Fulger Transport Inc.

Refrigerated freight trucking for food growers across the Canada-U.S. border
Written by: 
Matt Dodge
Produced by: 
Lance Pelletier

Founded in 2007, Fulger Transport Inc. is a freight trucking company serving food and beverage customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. With headquarters in Windsor, Ontario and a U.S. office in Michigan, Fulger specializes in transporting perishable items and frozen foods through the Detroit-Montreal corridor.

With over 70 temperature-controlled trucks on the road, Fulger has expanded its geographic footprint beyond the Canada-U.S. border to serve clients up and down the East Coast, from Massachusetts to Florida and as far south as Texas.

Adrian Sasca founded Fulger eight years ago, but when the recession took hold, he sold the company to current owner Radu Bogdanel. “Those recession years were really tough and my partner wanted to get out, so that’s when I purchased the company,” says Bogdanel, president of Fulger.

Fostering sustainable growth

Taking over the company during leans times, Bogdanel knew that Fulger would have to develop a niche if it was to survive. To that end, Bogdanel actively pursued local fruit and vegetable growers such as Nature Fresh Farms and Lakeside Produce on the benefits of his temperature-controlled fleet. “The real turning point was when we got into that local market. That has helped our company grow to where it is right now,” he says.

In the last eight years, Fulger’s revenue has increased thirtyfold as the company positions itself as a leader in refrigerated trucking. “Each year we’ve gotten a little bigger and the banks developed interest in us because we showed profits at the end of each year, overcoming even a tough recession,” he says.

Fulger prides itself on its commitment to transparency during every step of the shipping process. This begins with a safe fleet and continues with state-of-the-art technology such as real-time temperature tracking. This ensures that shipments arrive on time and properly refrigerated. “If there is a temperature discrepancy we can alert the driver right away and be proactive,” says Bogdanel. “It’s one of the things that have helped us reduce claims and provide successful deliveries.”

Instilling responsibility with owner-operators

 Bogdanel began his career in the transportation industry as a driver at just 19 years old. “That was back in 2003 and I’ve been at it ever since,” he says. After a few years in the trucking business, Bogdanel became an owner-operator before moving on to found Fulger along with Sasca.

Sticking with the same model that brought him into the industry in the first place, many of Fulger’s 70 drivers are themselves owner-operators. While this arrangement gives drivers a bigger sense of ownership and responsibility, it can be difficult to find the right people for the job.

“Our market is currently dealing with a huge driver shortage,” says Bogdanel. “We need to make sure that we train drivers to the highest potential. We can’t afford to put just anyone in the driver’s seat.”

Fluctuating fuel prices have been another challenge in the transportation industry lately. While the price of diesel has dropped drastically in the last year, it does not always translate into actual operational savings. “If you do the math, you realize that the cost of operating actually went up two or three cents a mile, this due to an increase in driver pay and higher equipment cost,” says Bogdanel.

A weak Canadian economy has wreaked havoc on some industries, but Bogdanel says that the food transportation business is largely recession-proof. “We’re in one of those industries that do not feel the ups and downs of the economy as much,” he says. “At the end of the day, everybody needs their food on the table.”

Proactive in produce

As a company born out of the recession, Fulger strives to stay on top of its expenses to assure that another dip in the economy doesn’t erase years of hard work. “We like to pay our debts very quickly in case something goes wrong. As such, whatever may come our way, we will still survive. That’s been our strategy and it has worked out so far,” he says.

Having established itself as a trusted perishable and frozen food transportation service, Fulger is now looking to expand into dry goods. While the new division was supposed to come online last year, rapid growth among Fulger’s longtime clients forced the company to hold off. “All of our customers grew quite a bit in the last few years, so we have to stay focused on what we’re doing and continue to provide them our best,” he says.

While it can be tempting to chase every new opportunity that arises, Bogdanel is more concerned with remaining loyal to those customers who got Fulger where it is today. “We made the decision not to pursue new customers simply because the customers we have at the moment keep growing and we must grow with them,” says Bogdanel.

Fulger’s decision to expand operations into the U.S. was partially driven by that same commitment to the company’s original clients. “A lot of our customers turned from being just Canadian growers to growing on both sides of the border. This is one of the reasons we wanted to grow our business in the U.S. — to be able to provide a comprehensive all-around service,” he adds.

By establishing ties with new local producers and remaining true to those who have been loyal customers for years, Fulger Transport Inc. is positioned to grow as a trusted food freight trucking company for frozen and perishable food.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
MBSP LLP Chartered Accountants