More than half a century ago, a transportation company was born in the small northern community of Smithers, British Columbia. John Bandstra Sr. founded the company in 1955, shortly after immigrating from Holland. What he lacked in resources he made up for in experience, bringing from Europe a wealth of knowledge in the transportation business. His father operated and owned his own trucking company, and to this day many family members have started and continue to operate and own transportation and logistics companies’ across western Europe.
Starting with two trucks and operating under the name Smithers Transport, John and two others began to haul groceries and general freight between Prince Rupert and Smithers. Goods arrived in the Prince Rupert port by ships originating in Vancouver. Today the 350 km highway between these locations is a 4 hour drive, but with the road conditions being so poor in the late 50’s, the trip could take up to 12 hours. The drivers remember carrying planks of wood that they used to pry trucks and cars out of the mud along the route.
As the years stretched into decades, the company faced an important decision about expansion. After officially changing its operating name to Bandstra Transportation Systems Ltd, it became the belief of the management that in order to stay competitive in a quickly expanding market, they needed to expand their services. With this in mind, they soon expanded both the general freight and household moving divisions by starting terminals in more northern communities and in major locations in British Columbia.
After retiring from the trucking business, John Bandstra Sr. left his company in the capable hands of his younger family members. They continued his work by growing the company’s service area, while retaining the company tradition of hard work and expert service.
Bandstra Transportation is still family owned and operated with a strong foundation in Smithers, the location of its head office. The continued success of the organization can be attributed to their philosophy that the main focus of business is not the return to shareholders but to provide a meaningful service to the communities that they are a part of. The company is always looking for new opportunities while fortifying their current operations. Bandstra Transportation has proved that they are, and will continue to be, a major player in the transportation and logistics market in western Canada.