WHAT’S UP WITH THE FIFTH WHEELS? AND IS THERE AN IRVING CONNECTION?
January 21, 2014
Changes are afoot at the Fifth Wheel truck stops in Ontario. The Dorchester location was shuttered at the end of 2013 and the Cornwall Fifth Wheel saw its restaurant and motel closed, while fuelling services there remain available. The rumour I...
Changes are afoot at the Fifth Wheel truck stops in Ontario. The Dorchester location was shuttered at the end of 2013 and the Cornwall Fifth Wheel saw its restaurant and motel closed, while fuelling services there remain available. The rumour I heard was that Irving has taken over the chain and indeed, if you go to the Irving Web site, the Fifth Wheels are listed among their locations. But is this evidence of a recent development, or simply a longstanding, if not well known, fuel supply agreement? Tipped off that the Irvings were making a move into Ontario under the guise of the Fifth Wheel locations, I contacted Irving’s PR rep to find out the nature of their relationship with the Fifth Wheel. It could be a dead end, or it could be an interesting development, I figured, with the Eastern fuel conglomerate making a push further west.
I also wondered what changes customers could expect at these locations and whether Irving might be considering offering LNG at these sites in a bid to make the fuel accessible along the well-travelled 401 corridor. It may seem like a reach, but consider this comment from Irving’s Bill Howell I reported from the APTA convention in 2012: “We are looking at developing an LNG corridor from Halifax to Montreal, and potentially further into Quebec and Ontario. We see this as a critical cog in making this whole thing work. Many people in the industry talk about the chicken and egg dilemma. We’re willing to go out and begin developing infrastructure so that fleets can use (natural gas).” When I dug up that quote, I thought maybe my crazy speculation wasn’t so crazy after all and that it was worth looking into.
And so I reached out to Irving’s PR rep thinking there could be an interesting story here – a positive story for industry and certainly for Irving. But Irving’s PR rep – if she exists – proved uninterested in entertaining my questions, or for that matter even acknowledging her receipt of them. E-mails, calls…nothing. A receptionist assured me she did exist and was in the office, but “probably really busy.” My persistent inquiries ranged from a detailed list of questions to, at the very least, a plea for a confirmation she’d received my requests. Again, nothing.
This PR rep was about as helpful in providing information to me as, I don’t know, an oil rig would have been. Then again, if I posed my questions to an oil rig, I would at least have received a steady nod in return; some type of acknowledgment, if not a very useful one. Irving should consider replacing its PR rep with an oil rig. Having hit a dead end, I’ll turn it over to you folks. What do you know about the Irving-Fifth Wheel connection? Is there any fire underneath this thin string of smoke?
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