In six years, Parish Leasing has carved out a niche transporting transformers and other oversize loads
Successful businesses take advantage of opportunities. When manufacturer Howard Industries needed help transporting mammoth electrical transformers and other power equipment, Eric Parish stepped right in. Parish’s family had been in the salvage and used auto parts business in Ellisville, Miss., and he knew they probably had trucks and trailers that could do the job.
In six years, Parish Leasing’s fleet has grown to 23 heavy-duty tractors and a collection of deck trailers, specializing in heavy hauls. “I never dreamed we’d be in the heavy-haul business the way we are,” Parish says.
The company hauls transformers, boilers and other power equipment to utilities in the United States and Canada. Parish rigs frequently run to the West Coast and return with California-grown onions or pistachio nuts.
This past summer, the company’s tractor-trailers hauled wind turbines weighing 160,000 pounds per load. The company also has transported concrete houses that can withstand Category 5 hurricanes from Florida to Mississippi. “We do mostly heavy hauls, but we’ll haul most everything,” Parish says.
“I never dreamed we’d be in the heavy-haul business the way we are.”
— Eric Parish
Heavy haul often requires significant planning. Parish and his crew have to arrange permits, research routes and oversee logistical concerns like particularly tight turns and short overpasses. Planning a haul can take from a few days to several weeks. “There are always variables that make it difficult,” he says, “particularly for loads that are real tall, like 18-foot-6-inch boilers that were going to the University of Illinois.”
While the competition is tough in heavy haul, few challengers step up to over-height loads like the Illinois boilers. Parish says his company has the equipment, such as step decks and removable gooseneck lowboys. “We have decks that ride 12 inches from the ground to the top of the deck,” he says.
The power business appears to be booming. After working through 2009, which delivered less business than the year before, Parish says 2010 produced 50 percent more business.
Parish says the key to transporting heavy loads is running the proper equipment. Delivering the goods in heavy haul begins with a specialized truck spec’d for hard work. Parish depends on Western Star 4900 EX and SA models outfitted with Detroit DD15 engines with the most horsepower he can order. “You need engine horsepower, torque and rear-end ratios for pulling. I’ve found I can spec these trucks to the job I want to do,” he says. He adds that the most important heavy-haul factor is spec’ing the right axle spacing — both for the truck and trailer — followed by having the right rear-end ratios and suspensions.
“They balance out real well,” he says. “I can get the weight where I need it. They pull my 13 axles real good. It might be overkill the way I spec them, but they do the job.”
Parish took delivery of five 2010 models early last year. “The drivers like the roomy cabs and the comfortable rides, even on long hauls,” Parish says.
Truck mileage ranges from 3 mpg for the heaviest loads to 5.5 for over-the-road hauls, Parish says. Annual mileage varies from 75,000 to 120,000 miles per unit.
Parish relies on 24 company drivers to transport the loads. Most of the drivers earn a percentage of the load revenue, Parish says.