Morrell closure already hurting trucking industry - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Morrell closure already hurting trucking industry

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SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (KTIV) -- The Sioux City John Morrell plant has been closed for barely a week now, but some businesses say they're already seeing a significant financial impact.

Ryan Moret has been in the trucking business for 20 years. And every weekday for the last 20 years, he's hauled hogs to Sioux City's John Morrell plant. The closure is already weighing heavy on him and his business.

"We used to haul in there every day probably three our four loads a day and we would get back hauls right across the street and take em back to Sioux Center, which worked out really good for our business," Moret said.

Instead of the trek between Sioux City and Sioux Center, Moret says his truckers will now have longer runs and they'll lose those valuable back hauls.

"With the shorter hauls, we could get paid more for our labor and our time loading and unloading. But now with the longer hauls it'll get transferred into paying for fuel and a little big more wear and tear on equipment," Moret says.

Moret says right now, he's hoping to replace those lost runs to Sioux City by hauling hogs to Denison, Sioux Falls or Crete. But even then, the loss will hit him financially.

"Our bottom line is going hurt and I would say 20% would probably be, 15- to 20% would be a safe assessment," he said.

The change will also hurt the customers he serves, especially the farmers he hauls hogs for.

"When you increase transportation costs it has to come from the producer again," Moret said.

More miles will also affect the quality of life for him and his drivers.

Moret says, "As far as my drivers and so forth. We're used to being at home every night. Now we're gonna have to haul a longer distance and they might not have quite as much home time."

And its not just Moret's business; he says there are many truckers in small communities around the region trying to rebound from the loss of the plant.

"I think they killed 14,000 head a day, give or take a thousand. So that's about, doing quick math, about 70 semi loads a day."

Moret and his wife own the business together and have six drivers that work for them. At this time, they don't expect any layoffs because there are still plenty of hogs in Sioux County and northwest Iowa that need to be delivered to market. They say its a given they'll have to work harder for their business in the future, but they're in it for the long haul.

Moret says with most of the truckers in the area now making longer hauls, there could be some shortages of trucks for local jobs. He also says he's lost many friends and business colleagues who were also associated with the plant.

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