DAILY NEWS Jan 23, 2013 8:55 AM - 21 comments

Muir's Cartage explains reorganization

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By: James Menzies

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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Reader Comments

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Gone with the wind

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.

Posted February 12, 2013 03:10 PM



sad but true


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

Posted February 2, 2013 09:30 PM

John H.

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.

Posted February 2, 2013 04:44 PM


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

Posted February 1, 2013 10:42 PM

John H.


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


Start out with two million dollars.


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


Do you really have to ask.

Posted February 1, 2013 06:07 PM

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