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Contracted life is good

THEDFORD, Ont. - For owner/operator Robert Stubbs, his career is ticking along as smoothly as his 2000 Volvo 660."I get a good rate from my company, Marietta Transfer Terminal, and I get all of the mi...


Robert Stubbs
Robert Stubbs

THEDFORD, Ont. – For owner/operator Robert Stubbs, his career is ticking along as smoothly as his 2000 Volvo 660.

“I get a good rate from my company, Marietta Transfer Terminal, and I get all of the miles I want,” he explains. “I run about 2,500 miles per week, I’m good with that – it’s comfortable.”

Stubbs says his career has spanned 36 years, 25 of which he spent running as a true independent. Unfortunately changing technology killed his freight and eventually forced him back to contracting his services to a larger operation.

“I used to haul clay rain tiles, ash hockey stick lumber and furniture lumber,” he explains. “Clay turned into plastic, ash turned into laminated wood and plastic and before I knew it all I was left with was the furniture part and there were too many people doing that to make very good money at it.”

While he enjoyed the independence, all things considered he’s happy doing what he’s doing nowadays. And ‘doing what he’s doing’ boils down to hauling loads of ‘carbon black’ to be used in rubber production.

“Traffic is bad, there aren’t enough roads – especially around Toronto,” says Stubbs. “Not much else gets to me out here.”

He says he hears lots of complaints from fellow drivers, but a lot of their problems are self-made he insists. Even making his regular trip to Chicago across the border isn’t aggravating.

“When you get to the border, tell them what they want to know,” says the veteran owner/op. “You can’t get smart with them when they ask what you’re hauling and say something like, ‘Sailboat fuel,’ for example.”

He’d like to see more automated clearance systems employed by U.S. Customs and Immigration like their Canadian counterparts do.

“It can make a 20- to 30-minute difference when you’re crossing,” says Stubbs. “Coming this way they always seem to have more booths open – usually four instead of just two or three heading into the U.S.”

Costs are always on the mind of a responsible O/O, and Stubbs is no exception.

“Tire costs are up, fuel was high, but it’s on its way down for the time being at least,” he says. “We get a fuel surcharge, it’s good; but let’s face it, a guy could always use a little more.” –


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