At the age of 16, Johan Berge felt tired of school and started operating a wheel loader for his uncle. A few years later, he wanted to move on in life and started his business with a single wheel excavator. He now owns and manages a fleet of more than 100 trucks as well as all the construction equipment needed for a full service operation.
“We established the limited liability company BST Berges Schakt och Transport back in 2005 with eight employees and now engage some 180–190 people.”As the business grew, more members of the family joined as well as another partner. His younger brother Jonathan, for example, quit his job as a firefighter to take on the company’s finances.
Making ends meet
BST, which is based in Södertälje in the greater Stockholm region, maintains its own fleet of 20 trucks, which are predominantly Scania. Additionally, 87 trucks with drivers are subcontracted and most drive with the distinguishing green BST livery. “The idea is that we ourselves own one truck in each vehicle configuration in order to keep track of money in and out,” says Berge. “If we can’t make ends meet, our suppliers can’t either and it helps us understand their reality.”
BST must offer the entire scope of construction vehicles and equipment to, as subcontractor, compete for major infrastructure assignments. These also offer the best opportunities for long-term contractual deployment of a large numbers of trucks, trailers and equipment, what Berge refers to as ‘massive deployment’.
“We try to cover most areas depending on the customer’s needs, which can be determined by maximum vehicle gross load regulations and, for example, tight spaces. You need the scope to take on all kinds of assignments.”
Latest equipment needed
Profit margins in construction transport and equipment industry are scant and, says Berge, ”you constantly need to be on your toes.” “The demands on us are high to offer the latest vehicles and equipment. In a way that’s good since new equipment is more reliable. Downtime is always a sign that we have failed in some respect. We must ensure that we have assignments and that our equipment is put to work.”
BST’s strength lies in its broad skills, especially in working with contaminated soil. ”Although we’re by no means the biggest in the business, we have sufficient resources to take on several large jobs at the same time. The greatest obstacle we face is the traffic situation in the Stockholm region. Fortunately, we have trucks and equipment both north and south of the city and as much as possible try to deploy them there.”
However, operating in the growing Stockholm region also has its advantages. “There’s tremendous amount of ongoing building activity with large major projects. So the outlook for the future, at least for the coming years, is good.”