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Keeping Western Canada’s Transportation Hub Rolling for 40 Years


By Mark Kandborg

entral Carriers is an incredibly important cog in the machine of Western Canada’s expansive transportation industry. “A depot like this creates a ton of efficiency,” says terminal manager Rendel Elock. Surprisingly, outside of this city you’ll be hard pressed to find another like it. Perhaps more surprising is the fact that Edmonton has two. “It must have something to do with our get ‘er done attitude.” Forty years ago this month, that Edmonton get ‘er done attitude was put in motion in a big way. That’s when eight enterprising trucking company owners pooled their money, bought some land and built Central Carriers’ first, modest building. They also hired a forward-looking manager by the name of Jim Brodie. “Jim was the guy who pioneered the whole model, who got it going solid and also managed the company’s growth. A large part of Central Carriers success is due to Jim’s fortitude,” says Rendel. The idea was simple enough: create a single, central depot where trucks could unload their cargo, have it moved to the appropriate bays, so that items expected in Fort McMurray, for example, would be loaded into the truck of a carrier servicing that destination, while other items would be loaded into a truck bound for High Prairie. Think of it like the centrally located Denver airport. Planes

bring travellers bound for points across the map to that hub in a seemingly endless stream. If you’re lucky enough to be one of those travellers, you deplane, transfer to another aircraft (a Lufthansa flight to Berlin, for example) and you’re on your way. You may have to wait a bit, you may have to hurry, but if the people running the system have done their jobs, the planes will be full when they arrive, they’ll be full when they leave, and you’ll be drinking beer out of a stein in a pair of lederhosen in no time. The experienced and well-trained personnel at Central Carriers have the ebb and flow of their hub down to a science; with maybe a little bit of art. “The trucks that come out of here move anywhere from one-and-a-half to two-million pounds a day. That’s 163,000 pounds per door, and we have 92 doors. That’s a lot of freight,” Elock says. “The people who work here are dedicated to the industry. They realize that you’re only as good as your last performance. If we don’t do a good job, we may not have that carrier tomorrow. Everyone here knows that. No one has to crack a whip. They know it.” Elock gives a little more detail on how Central Carriers takes complicated and turns it into efficient. “We have our own drivers attached to the depot who set up in small zones within the city of Edmonton. It’s their responsibility to know all the ship-



Terminal Manager Rendel Elock

Rick Muir

pers and all the receivers within their zone so they can maximize their output. These workers are not paid by the hour, they’re paid by the pound, so they want to hustle and get the freight on their truck as quickly as they can and get off to the next pick up and get it done. The driver leaves here in the morning, goes out and does a series of deliveries, has lunch, turns around and starts doing a series of pick ups, then returns here at night with a full truck.” The truck is unloaded and the freight is taken down to the doors dedicated to individual carriers. “They pay us to do this service for them, but as opposed to paying a city driver by the hour, the carrier pays us by the pound. So for them it’s a great way to control costs, because as freight volumes go up, our costs go up. When freight volumes go down, our costs go down and so do those of the carrier.” Elock likes to stress the symbiotic relationship that exists between the carriers, the lease operators (drivers) and the depot itself, which ultimately makes the whole thing work. “If the amount of freight was to drop off too much and the driv-

er couldn’t make a living doing it, then of course the driver wouldn’t stick around. That’s why it’s really important that the carriers support our position in this and give us enough freight so that the drivers that are working here can continue to make livings for themselves and for their families and in turn continue to support the carriers.” As is the case with any well-designed, well-oiled and well-executed system, everybody does their part – and everybody wins. “Shippers in Edmonton have loyalties to local drivers, who then have allegiance to the carriers that work at their facility. We’re really in place because we’re supported by the carriers that work out of our facility. If I had to champion people I’d champion our employees, our city drivers and, of course, our carriers.” You’d be hard pressed to find anyone more passionate about the importance of a hub like Central Carriers or the transportation system as a whole than Elock. “When you look at how freight moves regionally, the depot is a keystone operation. That’s because almost all points in Western Canada can be ser-


Left to right: Gerry Keller – Stony Plain Transfer; Edgar Klak – Leduc Truck Service; Michael Zarhacko – Highway 28 Freightways; Melvin Hickey – Leduc Truck Service; Philip Topilika – Whitecourt Transport; Dave Lupshinski – Landing Transport; Ken McDermott – McDermott Transport; Rod Kornberger – Stony Plain Transfer. Missing: Victor Ringuette – B&R Eckels Transport; William Dowhaniuk – Vegreville Transfer.

viced directly and overnight out of Edmonton,” he says. “Calgary says they’re the geographical centre of Western Canada. They’re not. It’s actually Edmonton. Why our city doesn’t promote this harder, I don’t know.” To better illustrate his assertion, Elock pulls out a map and points to the southern half of the province. “Calgary can hit all those places overnight. Edmonton can hit all those places overnight, too.” He then turns his attention to the northern quadrant. “For Calgary to drive all the way to High Level? Prince George? Fort Nelson? Impossible. But Edmonton can do it. Obviously, it’s the same with the territories. What it comes down to is that Calgary is trying to become that economic centre, but they can’t hit the service points that Edmonton does with next day service. So this city will continue to be the geographical centre of the transportation sector in Western Canada, but it also has to be the hub. Calgary doesn’t even have a depot system. We have two of them.”

The way Elock sees it, securing what he considers to be Edmonton’s rightful place as Western Canada’s transportation hub is an important issue for everyone. “Thirty four of our doors service B & R, who run to the northeast part of the province. Mustang, who has the next largest number of doors, services Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and all of British Columbia. Ridsdale Transport services all of Saskatchewan. These are carriers that are travelling regionally and long distances who see a tremendous value in our services because it’s one collection point. If they had to run around the city, they’d lose their efficiency and transportation rates would go up significantly. People need to get their goods. If they cost more, the economy’s going to slow down. When economists are doing their forecasting, typically they’re looking at the transportation sector,” he says. “The amount of full loads that are moving on the highway are an indicator of how much consumers are spending.”



Clearly, Rendel Elock loves what he does, as do the men and women who round out the dedicated and experienced team that is Central Carriers. Together, they’re proud to keep those trucks moving, that freight transferred efficiently and they’re especially proud to play an important role in keeping our economy rolling. We congratulate the owners and employees of Central Carriers on 40 years of excellence.


Congrats to Central Carriers! Here’s to another great 40 years!

13008 163 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5V 1L6 (780) 447-1610 •

21-10405 Jasper Ave NW #713 • bsicleaningser

Congratulations Central Carriers on 40 years!

Happy Anniversary!

Proud partner with Central Carriers for over 40 years!

201-17812 105 Avenue 780.444.2472 •

3710 - 33 Street Whitecourt, Alberta T7S 0A2 Tel: (780) 778-2226 • Fax: (780) 778-2502

Congratulations Central Carriers on 40 years! “At Right Way Freightways, we believe that service and pricing are key to a successful business. We have built our business on making your business successful.”

We wish you many years of continued success!

Congratulations Central Carriers on 40 years!

Ph: 780.444.4118 • TF: 1.866.703.4730 •


Fre i g h t d e l i ve r y t o a n y a n d a l l p o i n t s i n Ca n a d a a n d t h e U. S . A .

Full Loads | Part Loads | Pallets | Cartons | Envelopes

Congratulations Central Carriers on your 40th Anniversary! Daily Freight delivery to Sedgewick, Hardisty, Provost, AB. Macklin, Coleville, Kerrobert and Kindersley, SK and Surrounding areas. Our Edmonton Depot is at Central Carriers - (780) 447-1610. Our depot in Grande Cache services Edson, Hinton and Grande Cache. For pick ups please call 1-800-639-6768. 5323 - 50th Avenue, Provost General Freight and Oilfield/Location/Delivery Hi-Boy Service & Picker Trucks For information contact the Provost, AB office (780)753-2299 or email:

Congrats Central Carriers! FOR 40 YEARS OF DEDICATED SERVICE. SERVING SPRUCE GROVE, STONY PLAIN & AREA 16410 - 130 Avenue Edmonton, AB T5V 1I8 • 780.447.225



780.674.6631 780.349.6890

General Freight Van, Deck-Express Truck Serving Westlock, Barrhead & Area

121, 625 Parsons Road SW Edmonton, AB | T6X 0N9 (800) 267-1003 • Fax (403) 243-4610 •


Congratulations Central Carriers on your 40th Anniversary! P.O. Box 248 La Crete, Alberta T0H 2H0 Ph: 780-928-3989 • 1-800-422-9203 • Fax: 780-928-3680 •


Congratulations to Central Carriers on 40 great years! Full Service Transportation Company Serving: COLD LAKE: 780-594-3003 EDMONTON: 780-447-5847 CALGARY: 403-640-6200 REDWATER: 780-942-3087 VERMILLION: 780-853-5368 LLOYMINSTER OILFIELD: 306-825-4904 LLOYDMINSTER FREIGHT: 306-825-3574 ELKPOINT OILFIELD: 780-724-4067 WAINWRIGHT: 780-842-4010 ST. PAUL - ELKPOINT: 780-645-2944 RED DEER: 403-347-4242 ROCKY MTN. HOUSE: 403-845-3616 BOYLE: 780-689-3614 ATHABASCA: 780-689-3614 CONKLIN: 780-689-3614 LAC LA BICHE: 780-689-3614 Rig Moving Heavy Equipment Picker Trucks 12-50 Ton Pipe Yards Dry Bulk Hauling Tank Moving Pilot Car Service Hot Shot Service Daily Freight Service

“Committed to Service” P.O. Box 6249 Bonnyville, AB Telephone: 1-800-661-3290 Fax: 1-780-826-4301 24 HOUR Service: 780-826-3889 E-mail:

Central Carriers - 40 Years