It's not unusual for motor carriers to make deliveries in remote areas. But here's a story that makes The History Channel's "Ice Road Truckers" look like a quick sprint down a California freeway.
Over four consecutive winters, from 2005 through 2009, YRC's Time-Critical service delivered specialty dog food from Topeka, Kan., to 80 different sites in Northern Canada—some of them only accessible by dogsled. The customer, a dog trainer, required the high-protein food to feed sled dogs while he trained them for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which is held annually in March. He contracted with YRC's Time-Critical division to deliver three 600-pound skids of the food four to six times a month during the November-to-February training period.
That assignment proved to be almost as difficult as running the 1,200-mile Iditarod Race itself. Shipments moved by commercial air to Minneapolis, where they were transferred to a small prop plane for the flight to Yellowknife in Canada's Northwest Territories. From Yellowknife, dog sleds were used to reach dozens of stops along the snowy route.
As you might imagine, it required some flexibility and persistence (doggedness, perhaps?) to deliver on time under those conditions. For one thing, the carrier had to adjust to continually changing delivery sites. The trainer and YRC's local rep relied on predetermined checkpoints for communication—because satellite reception was not always available, the trainer sometimes left handwritten notes with delivery instructions. And there was the additional challenge of protecting shipments from freezing during a period when temperatures rarely go above zero. But according to YRC, it all worked out in the end: Every dog had his day—and plenty to eat.