The price of oil had been on the downslope even before COVID-19 effectively hobbled the world's economy. Since then, the price of oil has plummeted and companies in the Southeast are beginning to feel the pinch. 

Fast Trucking Service, a well-servicing company that specializes in moving drilling rigs and hauling other fraccing equipment, has had to lay off 250 staff of their total of 350. The company has been in business since 1957, but its Carnduff office has never seen tougher times according to their President, Dennis Day. 

"It was a horrible decision and a really tough one," Day said of the layoffs. "Oil is going down $59, I said that a month ago, and it's $11 today. It was road ban time, all the rigs were racked, there was zero income coming in. We've been in business 60 years, over 60 years, and we've weathered all those ups and downs with oil. But this is way worse than that with this COVID-19."

As of this writing, Canadian crude oil is selling for $11.66 a barrel, according to Western Canadian Select is trading at negative prices. And unlike with previous dips in the price of oil, which can reverse in a relatively short span of time, Day said he doesn't see this one turning back around anytime soon. 

"It's going to get worse before it gets better I think," he said. "I think it's going to be probably 18 months before we get back to normal, maybe by next October. There'll be a little bit of work here and there, but nobody has seen this. Last time this happened was 100 years ago in 1918 where they had the Spanish Flu come through."

Even the subsidies businesses get from both provincial and federal levels of government wasn't enough to offset the losses Fast Trucking was seeing. Laying off 250 staff wasn't an easy choice, but the staff themselves seemed to understand it was needed. 

"Everybody is sad," Day said. "But everybody knows we've been in business a long time. I work with all these guys every day. They knew it was a horrible decision. I got lots of texts, you know, 'hope you're doing all right.' You make those tough decisions because you're a strong leader and they know it's right." 

At its peak, Day said Fast Trucking was moving about 250 rigs in the first three months, but he doubts now he'll see even a quarter of that the rest of the year. Day said his company has close to 200 trucks, 75 of which are rig moving trucks. Of those 75, he expected to keep about 15 running on a regular basis.  

"It's going to be like 1986," he said. "We had 250 rig moves in 1986 in the first quarter and that's about what we had now. '86 was when oil went from $40 to $6. We only moved 50 for the rest of the year. That's what I predict now, that's what we'll probably have the rest of this year."

Day added that he hopes Fast Trucking can weather the storm and believes it can, but it won't be easy. "It's us and everybody else that's going through it."