TORONTO, Ont. – Another big boy just got bigger in the Canadian LTL market.
Con-Way Canada Express has announced that it is expanding its operations into five more provinces as part of the company’s overall plan to build a more comprehensive service network in Canada.
Con-Way has actually operated in Canada for the past eight years, but provided service only in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. Following this latest expansion, the company will now service New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Ten company service centres will be added through the expansion, with sites in Calgary, Edmonton, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge in Alberta; Halifax and Truro, N.S.; Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton in New Brunswick; and Saskatoon.
Established just this past January with headquarters in Mississauga, Ont., Con-Way Canada Express is a subsidiary and operating unit of Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Con-Way Central Express (CCX).
Con-Way Canada Express general sales manager Mark Newby said that although the expansion of service would require CCX to add personnel, he didn’t think all the hiring would come in one wave. “As of today we have a number of service centers opening up,” he said. “We have (to fill) a variety of positions, from drivers to account executives to managers of those facilities, and we expect to continue to grow as the customers dictate.”
The motivation for the expansion was simple, says Newby: customer demand.
“There has been a request, a cry almost, from our customers, ‘when are you expanding?'” Newby said. “‘We have enjoyed your services here, they’ve given us a competitive advantage, at least in Ontario and Quebec. When are you going farther west?'”
Con-Way’s newest expansion of service is the largest geographic move taken at one time by the company since it first began entering the Canadian market in 1983. It will also add an additional time zone, the Atlantic, to the company’s schedule.
“We will be delivering customer freight over 800 miles (1,280 km) further west to Alberta and eight hours further east to Prince Edward Island,” said Richard Palazzo, president and chief executive officer of Con-Way Central Express. “Our east to west coverage within Canada will span over 2,800 miles (4,480 km) and we’ll bring four-day delivery between the major urban areas at both ends.”
Palazzo refused to be pinned to a number on the value of the investment. “I will say it is a significant investment in Canada, in Canadian employees, Canadian equipment. And I wouldn’t be wrong to say in the millions.”
In terms of reaching the Canadian marketplace, the move pushes CCX into 22 of the country’s 25 largest urban markets.
Customer demand for a more comprehensive service has been driven, in turn, by the red-hot North American economy. And given the fact the economy has been hot for some time, it is a wonder Con-Way waited to expand its reach in Canada until now, while other big U.S. LTL carriers like J.B. Hunt and Schneider National dove right in.
“Rather than using terms like ‘wait’, I think we are just capitalizing on what we feel is the right time and the right expansion,” Newby said.
“There were a number of factors,” Palazzo added. “A big one was customer desire, customer request. Another big on was NAFTA. There has been a lot of sorting out of NAFTA in the last two years. And the growth in JIT (just-in-time delivery); JIT is a driver in our industry. When you look at those three things, that got us to where we are today.”
Con-Way Central Express is a component company of Con-Way Transportation Services, a $1.9-billion transportation company. Within the Con-Way group of companies are regional LTL carriers Con-Way Central Express, Con-Way Southern Express and Con-Way Western Express; Con-Way Truckload Services; Con-Way NOW, specializing in emergency shipment services; and Con-Way Integrated Services, a contract supply chain execution service provider.
Con-Way Transportation, in turn, is a subsidiary of Palo Alto, Ca.-based CNF, a $5.6-billion service with businesses in regional trucking, air freight, ocean freight, customs brokerage, global logistics management and trailer management.
Con-Way first established service centers in Ontario in 1992 in Toronto, London, Windsor, Niagara Falls and Ottawa. In 1996, the company added centers in Windsor, Hamilton, Barrie, and Ottawa in Ontario, and Montreal, Quebec City, Trois Rivieres and Sherbrooke in Quebec. In 1998, CCX added service centers in Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Ont. and North Bay, Ont.
Con-Way operates a fleet of 1,500 company-owned Sterling trucks, all manufactured in St. Thomas, Ont. n
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