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Competition Watch (May 01, 2009)

Surprisingly, Canada's top for-hire carriers (97 companies earning at least $25 million in annual revenues) saw both operating revenue and expenses remain practically unchanged in the fourth quarter o...


Surprisingly, Canada’s top for-hire carriers (97 companies earning at least $25 million in annual revenues) saw both operating revenue and expenses remain practically unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to the previous year, according to a report from Statistics Canada. The 97 Canadian-based trucking companies -each earning $25 million or more annually -generated operating revenue of $2.6 billion and operating expenses of $2.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008. The operating ratio (operating expenses divided by operating revenue) remained unchanged at 0.95 in the fourth quarter compared with the same quarter a year earlier.

CHALLENGER MOTOR FREIGHT has announced the opening of a new 10-acre terminal in Aldergrove, BC. The new location comes complete with driver amenities and offices and more than doubles its previous space, in order to accommodate further growth in the west, the company stated. The new terminal houses truck maintenance and service facilities and in-house refuelling capabilities. It also complies with the US C-TPAT security program with advanced yard safety. The company said the new facility poises it to grow its regional business in B. C., Alberta, Washington State and Oregon with its fleet of tandem, tridem and quad-axle trailers. Challenger began operations in the west 14 years ago primarily as a service to one of Canada’s largest couriers.

MACKINNON TRANSPORT marked its 80th anniversary in June. Leslie MacKinnon purchased his first used straight truck on June 4, 1929, according to the company, so he could haul livestock and supplies for the local farming community in Caledon, Ont. In 1946, MacKinnon hauled its first load of Armco Drainage products and by the late 50s Armco accounted for nearly 100% of the company’s business, leading to MacKinnon’s move to Guelph in 1960 to be closer to its main customer.

BISON TRANSPORT also celebrated an important birthday in June: its 40th. The company, owned by Duncan M. Jessiman, has risen from modest beginnings to become one of Canada’s top transportation companies. The business began in the late 1960’s when Duncan’s father Peter started running a local cartage and warehouse operation in Winnipeg that became Jessiman Brothers Cartage Limited. Duncan soon learned the ropes of the family business and after graduating from the University of Manitoba, he started up his own company, Bison Transport, in May 1969. Though it began as an 18-truck, 32-employee operation, Bison now operates more than 1,050 tractors, 3,000 trailers and almost 1,600 professional drivers and transportation staff. Operating terminals throughout Canada, Bison operates several divisions, including dry van, long combination vehicle, refrigerated, asset-based logistics, intermodal, and warehousing and distribution.

MUSKOKA TRANSPORT will be using in-cab scanning in an effort to improve productivity. The carrier teamed up with Shaw Tracking to implement the program. Muskoka said in-cab scanning will allow its drivers to manage paperwork through a simple in-cab solution. In-cab scanning allows drivers to send scanned documents from inside the cab within a matter of minutes, eliminating the need to find, and pull off at truck stops. The company says it has already installed the scanners and trained its drivers on their operation. Muskoka is also now looking to shorten its billing cycle.

Port Moody, BC’s WHEELER TRANSPORT has earned this year’s Best Carrier Performance safety award from the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI). It’s a step up for the company, after winning last year’s CPPI Improvement Award for Reduced Product Mixes. Wheeler Transport, a fleet with about 100 pieces of equipment between trucks and fuel tankers and a branch in Kamloops, credits three safety initiatives for rising to the top spot. One of those initiatives is a safety bonus for all Wheeler Transport drivers, a straight percentage of the gross. Another key ingredient to Wheeler Transport’s safety program is a full-time health and safety officer. The third successful initiative is the company’s implementation of the Smith Defensive Driving traffic safety course, a program promoted widely in the US, and by a few oil companies on this side of the border.

Flat truckload rates, 1-3% rate increases for LTL carriers, increased trucking bankruptcies and declining truck sales are a few things SCHNEIDER LOGISTICS experts see when looking ahead to the remainder of 2009. The company issued its annual State of the Transportation Industry Review 2008, which also explored what lies ahead for transportation companies in 2009. Looking at the US economy in general, Schneider is not expecting a rapid recovery. The report suggests truckload rates will remain flat in 2009 and it may be 2010 before truckload carriers begin to see rates swing upwards.


Truck News

Truck News

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.
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