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.”