Michigan Logger Builds New Chip Fleet with Titan Trailers

With successful operations already running in excavation and logging, Jim Carey was in no hurry to add new chip trailers to the fleet for his growing biomass business. He took his time to decide where he could expect to get the best return on his latest investments.

“When we got into the chipping business four years ago, we bought reconditioned multi-axle trailers to get started. We had frames put on them but there was always some sort of issue. They had poor tires, bad brakes, the structure was poor – we had to weld on quite a bit of material!,” he says.

Over time, Mr. Carey spoke to several operators who run wood chip businesses in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He attended the logging conferences in the region each year, and always made a point of checking out the trailers on display. ”I asked three or four Titan owners and they told me they just never have problems. The Titans just work!,” he adds.

With his interest zeroing in on Titan, Mr. Carey contacted Dale Handrich, the owner of Handrich Trucking and a second-generation chip hauler in Mio, Michigan. As Jim Carey recalls, “Dale bought out a company that had a bunch of trailers in the late ‘90s, and he got a few Titans in there and had added some. He’s just Titan’s biggest advocate. You can talk to lots of people and they’ll brag up their equipment even if what they had was junk. But Dale’s the kind of man that, if he told me something, I’d believe it. Since he got those first units, he slowly switched over his whole fleet to Titan.” Now, with a fleet of 6 chip vans and 7 trucks, Mr. Carey is on the same track.

From logging to trucking
J. Carey Logging and Excavation has been part of the Michigan logging business for about 30 years. Jim Carey started out working with slashers, feller-bunchers and chainsaws and eventually got into cut-to-length contracts in the 1990s. By expanding his equipment fleet, he developed the business into a full-service operation that offers everything from woodlot management to roadbuilding. Finally, the chip business presented itself as an opportunity for him to make better use of his equipment.

The Carey chip trucks average about 130 km per haul. All of the trailers are fitted with moving floors, because his customers do not have tippers on their site. When he converted three old trailers to moving floors, Mr. Carey took the advice of his Titan dealer, Jeff Root at Hudsonville Trailer and chose KEITH® WALKING FLOOR® systems.

Investing in biomass futures
Now, Jim Carey sees biofuel as his greatest growth prospect. Recently, Carey Logging received a letter of intent for another mill contract calling for 45 000 t of biomass for its power plant. Carey has just commissioned a new Bandit 2680 grinder to produce the material, and he plans to upgrade an older grinder before long.

With a pair of brand new Titan trailers in his fleet, he sees several ways that the investment is paying him back. According to Jeff Root, the Titan trailers will pay off in the long term by outlasting traditional equipment, with less downtime and lower maintenance costs. Hudsonville Trailer also helped to accelerate the return on investment by arranging terms for financing that were more favorable than Mr. Carey’s bank could offer.

Jim Carey also notes that even small details in manufacturing and design turn into maintenance savings. The distinctive Titan trailers, with their end-to-end extruded aluminum panel construction, have been attracting attention everywhere Carey Logging goes.

Source: Titan Trailers

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