Calgary

Trucking industry feeling the pinch of low oil

Despite oil hovering around $50 per barrel, many drivers and company owners in Alberta's trucking industry don't expect to see a turnaround in oil patch related business just yet.

Oil related work has dried up, forcing companies to diversify and drivers to scramble for work

Ron Miller, the owner of Bob Miller Trucking, said he's had to diversify during the downturn. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Despite oil hovering around $50 per barrel, many drivers and company owners in Alberta's trucking industry don't expect to see a turnaround in oil patch related business just yet.

Ron Miller, the owner of Bob Miller Trucking, said he's had to diversify. 

"Five trucks out today. Two are doing swimming pools. One's hauling grain and one was working in the oil patch," he said. 

His company has been involved in the oil patch since it first started hauling water to seismic rigs in 1949. Miller said he's had to lay off some drivers and park some equipment in order to cut costs. 

He said he's hopeful there will be "a lot more activity," but only after oil breaches the $60 mark.

'Very limited work in Alberta'

At a highway truckstop, veteran oil industry driver Darcy Studds said some transport companies are downsizing, wages are dropping, and competition for jobs is heating up as they continue to wait for any kind of rebound.

"There's very limited work in Alberta," he said. "I had to go out to B.C. to get a job."

Miller said his company will adapt and survive like in previous downturns, but adds Alberta's planned carbon tax on diesel fuel won't help.

"It's just another hit that takes off your bottom line, right?"

now