“We started because of aquaculture and we grow when the aquaculture industry grows,” Ryan Brush, General Manager of Aquatrans Distribution Inc.
By Fabian Dawson
Five years ago when Ryan Brush (pictured) decided to join his uncle’s trucking business, he went on a learning binge.
“The more I studied about aquaculture and salmon farming on the west coast, the more I became interested,” said Brush, a former digital marketing and finance executive.
“When I started doing my research, I realized there was a lot of rhetoric about fish farming that could not be substantiated…I always ask where did you get that information from, because I want to find out if it is true
“And more often than not, the conflict turns into a conversation about…oh I did not know that,” said Brush, 37.
Today armed with knowledge and fueled by the belief that farming fish sustainably can help boost dwindling wild stocks impacted by climate change and overfishing, Brush helms Aquatrans Distribution Inc., a Canadian leader when it comes to the transportation of seafood.
Established in 1987 with an emphasis in seafood transport, Aquatrans has grown to become a full-service provider of freight hauling with a fleet of 130 trailers, 40 trucks and 64 employees.
“We started because of aquaculture and we grow when the aquaculture industry grows,” said Brush, Aquatrans’ general manager.
They provide a diverse range of services to customers in the seafood, grocery, refrigerated, frozen food, shipping container, and bulk commodity industries, but about 40 percent of their business is with the aquaculture industry.
As a specialized transporter of frozen and temperature sensitive food products, Aquatrans offers full temperature controlled, point-to-point transportation services with daily service to all points on Vancouver Island, as well as cross-border to Seattle.
“We clean the trailers after every load and have a rigorous safety and maintenance protocol…we don’t compromise on health and safety issues and that’s one of the reasons why we have so many food clients,” said Brush.
“The people I work with are a dedicated bunch…they love the environment they work in and we have a lot of fun,” Brush told SeaWestNews shortly after a leading a company barbeque in Sayward on Vancouver Island, his 6’ 1” all decked out in a Wonder Woman costume.
Aquatrans is just one of the many businesses that benefits directly from B.C.’s aquaculture industry.
It is the main mover of farm-raised salmon, which is B.C.’s highest valued seafood product, the province’s top agricultural export, and an industry that generates over $1.5-billion towards the B.C. economy, resulting in over 6,600 jobs.
One of Aquatrans’ biggest challenges is hiring truck drivers.
A study commissioned by the Canadian Trucking Alliance revealed the trucking industry will be short as many as 48,000 drivers by 2024.
“It’s a severe problem for the industry but we have been fortunate in retaining most of our drivers,” said Brush.
“We have about 20 drivers who live on Vancouver Island alone and this helps reduce the carbon footprint of our transportation business because of their proximity to clients,” said Brush.
One of them is Daniel who hauls farmed fish all over Vancouver Island, after losing his job as a welder during the recession.
Here is his story…