Gorski Bulk Transport: Rolling with the times

by Sonia Straface

hough Gorski Bulk Transport has been in the game for almost 60 years, it’s not an old dog that can’t learn new tricks. Or in trucking terms, it’s not a transport business that shakes it head at change and innovative or unknown, new technologies.

Gorski Bulk was launched in 1957 by Ted Gorski Sr. His son, Ted Gorski Jr. recalls being told that the business was first based out of the backyard of their home in Harrow, Ont. Gorski Sr. had the trailer and his neighbor had the tractor.

Then, a customer who needed immediate transportation services put everything in place.

“My father was able to provide service and the customer was delighted with the service they received and eventually tank trucks replaced what the customer was receiving by rail,” Gorski Jr. said. “And that was the start of our business.”

Today, Gorski Jr. is the second generation to run the business. He is the current president and his brother, Bernard, is vice-president. Together, Gorski Jr. says, they make a great team and are working on passing the business along to the third generation – both his and Bernard’s children.

Gorski Bulk has roughly 78 power units, 175 tank trailers and 75 drivers and owner-operators. It hauls in Canada, the US and Mexico and mainly, it specializes in transporting liquid bulk, though it does have dry bulk operations.

Its success so far is credited to unrivaled customer service, according to Gorski Jr.

“We’re in the business of providing reliable, dependable, repeatable service,” he said. “So when a customer places an order with our company, they know they are able to get that service each and every time. Which means on-time pick-up, on-time delivery, error-free throughout the entire transportation process. We always make sure it’s delivered, as they want it. We make sure it’s the customers who set the standard they require and we help them achieve that.”

Gorski Jr. said that 80% of the operations his business does today is repeat business and half of its customer base has stuck around for more than a decade.
“We still have our original customers from 59 years ago,” he added.

Gorski said his company isn’t afraid of change – in fact, he says he welcomes it, especially when the change is technologically innovative.

The company adopted electronic logging devices (ELDs) in November 2010, early by anyone’s standards in the industry, and despite the initial pushback it received from drivers (Gorski Jr. said everyone at Gorski Bulk has a voice and is heard) today it is one of the things that is keeping its drivers around.

“My brother Bernard decided that we should embrace the e-log technology and it was at the time, to a certain extent, unknown territory. We had heard all about the wonderful things that e-logs could provide, so we embraced it,” he said. “We found that it was part of a culture shift because the old ways of operating with paper logs were gone. The e-logs were a great way to solve the challenges we were facing. Some of our drivers say that with the e-logs they generate two to three additional weeks of revenue a year for them because they aren’t wasting time completing paper logs. Plus, it makes the inspectors at the scale happy.”

After such success with e-logs, Gorski Jr. said the company made a conscious choice to continue to embrace technology. Aside from ELDs, the company’s tractors all have automated transmissions, they traded in drum brakes for disc brakes, and it’s in the process of installing the video intelligence system from PeopleNet.

“We’re always looking at ways we can use technology­ – whether its aftermarket or OEM ­– to enhance the work experience our drivers have and the reliability of our equipment,” Gorski Jr. said. “The fun part is every move we’ve made, every choice that we’ve made, has improved the level of service and safety in our company and that translates to our customers and it translates to our drivers because they are happy to work for us.”

Of course this success and dedication to service couldn’t be accomplished without the support and effort of the entire team at Gorski Bulk. Gorski Jr. said everyone – its administrative staff, its drivers and its management team – comprise a well-oiled machine that works well together to get the job done.

Gorski Bulk’s challenges aren’t different from other trucking companies in North America; it too is in a battle with the driver shortage and finds recruiting new drivers difficult.

“Being able to recruit the drivers and owner-operators that we need to grow our operation is our biggest challenge today,” Gorski Jr. said. “Because our focus is to recruit the best.”

He said the company is currently looking at a variety of options to recruit new blood to the company, like advertisements, word-of-mouth by drivers at truck stops, and revamping its website to focus on career opportunities.

“Right now, we are finding out what works and how we can reach out. And I think our best bet is to turn to our drivers and ask them what we can do,” Gorski Jr. said. “We need to ask our drivers what would attract them to Gorski, what they like about working here and then figuring out how we translate that to the public.”

Plus, he said, trucking needs to fix its image problem by rising up and supporting its drivers through recognition and safety awards.

Despite the challenge of recruiting new hires, Gorski Jr. said he is excited for the future and what’s to come in the transportation industry.

“Transportation is an exciting industry,” he said. “It’s something I’m never tired of. It’s something my parents were excited about. It’s got a tremendous future and it’s a great industry for anybody that is willing to make a career in it. I’ve never felt like I’ve had to work. It’s never felt like a job. It’s a great career and I hope everyone at Gorski has the same experience I have.”

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  • Dear Ted and Cathy:
    Loetta and I were driving on Sunday to be with our family members for a baby shower celebration. Above Toronto we were following one of your tanker trucks. The truck number on the back was 3065. The driver was excellent and drove smoothly in heavy traffic. WE thought of you folk as we drove along. Trusting that all is well. Andy and Loetta