Savage keeps on truckin
Since it's founding, the Castle Country has made it's way through the production of energy and the mining of coal. At Savage, two brothers started with a single truck nearly 70 years ago and have since found a way to find the necessary solutions to move the world's energy related products.
"We are a long established company here in Carbon and Emery County," said Savage Services Eastern Utah General Manager Garth Nielsen. "For that reason we continue to look for ways to expand and diversify our operations to keep people employed. We are dedicated to keeping this company moving forward.
The Castle Country operation began transporting crude oil from the Uintah Basin over to the Savage Energy Terminal in 2014 and trans-loading the oil onto rail cars. Those cars are then transported to refineries all across the United States.
"Our operations gave the Uintah Basin another outlet for their crude oil, because before we started loading, they could only take their product to the Salt Lake terminals," explained Nielsen. "We have plenty of room to expand the energy terminal here in Carbon County and have plans to do just that. In the future, we hope to be able to accept larger volumes of crude from multiple customers."
The Savage Energy Terminal has complied with all government agencies and worked closely with them to provide an environmentally safe transport service.
The hauling of crude oil has already proved to be a major asset for current and future employees of the company because it has allowed them to diversify the energy economy and continue to provide jobs in both Carbon and Emery County.
"We heard that there was a need in the Uintah Basin because of volume restrictions on the amount of crude oil they could export," said Nielsen. "We saw that as a need to supply a service to these customers."
The crude oil is brought to Savage's Energy Terminal by hauling the liquid through the Uintah Basin over Highway 191 and into Carbon County. From here, it is loaded onto a rail terminal at the Savage yard. This new form of hauling has had additional benefits for the railroad as their tanker numbers have increased greatly since Savage began their crude operations.
"Our coal market was slowing down and we had employees that we wanted to keep," said David Palacios, Operations Manager at Savage Services in Wellington. "We looked carefully at this opportunity to diversify and made the adjustments needed to assist our customers."
While, the trucking company has placed a great deal of assets behind the crude hauling operation, coal numbers in 2014 have many within the market feeling like there may be a more immediate resurgence in the life-blood of Utah's Castle Country than originally foreseen.
"We are starting to see an increase in volumes for this year and that was something we didn't think we were going to experience," said Palacios. "Coal is still a valuable resource in this country, it still produces a great deal of power. In Japan and Germany they recently completed coal fired plants that are going to need coal."
Both Nielsen and Palacios were very proud of the fact that even though coal mining jobs have decreased significantly over the past three years, Savage has not had to lay off any employees during that time.
"We have maintained our workforce through the ups and downs of the past few years," said Nielsen. "During a time when the area was suffering major losses, we looked to try and diversify, and we have. We did so by adding the crude oil trans-load at the energy terminal and the crude oil hauling operation in the Uintah Basin."
Savage's long standing devotion to their customers and employees has kept the company moving forward when many of their competitors have faltered. According to Palacios, that progression has been made possible by the company's mission statement which says that their company's goal is to see their customers succeed. And being a supply chains solutions company, their customer's success is ultimately their success as well. A dedications to this ways of thinking has made Savage a solutions company in the mind of their customers and employees and is at the heart of the Wellington terminal's decision to move forward with hauling crude oil in the place of coal.
The decision to begin hauling a completely different product was not taken lightly, however, by the company's local administration, as the logistics and safety concerns of hauling a flammable liquid substance were examined before even the first steps toward a hauling offer was made.
"When we started talking about crude, we examined everything about our property to make sure we could be environmentally safe," said Palacios. "We looked at the coal terminal, we looked at the location and we made sure that the Department of Oil, Gas and Mining and water quality professionals were involved from the very beginning of this project."
Palacios, explained that the terminal's location, which is no where near a water supply, and the development of a rock solid plan for containment were vital in the company's decision to move forward. The Wellington manager stated that a large spill could occur on the company's property and not a drop of oil would contaminate the area.
"We would never put anybody in harm's way," he said. "We have so many systems in place to prevent a spill from happening in the first place. We did an extremely comprehensive study on our property to make sure this type of job would be secure."
Because of the resources available to a company the size of Savage and their commitment to service and diversity, the future looks strong at Savage. As energy production continues to change across the state and nation, Savage continues to develop the solutions which make the transport of that energy possible.