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$35M investment will double manufacturing floor area at Titan Trailers

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

Titan Trailers of Courtland has incorporated robotic technology into its manufacturing process. Checking out this robotic work station is Waterford native Tom Pursley, manager of the Titan West facility at the intersection of the Jackson Side Road and Highway 3 west of Courtland. Titan Trailers is about to spend nearly $35 million on an ambitious expansion. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

Titan Trailers of Courtland has incorporated robotic technology into its manufacturing process. Checking out this robotic work station is Waterford native Tom Pursley, manager of the Titan West facility at the intersection of the Jackson Side Road and Highway 3 west of Courtland. Titan Trailers is about to spend nearly $35 million on an ambitious expansion. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

COURTLAND - 

Titan Trailers is living up to its name as a giant in the trailer manufacturing business.

Titan officials shared details this week of an ambitious expansion that will double its manufacturing capacity in the Courtland area to 200,000 square feet. Meanwhile, plans are to increase employment from 200 to 300 full-time jobs sometime in 2018.

Norfolk council cleared the way for the expansion Tuesday by approving an industrial use on agricultural land adjoining the existing plant at 1129 Highway 3.

Titan Trailers was represented by planning consultant David Roe of Civic Planning Solutions in Delhi. To give the county an idea of what Titan Trailers has in store, Roe asked council to imagine the Toyotetsu plant on Park Road in Simcoe in the countryside on Highway 3 between Delhi and Courtland.

The required change was approved without opposition. Afterward, David Holmes, Titans’ manager of business development, said the phased expansion will cost about $35 million.

The goal, Holmes says, is to go from making 800 truck trailers a year to nearly 3,000. The expansion is driven by strong growth in foreign and domestic sales.

Holmes says Titan Trailers is making inroads in the United Kingdom and Australia. The company already has a strong presence in Canada and the United States, especially in the area of waste haulage.

“There are additional markets we can exploit,” Holmes said this week. “This is about building plant capacity.”

Titan Trailers was founded in 1973. Its owners are Mike and Sandy Kloepfer. Mike Kloepfer is promoted as the company’s president and chief designer.

Titan Trailers has done so well, in part, because its trailers are lightweight yet sturdy. This is a cost-saving advantage in the fuel-intensive trucking industry.

“This just goes to show what local people can do,” Mayor Charlie Luke said at Tuesday’s meeting. “This will help Courtland. To have an international company like this out of Courtland is phenomenal. This is the Cadillac of trailers in the world.”

The province has policies against devoting farmland to other uses. Langton-area Coun. Roger Geysens acknowledged that the area in question is technically zoned agriculture. However, Geysens said this is a mistake given the quality of the soil in question.

“This is not prime agricultural land,” Geysens said. “This is blow sand. To say this is prime agricultural land is just wrong.”

Titan Trailers is hiring. It is looking primarily for qualified welders.

Fanshawe College in Simcoe has launched a welding program to help local manufacturers such as Titan Trailers build their workforce. Many Fanshawe graduates have found full-time work in Courtland.

“They’re mostly young kids who want to stay close to the local area,” Roe said.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com