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PGT welcomes growing need for steel pipe

Keywords: Tags  PGT Trucking, steel pipe hauling, drilling, equipment investment, natural gas, John Terrill, Corinna Petry

CHICAGO — PGT Trucking Inc. is finding opportunities in booming energy plays around North America as companies require more steel pipe—and someone to bring it to them.

The Monaca, Pa.-based company specializes in hauling steel, aluminum, building products, and oil and gas supplies, employing more than 1,100 tractor-trailers and 800 full-time drivers.

"Steel products are our primary cargo at about 75 percent of loads, followed by building materials at 15 percent, aluminum at 5 percent, and oil and gas at about 5 percent," a company spokesman told AMM.

"The metals business is like the ocean: The waves rise and fall intermittently. Our business closely follows the activity of the metals business," said John Terrill, PGT vice president of eastern operations. "When raw steel production is up, so is our business."

PGT has seen more sustained growth in moving pipe to energy extraction sites. "As new wells are drilled, pipe is needed and we haul it to the sites. We now are hauling to new areas, such as the Dakotas, and have increased our presence in Houston. This increased business has also caused us to hire more drivers specifically focused on pipe hauling," he said.

The company bought 150 new trucks and 50 new trailers last year in a $22-million upgrade—its first major equipment investment since 2009—that has helped improve reliability, reduce maintenance costs, increase fuel efficiency and lower emissions.

As the shale gas industry continues to grow, there are many opportunities for trucking companies, Terrill said. "All the equipment that needs to get to the job sites must be hauled by truck."

PGT sees the construction industry growing again, too. "Building materials are in demand and are forecast to grow over the next several years," he said.

"We also see technology enabling top carriers to increase efficiencies and safety. Natural gas is a huge opportunity for powering fleets within the next few years," Terrill said. "Improved, cost-efficient conversion kits and increased fueling stations will only help with this."

PGT has 27 terminals across the United States, and partners with carriers in Canada and Mexico. The hauler’s most popular destinations in terms of load frequency are Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, as well as areas in Texas and Georgia.

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