2012 is the third year that Jack Kelly has been chosen to be among the top 50 CEOs by Atlantic Business Magazine and among three chosen from PEI this year. Jack is CEO of Bulk Carriers, located at the corner of the Bannockburn/Baltic Roads and Trans Canada Highway in Clyde River.
Bulk Carriers is a family operation started by Jack and his wife Carlotta. In the early days, a motor carriers license had to be issued by Public Utilities Commission for a carrier to transport any commodity. Jack received a license, the same as the one previously held by his father, which allowed his company to transport petroleum products on behalf of Gulf Canada Ltd.
With one company truck and a tanker trailer owned by Gulf, Jack transported petroleum products throughout PEI. Within a few years, they expanded their operations to include transportation services to most of the major oil companies. They also included transportation of bunker fuel and asphalt cement.
One of the memorable projects was transport of asphalt cement from Montreal to Borden, PEI. The shipment was for the new Confederation Bridge, and the special nature of product made it necessary to maintain minimum commodity temperature of 250 degrees in the middle of winter. Their success in this endeavour led to many other contracts through Atlantic Canada.
In the 1990s, Bulk Carriers realized they had to change their business direction. The asphalt business was seasonal, dependent on weather and reactive to demand for equipment. The tanker business became unprofitable because of regulatory changes and industry consolidation.
Bulk Carriers transitioned into hauling produce and food products up and down the Atlantic seaboard and across Canada. Shipments include food products, vegetables, fruit, and fresh and frozen fish.
The company now owns 60 new and late-model trucks and 75 refrigerated trailers and use the latest technology for maintaining every aspect of its trucking operations, dispatch, GPS tracking, fuel consumption and temperature monitoring. They have utilized GPS tracking since the year 2000, so dispatchers can always tell exactly where their shipment is and when it will arrive. The tracking system is integrated into both the accounting system and the truck’s power unit. Recently, they have installed scanners in every truck cab, so drivers can submit their records, receipts, and customers can sign off as a delivery is made. Jack’s son, Tyson Kelly, is their V.P. Logistics. Jack’s other son, Blaine is V.P. Fleet Maintenance.
V.P. Finance Carl Chapman says, “The scanners help the support staff meet their goals of invoicing for a run within 48 hours of the delivery.” This gives them confidence that they have all the information that the customer requires, especially about additional charges and that drivers get everything they are entitled to in their pay package.
Jack Kelly says, “We manage our operations to be very efficient with the equipment we buy and how we use it. We tweak highway speeds. We have auxiliary power units that allow the driver to turn the rig off at a truck stop and still heat or cool the cab which reduces idling costs. We train our drivers and pay them premium for reaching our goals for ideal consumption levels.” Keeping their costs under control prevents rate increases for customers.
Jack’s business philosophy is one he learned from his grandfather and that was to treat people the way you would like to be treated. “Customer service is our top priority,” says Jack. “I have been influenced over my career in meeting the challenges from our customers to provide the best service possible to exceed their expectations.”
Bulk Carriers now employs more than 70 people. Carlotta just retired. Jack’s two sons will carry on the family business into the next era. The team has a clear focus on finding ways to improve operations and utilize technology which will continue to move the company forward.
Congratulations to Jack on this award for recognition of his leadership, hard work and dedication to his company. For more information on Bulk Carriers, visit www.bulkcarrierspei.com