CALGARY, Alta. — They may consider themselves a “small growth company,” but that doesn’t mean J&R Hall Transport doesn’t pull their own weight.
J&R Hall has seen its fair share of expansion over the years since John T. Hall launched the company hauling livestock for local farmers in the 1940s. The business grew as fast as the decades passed, starting with an expansion in the ‘50s into farm products, sand, and gravel thanks to the addition of John’s son, Robert Hall.
The ‘60s brought more than revolutionary rock music and free-spirited attitudes for J&R Hall Transport, with the carrier adding vans to its fleet and moving hospital furniture across the country.
Then, in 1982, John’s other son, Jeff Hall, joined the family business, first as a driver and now as the company president.
Since Jeff stepped into the leadership role, J&R Hall has seen several key employees welcomed to the business, including current vice-president Andy Hall and Jeff’s sons Cody and Dylan as the fourth generation from the Hall family to work for the company.
“The success of our company is due to our staff,” said Jeff. “Our company has been built on strong family values and employs many long-term people.”
J&R Hall’s success would be a difficult claim to dispute. The company was ranked in the Top 100 fastest growing companies in the early ‘90s, a time when they opened their first terminal in Western Canada.
Expansion came not only from the company’s growing employment base. J&R Hall’s head office is in Ayr, Ont., but its remaining terminals are all based in Western Canada.
The first opened in Vancouver in 1993. Next was Calgary in 1999 and Edmonton seven years later. The Winnipeg terminal launched in 2013 and this past January, Saskatoon got its very own J&R Hall Transport terminal.
“Each expansion allowed us to improve our customer service and adds value for our customers, along with improving our efficiency and driver satisfaction,” said Daryl McComb, J&R Hall’s western regional manager.
As McComb points out, one of the company’s recent accomplishments was constructing and moving their Vancouver terminal to a more modern location in Abbotsford, B.C.
But with expansion comes challenges.
“We moved from within the Greater Vancouver Area, so maintaining our pick-ups and delivery schedule from Abbotsford was an adjustment,” said McComb. “We added staff, trucks, and expanded our hours of operation to accommodate.”
Increased volumes across Western Canada has also posed challenges of late, and with the addition of the Saskatoon terminal, more nightly switches between the Alberta and B.C. locations, and more use of LCVs across the Prairies, the company looks to clear that hurdle.
Fortunately for J&R Hall, the Alberta downturn had minimal effect on its bottom line.
“We have a diverse customer base spread across several industries that help to keep the peaks and valleys in our business minimal,” said McComb. “That being said, there’s no question we are seeing a stronger freight market, not only in the west but across the country.”
Safety is also a top priority for J&R Hall Transport.
The company has been voted one of the Top Fleet Employers by Trucking HR Canada in 2015 and 2016, and received one of the highest carrier safety ratings in Canada.
“Less than 0.5% of carriers in Canada have ever achieved an excellent rating and we are proud to be among the 0.5%,” said McComb.
Since its early growth, J&R Hall has eased the brakes on its speedy expansion. With strategically located terminals across Western Canada, 85 tractors, 200 trailers, and close to 120 drivers, the company provides expedited over-the-road, LTL, and FTL transportation services across Canada with a focus on points in Western Canada and Toronto.
All of their trailers are 53’ high cube tandem dry vans. They offer heated service in the winter months and in the west provide overnight services between Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.
“We specialize in transportation of high value products and expedited service,” Jeff said. “We operate many team and single drivers and all late model equipment.”
Each of J&R Hall’s tractors is equipped with logistics tracking, satellite contact for superior communication, and use electronic logging devices.
This type of technology, new equipment, competitive pay, driver friendly facilities, and a family-friendly atmosphere has helped the company attract quality drivers despite a dip in the number available.
“We have our dispatchers work as hard for the driver as they would for a customer or the company,” said McComb. “They work extremely hard to maximize their miles and maximize their home time.”
These efforts have made it possible for J&R Hall to attract new drivers by word of mouth, something McComb said the company is proud to be able to do.
“We are also very transparent during the interview process about who we are and what we do,” he said. “This helps to make sure the relationship will be a good fit for both the driver and the company.”