- Created: Saturday, 14 January 2017 19:37
- Published: Saturday, 14 January 2017 19:37
- Written by Chris Behrens
There is a lot that goes into having your pellet fuel delivered right to your door step that goes unnoticed. We make it look easy when we show up. The forklift comes on the truck, the pallets are lifted off and smoothly driven up your driveway and maneuvered to their resting spot and off we go! What you don’t see is everything before and after that delivery. Getting to a residential location often has difficulties that are never realized by the customer.
The large percentage of pellet fuel is delivered using a full length truck and trailer reaching 70 feet in length. Shorter straight truck applications have advantages and disadvantages as do semi-trucks. To keep delivery costs and pellet prices low requires having more tons of fuel on a truck that equates to more stops with farther reaching distances that can be met. Using a semi truck, a full load of 18 tons of fuel can be accomplished versus a straight truck with the capacity of little more then 10 tons of fuel. The latter means more trips back to the distribution center when delivery distances are far away.
This concept is important to understand before ordering your fuel because maneuvering a semi truck involves a greater challenge for the driver to reach his destination. What are those challenges? There are dozens but the biggest obstacles are road width, particularly intersection width to actually make a turn down a road, bridge weight capable of handling a fully loaded vehicle of 40 tons (that’s 80,000 lbs in a truckers mind), low bridges, road width allowing another vehicle to pass and giving sufficient room to steer a forklift along side the trailer to snatch pallets off the truck and unusually steep road grades just to name a few. Weather conditions also come into play, namely snow covered roads. I stress to all my customers to purchase early before the bad weather hits. Once winter is in full swing all of the challenges I mentioned make it impossible once snow plows have piled snow at intersections, roads become slippery leaving few places to turn around or even get up your street. One would have to ride with a driver to appreciate the nerves of steel we have that makes it look so easy.
I personally have been in many dreadful situations trying to make a delivery because the customer is uneducated with the limitations set on our equipment. Before you place an order for direct delivery, investigate the road system leading to your home. Is the road wide enough, are there any bridges, am I on a hill, and is there a place to turn a semi-truck around or a direction for it to return to the main highway? Observing these simple logistical areas is extremely important because it means an uninterrupted delivery. There have been many times where I was forced to abort a delivery because it was impossible to navigate a narrow intersection or cross a weight restricted bridge. In the end that means a delay in getting your fuel and increased costs for your delivery that rip into our profit.
There are limitations with any business and transportation has the most from my point of view. So, before you order your fuel to be delivered make sure a truck can get there. We see semi-trucks going up and down the highway every day but ask yourself; can that behemoth get up my street?