Truck News


Top Tier (January 01, 2008)

Our third annual Top Tier report offering a comprehensive look at the nation's largest for-hire carriers, finds an industry in the midst of transition. The heady growth in freight volumes, rates and f...

Our third annual Top Tier report offering a comprehensive look at the nation’s largest for-hire carriers, finds an industry in the midst of transition. The heady growth in freight volumes, rates and fleet sizes of recent years seem almost a distant memory as carriers adjust to a decline in freight volumes that threatens to get worse before it gets better. The drop in freight volumes which first surfaced in the trucking sector in the summer of 2006 has now spread to rail and intermodal volumes as the uncertainty about what 2008 will bring continues.

The combination of weak freight, softer rates, persistently high costs, and, in some cases, tighter credit, are causing many carriers to focus on shrinking rather than growing their fleets.

No doubt the uncertainty of freight volumes is having an impact on stock market valuations of many transportation providers. But, just as Ottawa’s move two years ago to curb the growing trend towards income trusts did not significantly slow down merger and acquisition plans among Canada’s largest fleets, neither has the downturn in valuations.

There were 145 US or Canadian transportation-related M&A transactions in 2007, a slight increase from the previous year, according to market analysts BMO Capital Markets. Trucking companies accounted for more than a quarter of those transactions and the experts at BMO think there is more to come.

“We believe that many potential strategic buyers are examining their current financial condition and if positioned properly, are viewing the current revaluation of competitors as an opportunity to acquire key strategic assets at an attractive price,” they note in their monthly report on the industry, adding that private equity buyers will continue to be opportunistic, buying platforms that they feel have good prospects for growth and look for value recapture when freight markets recover.

To help you keep up with the latest developments among the nation’s largest carriers, in the following pages you will find detailed and up-to-date information about the capacity and capabilities of the 100 largest for-hire motor carriers in Canada.

An additional feature this year is a report on the fleets owned by two of most aggressive acquirers in recent years, Transforce and Contrans.

This comprehensive guide is not intended as a mere tally of vehicle counts. In fact, we have chosen not to list the top 100 carriers by size. The top 100 carriers are listed in alphabetical order because we believe that after a certain threshold, optimum fleet size is a reflection of the different markets these fleets are meant to serve.

I would also like to thank the sponsors of our Top Tier report, Peoplenet Communications, Mack Canada and Castrol Heavy Duty Lubricants for their support. Their support is instrumental in helping us deliver such a comprehensive report.

We hope our report serves as a tool not only for the largest carriers to keep tabs on their competitors but also as a tool for the smaller and medium-sized fleets to contrast their buying strategies with the industry’s largest and gain a fuller understanding of the trends and issues they can expect to deal with in future years.


From the Sponsors

PeopleNet is the leading mobile communications and onboard computing provider in the Canadian marketplace. Serving the unique and specific needs of fleets coast-to-coast and throughout Canada, PeopleNet is known for the customer-driven innovation, unparalleled flexibility, leading edge technology and proactive customer care that gives fleets a real business edge.

One of the truly unique benefits of the PeopleNet system is modularity. The ability to custom-assemble an in-cab communications system that addresses your particular business needs is an industry first.

The PeopleNet system can include an onboard computer with an unequalled three-year warranty, message display, voice handset, PerformX engine diagnostics program and keyboard.

Mack Canada Inc. has been serving the needs of the fleet market in Canada since 1921. Over the years, Mack has built up an extensive dealer network of almost 100 sales, parts and service locations across the country.

Many truckers and fleet owners started their careers and businesses with Mack B models and R models. The Mack Vision models also became very popular in the 1990s and now Mack has introduced a new engine and a new model that replaces the Vision.

The Mack Pinnacle, with its redesigned interior and bigger cab, is an ideal fleet truck that is available in both daycab and sleeper configurations. The all new Mack MP series of engines which provide more power and better fuel economy are also well suited for both local and long haul fleets. Mack is also one of the first truck manufacturers to make anti roll stability a standard feature on all of its 2008 highway truck models.

While Castrol is well known to most people around the world as the lubricant of choice for their car, pick-up truck or SUV, some people may not be as familiar with Castrol’s ground-breaking products for the Commercial/Heavy-Duty marketplace. Whether on-road or off-road, Castrol has developed a complete line of unique commercial lubricants that is second to none when it comes to protecting the vehicle investment of the owner/operator, commercial fleet or mining corporation.

Castrol’s HeavyDuty lubricants are designed for the single purpose of making your fleet as reliable and profitable as possible. By understanding the increasing technological demands of today’s engines, and working directly with OEM manufacturers, Castrol has employed the latest information, along with our extensive knowledge of commercial lubricants to develop a full line of products to help you get the most out of your equipment. Congratulations to all Top Tier 100 fleets highlighted and continued success in 2008.

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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