OTTAWA, Ont. -- Giant Tiger has made a sizeable investment in snow removal equipment at its Ottawa-area distribution centre for its private fleet trucks and third-party carriers.
The company has invested in the Yeti snow removal system, which removes snow and ice from tractor-trailers using two augers, a sweeper and a snow blower all cleverly packaged into one system. The Yeti may be the only snow removal system that effectively removes ice and Bill Cherry, transportation specialist with Giant Tiger, says the snow blower prevents snow and ice from building up at the base of the machine.
"We're pretty happy with it," Cherry told Trucknews.com. "The drivers go through and it takes a bout three minutes. It blows the snow away from where it is, so we don't have to worry about plowing the snow when a bunch of trucks go through."
The system was purchased this winter and cost about $80,000 when all was said and done. Snow and ice accumulation has been a big problem at Giant Tiger. The trailers often sit adjacent to the warehouse overnight and the wind blows the snow from on top of the building onto the trailers. Cherry said it wasn't uncommon for two- to three-foot snow banks to collect on trailer roofs. Because the trucks hop right onto Hwy. 417, most of it would still be there when the trucks entered the highway.
While drivers did their best to clear their equipment of snow and ice, Cherry admitted it wasn't always possible to do a proper job.
"You get a night like we had the other night where it's cold and snowing and drivers are out there at two in the morning, what kind of job are they going to do?" he reasoned. "This is very driver-friendly."
About 50-60 loads are hauled out of Giant Tiger's distribution centre every day for delivery to roughly 200 retail stores across the country. Cherry said he explored other options for snow removal, including outsourcing it or paying drivers to clear their own equipment using a scraper and scaffolding type setup.
"(The Yeti) was a big investment, but by the time you pay a driver to do that and then you have four to five drivers waiting to do their trucks, it's not going to take long to get your investment back," he says of the alternative. Cherry is expecting a return on investment in two years.
"It's only going to take a couple of years to get a payback or one lawsuit avoided from ice going through somebody's windshield and we've got it paid for."
So far, the Yeti has been pretty much problem-free, he says.
"It seems to be very well made. We had one issue where a sensor came loose the second day we had it, but they knew exactly what was wrong and we fixed it over the phone. It's well made, there's nothing flimsy or cheap on it," Cherry says.