TFI International tops Canada’s Top 100 fleet ranking

The complete list of Top 100 for-hire carriers appears in the May edition of Today’s Trucking.

TORONTO, Ont. – The Today’s Trucking Top 100 is the definitive ranking of for-hire fleet sizes in Canada, and TFI International has topped the annual list once again. But there are changes this year – even within the Top 5.

Canadian National’s purchase of the TransX Group of Companies ensured a tight hold on the second position. Alberta’s Mullen Group ranked third, followed by New Brunswick-based Day & Ross, and Ontario-headquartered Canada Cartage.

Rankings are based on reported totals of straight trucks, tractors and trailers.

The full list appears in the May edition of Today’s Trucking. The following were ranked as the Top 5:

1-2019 ranking (1-2018 ranking)

TFI International
Saint-Laurent, Que.

Trucks: 2,209
Tractors: 6,578
Trailers: 26,581
OO: 8,568
Employees: 17,026
Rating sum: 35,368
Services: Truckload, LTL, Dedicated Contract, Expedited, Intermodal, Temperature Controlled, Bulk, Tanker, Warehousing

TFI International is undeniably Canada’s largest for-hire fleet, and it continues to demonstrate an aggressive growth strategy.

Chairman, president and CEO Alain Bedard said in a recent call with analysts that the fleet invested $150 million in acquisitions during 2018 — and projected another $200 million during the year to come.

Normandin Transit of Napierville, Que., was one of the biggest Canadian deals, featuring more than 300 tractors and 1,000 trailers to bolster truckload and less-than-truckload activities.

Not every deal involved dry vans, though. One of the most recent fleets to adopt TFI’s red swoosh was Schilli Corporation, which specializes in bulk loads hauled throughout the U.S. Midwest, Southeast, and Gulf Coast regions. When independent contractors are included in the totals it accounts for more than 340 tractors and 500 trailers.

Ontario-based Gorski Bulk Transport and Toronto Tank Lines joined the TFI family, too.

As for the deals to come, Bedard said they will likely be small in nature. Buying back TFII stock is an alternative, he added.

2 (2)

Canadian National Transportation
Montreal, Que.

Trucks: 0
Tractors: 1,150
Trailers: 7,500
OO: 1,150
Employees: 100
Rating sum: 8,650
Truckload, Intermodal


7 (6)

TransX Group of Companies
Winnipeg, Man.

Trucks: 71
Tractors: 1,390
Trailers: 4,795
OO: 776
Employees: 2,195
Rating sum: 6,256
Truckload, LTL, Dedicated Contract, Intermodal, Temperature Controlled, Bulk

The biggest single shakeup in this year’s Top 100 ranking involved Canadian National (CN), which acquired the TransX Group of Companies.

The deal was first announced Oct. 30 and closed this spring.

The businesses were hardly strangers, though. They had been supply chain partners for years, said Keith Reardon, CN senior vice-president – consumer products supply chain growth.

“This transaction will support the safe and efficient movement of our customers’ goods to their end markets in a fast-growing consumer economy,” added JJ Ruest, CN president and chief executive officer.

TransX continues to operate independently out of Winnipeg, Man.

3 (3)

Mullen Group
Okotoks, Alta.

Trucks: 1,515
Tractors: 3,372
Trailers: 8,537
OO: 1,099
Employees: 4,709
Rating sum: 13,424
Services: Truckload, LTL, Dedicated Contract, Expedited, Intermodal, Temperature Controlled, Bulk, Tanker, Warehousing

Struggles in Canada’s oil patch have not been kind to Mullen Group. Chairman and CEO Murray Mullen referred to conditions in late 2018 as nothing less than a “market meltdown”.

But the company’s trucking and logistics activity has been a saving grace. Mullen’s truckload segment alone saw annual revenue increase 14.7% to a record $873.3 million. Adjusted net income for 2018 was up 46.9% to $62 million.

Corporate acquisitions in the past year included DWS Logistics of Mississauga, Ont., a third-party logistics and warehousing service with distribution centers in the Greater Toronto Area and B.C.’s lower mainland. The deal included more than 500,000 sq-ft of warehouse space.

This hardly means that Mullen has abandoned trucking-related investments to serve the oil sector. The company also acquired Canadian Hydrovac, which serves midstream, pipeline, construction, and municipal clients in Western Canada.

Another deal included AECOM’s Canadian Industrial Services Division, featuring more than 250 pieces of equipment including pressure trucks, hydrovacs, vacuum trucks, combo units, and fluid hauling equipment.

4 (4)

Day & Ross
Hartland, N.B.

Trucks: 625
Tractors: 2,027
Trailers: 6,070
OO: 1,961
Employees: 2,465
Rating sum: 8,722
Services: Truckload, LTL, Dedicated Contract, Expedited, Intermodal, Temperature Controlled, Bulk, Warehousing

Last year’s M&A activity at Day & Ross included the purchase of Alberta-based Stonehammer Transport.

“This acquisition in Western Canada is a significant complement to our eastern flatbed fleet, bolstering our national network to better serve our customers,” said CEO Bill Doherty.

Stonehammer operates in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C., servicing the energy, construction and power industries. Its fleet includes stepdecks, flatbed trucks, cargo trucks, and one-ton trucks.

But the company also invested in real estate. It opened a 5,000-sq.ft. terminal in Ottawa – its second in the area — to handle freight destined for surrounding rural areas and  originating from Toronto, Montreal, and Woodstock, Ont.

“We will continue to aggressively invest in our capabilities that allow us to deliver a good customer experience in a safe environment,” said president Doug Tingley.

It now has 40 terminals from coast to coast.

5 (10)

Canada Cartage
Mississauga, Ont.

Trucks: 444
Tractors: 2,313
Trailers: 4,386
OO: 857
Employees: 3,160
Rating sum: 7,143
Services: Truckload, LTL, Dedicated Contract, Expedited, Intermodal, Temperature Controlled, Bulk, Tanker, Warehousing

Canada Cartage, one of the nation’s largest dedicated contract carriers, rounds out the Top 5 in our annual list – and it also has a new home in Mississauga, Ont.

The fleet opened a new terminal at 6767 Davand Dr., complete with 24,000 sq.ft. of office space and 50,000-sq.ft cross dock with 66 doors.

It was the third terminal expansion in just 18 months.

“Despite challenging times in the industry, Canada Cartage continues to expand, which is a true testament to our staff and the transportation services we offer,” said president and CEO Jeff Lindsay.

The fleet now has 18 terminals and six distribution centers, as well as cross-border freight consolidation partners.

The complete list of the Top 100 carriers appears in the May edition of Today’s Trucking magazine.

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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