Growing attraction

James Jaillett | April 01, 2012

FLEET INSIDER/PROFILE

Fremont Contract Carriers has blossomed from a 35-truck fleet into a nationwide, award-winning food hauler

Fremont Contract Carriers Chief Operating Officer Tim McCormick isn’t sure exactly how the Fremont, Neb.-based company started in 1966, but in his time with the carrier — 18 years under current owner Mike Harry — he knows its more recent history quite well, and it’s a history defined by major expansion.

In the early 1990s, before Harry took over, McCormick says the fleet ran 35 tractors, all company-owned. And though they’ve added company-owned units since, most of the subsequent growth – they currently run about 300 tractors — has come by way of an independent contractor program set up directly after Harry took the reins.

Fremont also established a brokerage division dubbed FCC Transportation Services, which pulls in about $5 million to $6 million in revenue a year by itself.

In recent years, the company’s buttered its bread carrying dry van food grade products with its roughly 265 tractors and 800 trailers dedicated to that segment of its business. The company also runs a 35-truck flatbed division with 100 trailers.

McCormick says that 80 percent of FCC’s drivers live within a 100-mile radius of Fremont, setting up a good “around and out and back system,” he says.

“What we do is dispatch them outbound from here to the 48 states and Canada and then concentrate on the next load or next couple of loads to get them back to home base,” he says. “That affords for a lot of good, quality, consistent home time.”

It’s also helped springboard them to several Truckload Carriers Association awards in the past few years — Best Fleet to Drive For awards in 2009 and 2011 and a finalist spot in 2012.

Moreover, bringing drivers to headquarters regularly allows them to see the equipment regularly for servicing and inspection, McCormick says. “We have a full-service terminal in Fremont, and we like to get the equipment here as often as we can to prevent breakdowns and keep it in good repair,” he says.

That’s just one aspect of the company’s pride in well-running equipment, he adds. They have a rotation program that keeps new equipment circulating into their fleet and older equipment circulating out. “We keep our equipment young,” McCormick says. “The average age of our tractors is probably about a year and a half. Our average trailer age is around 4 to 5 years.”

Fremont buys all of its trucks new and keeps them about three to four years to keep them well under warranty and get them paid off more quickly.

“We don’t like to string our debt out,” he says. “We like to get the equipment purchased [and] get it paid off quickly. By the time they’re paid off, they have about 450,000 miles, and they’re still under factory warranty. At that point we trade them in on new, and any major [mechanical] items are taken care of under the warranty.”