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News  January 23, 2013 8:55AM

Muir’s Cartage explains reorganization

CONCORD, Ont. -- Muir’s Cartage’s transition to an all owner/operator fleet was necessitated by the “market forces experienced by the entire industry,” says Ted Brown, executive vice-president with the company.



CONCORD, Ont. — Muir’s Cartage’s transition to an all owner/operator fleet was necessitated by the “market forces experienced by the entire industry,” says Ted Brown, executive vice-president with the company.

Jan. 3, 33 company drivers were released as part of the restructuring. The company will no longer employ company drivers. Brown told Trucknews.com the move was necessary in response to “significant changes specific to its major customer relationships that remain strong, but simply require a change in our overall infrastructure and how we deploy our fleet and drivers.”

Some of these changes, Brown said, have been phased in over the past few years. As for the Jan. 3 announcement that it would no longer run company trucks, Brown said it “was a necessary component to fully meeting those demands going into 2013 and remaining a competitive provider of excellent service well beyond.”

Prior to the Jan. 3 announcement, Muir’s operated three distinct driver groups: a city and highway owner/operator fleet; a scaleable 3P channel with agency partners; and a company driver fleet.

“After Jan. 3, our model will consist of a mix of owner/operators and our agency strategy – the application of either depending upon our existing and new customer requirements,” he said.

Customers, said Brown, stand to benefit from increased flexibility and efficiencies.

“Asset utilization will determine which driver solution we will deploy and we’ll be better positioned to meet the cost challenges of our partners,” he said.

Asked if he expects other Canadian trucking companies to rely more heavily on owner/operators, Brown said “We’re certainly seeing more emphasis on the need to flex and adapt to the challenges of our customers. Each transportation company will continue to assess its specific needs as it adapts to this constant change.”

As for the drivers affected by the reorganization, Brown said “These changes are never easy for anyone involved, be they the drivers or the people who they worked with – in some cases for many years. We communicate robustly here though, and our team understands the changing environment and have been resilient throughout the many changes of the past four to five years. We were pleased that a significant number of the drivers affected chose to join our 3P provider and have been able to resume driving for Muir’s as part of their service.”

Asked if owner/operators may be concerned that the restructuring is indicative of underlying problems at Muir’s, Brown said “Muir’s has carried out these changes in order to increase its ability to compete within the conditions of which we’re all aware. We’ve seen continued improvement here over 2011 and 2012 and anyone currently with us or considering joining us should be encouraged by our enhanced ability to succeed in the years to come.”


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21 Comments » for Muir’s Cartage explains reorganization
  1. Murray F. says:

    Let me see, another step down for trucking. How much did Muir’s pay their drivers in total compensation? Some of the drivers have gone to the 3P i bet at less money. I hope some EX Muir’s drivers would comment on here.

  2. paul says:

    As if Muir cartage can get out of this one,to them it is only dollars and cents and they could care less about the company drivers.
    If I were an owner-operator I would be thinking twice before considering this company

  3. Peter says:

    Let’s put this right beside an article about how our industry is desperately looking for hundreds of thousands of new drivers.
    Amnd we wonder why.

  4. Pete Barber says:

    I’m reading 3p as a ‘driver service”??? less pay, no benifits, at their beckon call any time of the day, & no payroll costs for Muir’s!! Win Win for Muir’s untill they start getting under qualified drivers & higher claims in insurance!!! Bad move IMOP. No wonder drivers or “EX” drivers like myself have, or are getting out while thay can!!!!!

  5. Biff the Dispatcher says:

    I dispatch brokers from my office. 90% of them are useless. Good luck at Muirs, your problems are just begining. What a pile of crap saying that customers will benifit. Let the nightmare begin.

  6. J. R says:

    We have had company drivers since our beginning. They are an asset, not an expense. With company driver you control the truck, its quality, the roads, the stops, the drops, etc.

    Company drivers are not cheaper, they are an asset. Many customer recognise that.

  7. Steve says:

    Muirs should get rid of a manager or two and keep their drivers. The fellow in the article makes as much sense as your average politican. I have five drivers and wouldn’t trade them for anything.

  8. John says:

    READ: It is way cheaper to hire agency drivers than have REAL employees. How can this befit customers unless of course O/O will not be paid waiting time? Or customers will no longer have to honor appointments thereby saving all that waiting time money. If I was an O/O at Muirs now I would run there is no way this is better for the O/O they will be hurt big time just give it a couple of months and watch.

  9. carl mcsween says:

    Good move, I worked with brokers and company drivers during my carrer.
    If you have a good contract, inspect the equipment on a quaterly basis follow-up with inspections and logs, etc… It is a win win situation, Most brokers take good care of their equipment and will work hard to earn a living. They care about your customers because they are theirs also This is why so many companies are going with brokers.

  10. don says:

    He said they had to do this to compete. Well that must mean Murs as a co. Is too top heavy in wages with dead weight. They do not care about any one or any thing except money. Glad I do not work their. I would be telling their o/o to run find another company that will respect its employes. Ops forgot not that meny co. Out their truly can say they respect their employes.

  11. Andy says:

    GREED!!! The response by the executive is some of the best political side speak I’ve ever heard. My friend works there and he said all O/O benefits were also cut. How does that better service a customer? This will be the same company that complains of a driver shortage in another year or two..if theyre still in business. I bet none of those executives have seen their pay cut..in fact I bet they all got big bonuses..GREED GREED GREED

  12. AbbyDave says:

    As a small fleet owner(10 trucks)I would not move from employees to o/o’s.Is this co in the union? Are they trying to get rid of costs this way? It seems to me that the majority of these o/o’s are new to Canada, and are willing, or feel the need, to work for a rate that is not what it should be, to have a job. I’m not trying to lay blame, but just stating the obvious. Companies serving big box stores and large chain grocery stores seem to be in a race to the bottom in terms of what they will do this work for. As with so many other things in life, all you can do is vote with your feet. If these co’s are not able to get people to do this work, the rates will have to change. As has been said already here, this may be just delaying the inevitable. Re-arranging the deck chairs at Muir’s?

  13. horse says:

    it look like the cart was put before me again.

  14. horse says:

    to Steve coment, he might make sense like the average politician to you, but he is not one, just trying to explain diplomaticaly the issue, basically, he is on the same bote like all of us.Make it easier to everybody,there is no different between operation of multy million dollar company and a household, both need lot of comunication and openness to succseed.Maybe that, where the key lies in this company.Good luck to all of you.

  15. Dogbrood says:

    And transport continues to the battle of the bottom. Next thing, drivers will be children who’s reward for working will be to not see the whip that day.

    Its starting to sound like a Charles Dickens novel.

    Big brother watches all.

  16. james says:

    as a former muirs driver i dont like what was done to us many were with the company a long time as things got worse we were lied too told new contracts coming etc to keep us there till the christmas rush was over then dumped us.they may have had to adjust to market demands but they did not even give us paycut options etc to keep our jobs i dont wish them bad luck but if this is the way the industry is going to be treating professional drivers in the future im seriously considering changing my profession

  17. John H. says:

    Question:

    How do you make a million dollars as an owner operator?

    Answer:

    Start out with two million dollars.

    Question:

    Will the management at this company be going on a contract basis too and taking the same structural downgrades as their drivers?

    Answer:

    Do you really have to ask.

  18. horse says:

    with all the respect to you, you are in the wrong business with those numbers, may be that’s why you cant’t find the answer to your last answer

  19. John H. says:

    In 1977 between 80% and 90% of the long haul trucks on the road were owner operators.

    In 1977 owner operators were paid on average of $1.50 per mile.

    Today only about 10% to 20% of long haul trucks on the road are owner operators.

    What is their mileage rate today when you factor in the consumer price index of $1.50 per mile in 1977 to what that is in 2013?

    There is a reason why this dynamic of 80%/90% has shifted to 10%/20% in a few short decades.

    When it comes to the long term fixed costs of being a O/O these costs are not being met.

    Most drivers can figure out the variable cost ratios (gas, insurance, repairs) well enough but fail to factor in longer term fixed cost. (ie: replacing that truck in a few years with a new one once a certain number of miles have been run on it).

    This is something that trucking companies count on the O/O not being able to figure out since most truckers do not have backgrounds in business accounting.

    After a few years they end up in a hole, or at the very least not making any decent money.

    The current O/O model takes these costs off the carriers back and transfers them to the O/O.

  20. horse says:

    answer

    sad but true

    question

    who to blame for it?… don’t forget, I am horse after all.

  21. Gone with the wind says:

    Poor management decisions from the top down, an abundance of top managerial hires, and non experienced office personnel all led to this decision. Unfortunately, as in hockey, the players are first to be blamed.
    From the time of transition, (change of ownership), two years ago till Jan 3 2013, operations has been on a downhill slide. Contracts if not completely lost, were reduced by at least 50% of the previous workload, and very little new business was brought in to Muir’s. A once proud company ranked in the top 10 for Ontario, barely has a heartbeat.

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