Alaska trucking is not a joke, so we want to share some details about it. At the beginning of 2016 we got a load for the Military Base in Fairbanks, AK. We were trying to research how to prepare and what to expect. Most of the information we found in the forums was for commercial trucks. We did find some YouTube videos of truck drivers that are driving through North British Columbia, Yukon and Alaska, but nothing that described the whole process. Therefore we decided to write about our experience: How we sent a truck to Alaska in January.
The most important thing that you need is a good driver. I mean a very good driver. That part was easy for our dispatchers as we have a lot of good ones.
After picking up the load, our driver Marc sent a message to his dispatcher — “Thanks for the fun”.
The truck and trailer need to be well maintained and reliable. We run Volvo trucks and Wabash trailers. We did a regular PM service in Edmonton, AB and greased the trailer. One extra thing that we put was the winter guard on the front grill, which is good idea to have not only for an Alaska trip, but for all Winter trips.
Volvo trucks have a very good cooling system, which helps in the hot months, but also does the opposite in the Winter. A cheap and ugly option is to put a piece of cardboard in front, which will do the same job.
We added the Deer Catcher just because.
There is only one possible highway that you can take. What you need to plan is where to stop for food, rest and fuel. Truck stops are common along interstate highways in the US and along the more populated highways in Canada, but once you pass Fort St. John, BC you have to plan where to stop for fuel.We made some mistakes in the planning process.
We use FleetOne fuel cards, which did not work at the gas stations in BC and Yukon.
We had to wire money to the driver, which is expensive. Another thing that needs to be done is to check if the receiving place (Money Gram in our case) has the cash available. We sent $900 via Money Gram in Fort Nelson, and they did not have enough cash to give to our driver. I am not sure how did that happen.
Make sure that your truck insurance covers Canadian provinces as well as Alaska.
And this is how we sent a truck to Alaska in January. We did have some hiccups along the way, but we were able to take care of them right away and we’ll be better prepared for next time.