berths and have the Kenworth Diamond interior package with leather seats, custom lighting and lots of chrome. “Two of our experienced drivers have the privilege of driving the trucks on roads through Washington, Oregon and Idaho. John Gilroy, who has driven for 31 years, and Lupe Olivares for 11, take great pride in their work and the equipment they use,” said Abrams. “Trucks are a great way to kick off our diamond anniversary.”
As Skagit Transportation continues to grow, Boffey said PacLease will grow with them: “It’s been a great relationship. We prioritize quality and are our customers’ preferred carrier. PacLease has the same philosophy.