Northern Resource Trucking (NRT) is no stranger to economic upheaval. The company was primarily developed with the purpose of servicing the growing uranium industry in northern Saskatchewan, but the close ties NRT has with this single resource sector has been both a blessing and a curse. With global uranium prices reaching record lows in recent years, mine closures, shut downs, and layoffs were inevitable. In the past five years, NRT has been forced to look beyond its biggest customer and to diversify its fleet. So, when 2020 came along, and with it the COVID-19 crisis, NRT was well placed to make the most of a bad situation. In fact, while other companies struggle to make ends meet, NRT is busy planting seeds and harvesting new opportunities in the ever-changing economic landscape.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that businesses need to be flexible. Since it’s inception, NRT has made a name for itself for its unique business model; the company is a partnership with Saskatchewan First Nations and was the first of its kind in Canada. Not only has this business model set NRT apart from its competitors, but its partnership keeps business in northern communities, creates jobs for those who want to stay in the north, and provides investment opportunities that keep money in those communities. Now, this same business model is drawing attention from companies in Manitoba and Ontario, and NRT is growing its operations across the country.
Northern Resource Trucking has expanded steadily in the past 34 years. Now it serves Cameco and Orano, SSR Mining’s Seabee gold mine with their ice road, Federated Co-op for fuel and propane, and New Gold in Ontario, among others. NRT has also combined forces with the First Nations Mining Economic Development (FNMED) Inc. to create Piwapisk Hauling Limited Partnership in Manitoba, and with Big Grassy River First Nation to create Big Grassy Logistics in northwestern Ontario, where NRT’s unique business model is being mirrored in partnerships with First Nations in Manitoba and Ontario that are well positioned to take on the needs of burgeoning resource development east of the Saskatchewan border.
One of the things that NRT has had to do in order to take on new projects and attract new customers is to diversify its services. The uranium mines in northern Saskatchewan require some very specialized equipment and training, and NRT has discovered that the unique skillset of its drivers is quite versatile in other markets. Northern Resource Trucking has a fleet of 100 trucks and 235 trailers, including dry vans, refrigerated vans, flat decks, drop decks, fuel trailers, pneumatic bulkers, coded chemical trailers, pressure vessels, fiberglass tanker trailers (for bleach-type products), molten sulphur and equipment trailers with jeeps and boosters. This, combined with the experience of the company’s drivers with rough roads, poor road conditions, and specialized over-dimensional work, means no job is too complicated.
Northern Resource Trucking is so invested in growing versatility that it has opened a new Winnipeg branch, which is developing business in Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. Where five years ago the uranium industry made up 95 per cent of Northern Resource Trucking’s revenue, today it is down to 59 per cent as NRT continues to expand and diversify. NRT looks forward to growing with other businesses looking to provide supplies and equipment to resource development projects in the north and across Canada. NRT’s one-of-a-kind experience and expertise in northern transportation and First Nations partnerships will provide an edge over the competition. It might be winter, but NRT is still sowing seeds, growing versatility, and harvesting opportunities across Canada.