VANCOUVER, B.C. - Starting Aug. 1, you won't be seeing Mini Tankers Canada trucks on the road anymore. That's because franchisees and corporate drivers will be riding down the road in trucks with 4Ref...
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Starting Aug. 1, you won’t be seeing Mini Tankers Canada trucks on the road anymore. That’s because franchisees and corporate drivers will be riding down the road in trucks with 4Refuel printed on the side instead.
The name change signals the expansion of the business, from an on-site diesel refueling service to much more, says founder and CEO Jack Lee.
“We have evolved from an on-site diesel refueling company to a true fuel management company,” he says.
“The 4REFUEL brand better describes our leadership as fuel managers.”
Mini-Tankers was established by Lee in Canada in 1995 as a franchised “on-site diesel refueling” service.
In the last 10 years, Mini-Tankers has grown, and has now delivered over 650 million litres of diesel to over 5,000 clients such as Coca-Cola, Dofasco, Hydro 1, and CN Rail.
Reduce fuel costs
The idea is to save clients labour and fuel costs by 1) refueling when the truck is in the yard so the driver doesn’t have to do it and subsequently get paid for the time he or she takes doing it; and 2) passing on fuel savings obtained through bulk buying to the customer.
“Basically our franchisee or our corporate truck will come to your business and calculate just how much you would save by getting us to refuel your trucks down to the penny,” explains Lee.
“When you look at the what you’re paying just to get your driver to refuel, it’s definitely worth it.”
The company operates mainly in urban areas, but does have franchisees in the Golden Horseshoe and down the lake to Cornwall, says Lee.
“Obviously long haulers will have to use cardlocks along the way,” he admits. “But for hauling in the areas we serve it definitely makes a difference.”
And 4Refuel is now capable of offering much more than just on site refueling, Lee says.
“Thanks to the technology developed in partnership with U-CON Systems, we can now offer online fuel management systems as well.”
For a few hundred dollars worth of hardware, 4Refuel trucks can download data from your engine telling you exactly how much fuel you or your driver are burning per kilometre.
“It’s better than the system that they have set up for cardlocks, where the driver punches in the number for the odometre, because it doesn’t require any driver input – the vehicle is identified by an RFID tag.”
The system can also be set up to send you online alerts (called “exception reporting”) if your vehicle isn’t being driven properly, says Lee.
“For example, you may decide you have such and such a limit on idling time, speed or braking, and we could set up the system that would crunch the fuel consumption data to alert you if that limit had been surpassed.”
The system provides back office savings, says Lee.
“This way you don’t have to hire someone to constantly watch the truck via GPS,” he says.
Expanding to UK
Lee already has plans to expand licensing to the UK.
And he’s poised to take advantage of the growing use of biodiesel as well.
His company would even go so far as to find a way of creating the required blend of diesel and biodiesel if a blending operation is not set up in Canada, he says.
“We could pick up the biodiesel and then go and add the diesel ourselves,” he says.
“It’s not something we particularly want to do but if no one else does it we will.”
There are currently 50 franchisees and 15 corporate delivery services across Canada, says Lee.
“What we’ll do is develop an area into a viable business first and then sell the franchise.”