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Challenger Motor Freight donates used trailers to charities

CAMBRIDGE, Ont. - Challenger Motor Freight CEO Dan Einwechter is sick of seeing his used trailers being placed in service by competitors. So one sleepless night, he had an idea: Why not donate the use...

CAMBRIDGE, Ont. –Challenger Motor Freight CEO Dan Einwechter is sick of seeing his used trailers being placed in service by competitors. So one sleepless night, he had an idea: Why not donate the used trailers to charity, contributing to the communities in which Challenger operates while also keeping the retired trailers -which were still in good condition -out of the hands of competitors?

Einwechter did just that in September, donating 90 used trailers to charity, 84 of which were presented to the Canadian Diabetes Association.

“I found that when I would sell a secondary-use trailer, we were also helping our competitors because they were buying my used trailers, which were better than they deserved to have, so why not give them to somebody who could use them?” Einwechter quipped during a hand-off ceremony at Challenger headquarters Sept. 17.

Einwechter says Challenger over-spec’s its new trailers, so even after 10-13 years of use they are still in good condition.

“When we bought them, we overspec’d them with stronger cross-members and lots of extra spec’s that extend the life of the equipment,” Einwechter said. “So, our trailers at 10 years old may be like somebody else’s that are seven (years old). They last a long time.”

Einwechter predicts the trailers would fetch about $5,000 each on the used equipment market, bringing the total value of the donation to about $450,000.

Romeo Callegaro, senior manager -logistics, business operations with the Canadian Diabetes Association, was extremely grateful for the donations. The organization will use the trailers to store clothing and household items collected through its Clothesline program. Those items are then sold, with proceeds going towards diabetes-related programs. Callegaro said the Clothesline program raised more than $33 million last year alone, which goes towards the pursuit of a cure for diabetes. The Canadian Diabetes Association has about 100 trucks across Canada dedicated to picking up donations. It then stores the product in trailers parked at its 28 locations across the country. Currently, the Canadian Diabetes Associate leases its trailers, which is obviously quite costly.

“These trailers will last forever and take a significant amount of costs out of their base, because right now they’re renting trailers every month,” Einwechter said.

“The association is very grateful for the opportunity that’s been given to us,” added Callegaro. “The association has been leasing trailers -that’s our storage system. It’s the least expensive way to store product across the country, so this is removing a huge expense for us. This is going to provide us with a great opportunity to continue our savings and contribute to the cause of trying to find a solution to diabetes.”

He pointed out that nine million Canadians suffer from diabetes or pre-diabetes conditions. For Challenger, this may mark the beginning of an ongoing relationship with the association and other charities. The company has already donated several trailers to local church groups and Einwechter sees no reason not to continue.

“If we look over the past 12 months, we have donated over 100,” he said. “I would suggest that even going forward, every year we may look at donating some to different organizations.”

It’s a win-win situation, he added. “We are always wondering about

finding a secondary home for our equipment and this satisfies our need to give back to the community and helps us refresh our fleet at the same time.”

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