Tri-Hi Transportation Grows from the Farm to the Interstates - April 15, 2011

When you're trying to survive tough economic times, it can be easy to simply hunker down and tough it out.

But sometimes, responding to tough times requires bold moves. Back in 1976, that's exactly what the Lokemoen family did.

With dairy prices depressed and profits hard to come by, the family decided to sell their cows and leave the dairy business. But that still left three of their barns filled with straw and hay. So, they looked at how they could spin their straw into gold by going west to the Far East.

They bought equipment and built a homemade trailer to transport their leftover hay. With equipment in hand, they found other opportunities to haul hay and ginseng for export to Hong Kong.

Business grew, which meant more equipment and soon a small trucking company, KLT services, was born. Loads increased, backhauls began and business continued to thrive. In 1990, founder Doug Lokemoen branched out into LTL, starting a sister company, Tri-Hi Transportation.

Since the mid-90s, Lokemoen has been working with PACCAR Financial to help fuel the company’s growth. And grow it has. Today, Tri-Hi runs a fleet of 75 Peterbilt tractors and 93 refrigerated trailers, hauling freight throughout the lower 48.

“The ability to lease and have our trailers financed through PFC has been an important piece for us,” said Lokemoen. “We do both retail financing as well as FMV (fair market value) leases,” he said. “And they’ve financed our trailers the past seven or eight years, and that’s helped a lot.”

Having a steady and reliable financial partner has been crucial to Tri-Hi’s success. “We try to be even keel with our customers with low variations in rates,” said Lokemoen. “Financing is a big part of that. If you’re rates very wildly, it can impact what rates your pass along to customers. PFC has always been very consistent – even in the downturns of the industry.

Lokemoen said he’s become a big fan of leasing. “We use the FMV to help keep our payments down and grow our company,” he said. “But whether it’s a lease or finance package, the folks at PFC have been very helpful in working with us to develop the best option for our company.”

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