Competition Watch (January 01, 2010)

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SUNBURY TRANSPORT is merging its operations with sister company RST INDUSTRIES in Saint John, N.B., according to local media reports. “We’re going to combine them and operate them out of McAllister Drive, which is where RST is located in Saint John,” J.D. Irving spokeswoman Mary Keith told local paper the Daily Gleaner. Local media reports indicate the move is being made to bring Sunbury closer to its customers in the industrial area of Saint John and near the port.

Two of Atlantic Canada’s top trucking and transportation companies are merging their general freight and equipment-repair facilities to form a new company, ATLANTICA DIVERSIFIED TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS (ADTS). Effective April 1, the general freight (dry van and refrigerated operations) and equipment-repair facilities of WARREN TRANSPORT, part of The Warren Group headquartered in Rexton, N.B., and the entire operations (flatbed, van and equipment repair) of D.D. TRANSPORT, headquartered in Mount Pearl, Nfld., will merge to form the new company. ADTS’s head office will be based in Rexton, while maintaining their offices and operations in Mount Pearl and Clarenville, Nfld.; Bathurst, N.B.; and Debert and Liverpool, N.S. Warren’s Vaughn Sturgeon will serve as Atlantica’s president, while D.D.’s Gordon Peddle will serve as vice-president and chief operating officer. The new entity will have about 150 employees. Other divisions of The Warren Group -such as bulk transport and construction services -are not affected by the merger. ADTS will operate more than 300 pieces of equipment and will keep all of the affected merged Warren Transport and D.D. Transport facilities open. The merger will not result in any layoffs.

One half of this summer’s biggest acquisition deal has filed for creditor protection. St. Thomas, Ont.-based L.E. WALKER TRANSPORT, which was purchased by Guelph, Ont.-based MACKINNON TRANSPORT in August, filed a notice of intention (NOI) and entered into a creditor protection environment Dec. 8. “The company has been operating under the NOI since that time and currently continues to do so with Deloitte as the trustee,” Evan MacKinnon, president and CEO of MacKinnon Transport, told Motortruck Fleet Executive. “We are continuing negotiations with the CIBC (L. E. Walker’s bankers) and other secured creditors while reviewing the best options available to restructure the company. This action does not include any aspects of MacKinnon Transport Inc. and is limited completely to L.E. Walker Transport Limited.” The acquisition deal, announced at the end of August, created a combined entity operating out of MacKinnon’s head office in Guelph, boasting 1,300 pieces of equipment and a workforce of 420 people. At the time, the Walker Group consisted of L.E. Walker Transport and Mid America Freight Systems, both major players in the dry van and flatbed marketplaces in North America.

Oshawa-based trucking company CAN-TRUCK is winding down its operations. A Can-Truck official confirmed the closing in December. He attributed it largely to the slumping auto industry, which comprised a big portion of the carrier’s business. At the time of its closing, Can-Truck employed about 60 owner/operators. Can-Truck’s head office was in Oshawa and it operated satellite terminals in St. Catharines, Ont., Belleville, Ont. and Livonia, Mich.

BISON TRANSPORT will have to make room in its trophy case for yet another award -this time a sustainability award from the Manitoba Round Table for Sustainable Development. The award was presented at the Manitoba Excellence in Sustainability Awards. Manitoba Minister of Conservation, Bill Blaikie, presented the award to Bison Transport president and CEO Don Streuber. The Manitoba Excellence in Sustainability Awards were set up to recognized companies that incorporate sustainable development into their everyday business practices to establish solid and lasting results, organizers say. Bison was recognized for its use of long combination vehicles (LCVs), driver fuel efficiency training and its sustainable transport strategy.

CONTRANS INCOME FUND has completed its conversion from an income trust to a corporate entity, CONTRANS GROUP INC. “Operating under a corporate structure will provide us with additional financial flexibility regarding the growth and retention of capital and better position Contrans to facilitate its future growth plans,” said Stanley Dunford, chairman and CEO.

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