IN PRINT — Bulk Buyer: Don Daseke
STEINBACH, MB -- Big Freight Systems wasn't for sale. The Coleman family had been running the business since 1948, when they bought South East Transfer in Steinbach, Manitoba. Chief Executive Officer Gary Coleman was focused entirely on finding ways to grow. When a courier package arrived from Don Daseke, proposing a potential sale, he simply filed it away. But Daseke persisted. The pair met in person. And this spring Big Freight Systems became the first Canadian operation in Daseke Inc.'s expanding family of specialized, flatbed carriers. "His philosophy on business, his philosophy on people, his philosophy in terms of driving success forward through collaboration, all ran very close to me," Coleman recalls. "I got comfortable with his long-term plan." That plan is to consolidate fleets in an industry sector dominated by family-owned businesses. The Texas entrepreneur has secured more than 3,800 trucks and 8,200 trailers so far, accounting for about 1% of what Daseke estimates is a US $133 billion market. The business reported $30 million in revenue in 2009, growing to a pro forma of $869 million last year. And more acquisitions are in the works. Daseke refers to himself as an accidental trucker. He began his career as an auditor, held roles at IBM, and later built a residential real estate business that sold for US $1.7 billion. He first invested in trucking nine years ago only after a friend introduced him to Smokey Point Distributing, which specialized in aviation cargo. That became the first of today's 13 operating companies.
Freight volumes, rates to rise in ’18: Analysts
MISSISSAUGA, ON - The coming year appears to hold the promise of a growing economy, tighter capacity, and ultimately higher rates for those who haul freight. "When you have the economy doing reasonably well, transportation tends to be generally picking up," said Carlos Gomes, senior economist - Scotiabank, in a presentation during the Surface Transportation Summit in Mississauga, Ontario. He projects economic growth of about 2% in 2018, compared to the 3% seen in 2017. "The Canadian economy recently has been very strong," agreed Walter Spracklin, equity research analyst - transportation sector at RBC Capital Markets. But where railways have enjoyed higher volumes against the backdrop of recent growth, trucks didn't fare quite as well. Railway volumes surged in part because of the demand for fracking sand, feeding into the 6.5% boost in overall freight that moved over iron highways, he said. Intermodal freight volumes are growing as well, although grain volumes are likely to drop when compared to the strong crops of 2016. Of the Canadian railways, CN is seeing capacity tighten, leading to congestion challenges and a projected boost in capital spending.
IN PRINT — Top Trends: Issues that are reshaping Canada’s biggest carriers
Meyers Transport is gone. After 90 years in -business, and decades on Today's Trucking's Top 100 list of Canada's largest for-hire carriers, the -eastern Ontario fleet shut its doors in mid-January. High capacity and aggressive rate cutting in the Less-than-Truckload (LTL) sector were blamed along with a general downturn in the region's industrial activity. "It is sad to think there won't be any trucks and trailers going up and down the road with 'Meyers' on it anymore," observed chairwoman Natalie Meyers, part of the fourth generation in the family business. The family's Mortrans truckload and dedicated -specialty service continues, as does Mosaic Logistics, but 190 people lost their jobs.