The slowdown of the uranium market over the past couple of years has become the new normal for Dave McIlmoyl at Northern Resource Trucking (NRT).
With a continuing depression in the Uranium Industry, McIlmoyl and his team have been searching for new ways to generate revenue for NRT.
“Our revenue is down 25 per cent year over year. That tells you something,” says McIlmoyl, matter-of-factly.
Just like last year, NRT has been beating the bushes to find new work. However, this year, they have expanded their sights into Manitoba and northern Ontario to offer their trucking services. “We’re making headway into new markets. We’re getting a fair bit of work out there right now.”
For instance, NRT has landed contracts with Federated Co-op to supply their propane to sites in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Getting that contract is substantial as FCL has their fingers in many markets across Western Canada. “We are also bidding on contract work for them as far east as Dryden, Ont., and as far west as Maple Creek in Saskatchewan,” says McIlmoyl.
He is hoping to leverage some new business through First Nations partners in the western provinces. Building relationships is something McIlmoyl believes in.
Another area targeted by NRT are the ice roads in northern Manitoba during the winter months.
“We want to get more involved there,” he says. “We’re pretty good at loading at any industrial site in Canada.”
One ace in the hole NRT has is the good name NRT has built for itself over the years in the trucking industry.
While McIlmoyl keeps trying to find new business, he keeps an eye on the uranium market, which has been the lifeblood for NRT through its partnerships with Cameco. “We keep watching Cameco. Uranium prices are getting higher slowly.”
When Cameco decided to mothball some of its mines in the last couple of years while it awaits a uranium market resurgence, McIlmoyl knew there was no alternative to getting out there to find new work. But he is confident the uranium market will rebound sooner or later.
“We decided we wouldn’t be solely dependent on uranium mining.”
However, McIlmoyl has seen the spot price for uranium slowly climb and with the large number of reactors coming on line around the globe, it’s just a matter of time before Cameco’s fortunes will change.
“There are encouraging signs, for sure,” he says. “We are ready to gear up again when the time comes.”
But until that day arrives, McIlmoyl will be focussed on keeping NRT’s bottom line in check and keeping employment available for First Nations workers in Saskatchewan.