Cornwall, Ontario – After winning the Canadian Shipper’s, Shipper’s Choice Award for 5 consecutive years, local transport company, Seaway Express is now a designated Carrier of Choice.
This award was presented in July by national transportation magazine, Canadian Shipper. Shippers are asked to rank the importance of eight criteria, this includes on-time performance, competitive pricing and customer service.
From there, they rank their carrier based on the criteria. Carriers receive the Shipper’s Choice Award when their total score meets or surpasses the total Benchmark of Excellence.
This is not an easy award to win – especially 5 times in a row.
“Being recognized as a Carrier of Choice alongside some of Canada’s largest transport companies, is a great honour,” says Melanie Hamel, General Manager of Seaway Express. “This award puts our Cornwall-based company on the map for national partners looking for transportation services in this area.”
Ms. Hamel credits Seaway Express’s dedicated employees for the award.
“Our customer-driven team at Seaway Express is the reason for this win,” says Ms. Hamel. “This award would not be possible without all players involved.”
Canadian Shipper is written for Canadian supply chain professionals, with a focus on the transportation link of the supply chain. Editorial content includes news and analysis, industry profiles, geographic market reports, and analysis of issues and trends affecting supply chains either within Canada, or in the broader global theatre. Canadian Shipper introduced the Shipper’s Choice Awards in 2002 and they have been awarded annually since then.
This year 34 carriers managed to surpass the Benchmark of Excellence, of which only 15 earned the “Carrier of Choice” designation.
“Transportation service providers constitute a critical link to the supply chain and their ability to meet shipper demands for constant improvement is crucial to supply chain effectiveness,” said Lou Smyrlis, managing director of the Supply Chain Group for Newcom Media.
About Seaway Express
Seaway Express provides reliable and efficient overnight transport service between Eastern Ontario and Québec. Beginning as a one truck operation, Seaway Express has grown over the years to its present fleet of over 70 tractors and trailers and 50 employees. Equipment includes straight trucks, tractors, trailers as well as container chassis. Seaway has expanded its service with warehousing and distribution into local distribution centers for Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart.
We are pleased to announce that Seaway Express has closed on the purchase of 525 Education Road. This facility of 160,000 square feet will be used as additional warehouse space for lease to current and potential customers.
Seaway Express names Steven Lindsay Business Development Manager
Cornwall – Entering into its 27th year, Bob Gauthier, President of Seaway Express is pleased to announce Steven Lindsay has joined the team as Business Development Manager.
Steven is equipped with a wealth of industry knowledge having spent the last 24 years in either Transport or Courier. Most recently, he was the Director of Sales for Meyers Transport. He has worked over the years at Loomis/DHL, ATS (T-Force) and spent six years with ABF Freight (three of which were in Syracuse, NY).
Steven is essentially a “hybrid” – holding positions as Branch Manager, Sales Manager and General Manager throughout his successful career. Steven is professional and instills a lot of positive energy which will add value to Seaway’s ever growing client base.
About Seaway Express:
Seaway Express was established in 1990 to provide reliable and efficient overnight transport service between Eastern Ontario and Québec. Beginning as a one truck operation, Seaway Express has grown over the years to its present fleet of over 70 tractors and trailers and 50 employees. Equipment includes straight trucks, tractors, trailers as well as container chassis. Seaway has expanded its service with warehousing and distribution into local distribution centers such as Walmart’s SCM and Shoppers Drug Mart’s Matrix. As the closest trucking terminal to these warehouses, Seaway is able to provide quality on time service. Visit their website at www.seawayexpress.ca for more information.
Meet the people who are bringing energy, tech smarts and, fresh ideas to the trucking industry
20 under 40
By Melanie Hamel
I am on assignment. I have been entrusted with putting together the introduction for this year’s 20 under 40. I was given a sneak peek at a handful of the articles you are about to read. These young people from across Canada are dynamic, driven, and have a passion for the trucking industry. There are a few points from this year’s profiles that resonate with me. I agree with Brian Easson from Kentville, NS about the gratification that comes with meeting other young people at association events. I just completed the final module of the Ontario Trucking Association’s (OTA) Next Generation Leadership program where I had the opportunity to learn valuable leadership skills alongside a passionate group of individuals. At last year’s OTA Convention, I met many of my fellow 20 Under 40’s and it was refreshing to speak to other young people who are in this same business. Like Geoffrey Joseph (fellow Next Gen class of 2015) who was dropping off his kids at swimming lessons while being interviewed for his profile — they too are juggling their careers and young families. It is an exciting time in the trucking industry. Our generation is learning so much about this business from the previous generation, but they too are learning from us. You will read about young people who have the energy, technology-smarts and fresh ideas to change the way we do business.
Bob Hancik’s story was the profile that reminded me most of my family’s business. Hancik started out as a one-truck operation and today, his three sons are involved in all areas. I can relate as my father, Bob Gauthier, started Seaway Express with a single truck and I have been part of the team since my first summer in University — 10 years ago. In June, we celebrated our 25th anniversary so it is fair to say the trucking business has been a big part of our family. I cannot vouch for the Hancik boys, but our family has had many dinner table “shop talks” and has spent the odd Saturday mornings at the warehouse. Whether this year’s group of 20 has grown up in the trucking business or not, the common values of integrity and hard work can be found in these profiles. After reading this year’s 20 under 40, you will be assured that the future of our industry is in good hands. Something tells me that trucking may already be in my one-year-old son’s blood. When I ask him to back up so I can put his shoes on — he moves backwards while saying “Beep … beep … beep.” Should he choose to join this business and be a part of Today’s Trucking’s 20 under 40 in year 2039, I could not be more proud.
Melanie Hamel who graduated from Carleton University with a degree in Journalism, is General Manager at Seaway Express of Cornwall, ON. Profiles, unless otherwise indicated were produced by Today’s Trucking Staff.
There is no shortage of father and son stories when we talk about trucking. You know the story – Dad stumbles into trucking looking for work way back when, loves the open road and being able to be behind the wheel of a big rig, Son follows in Dad’s footsteps and chooses trucking as his career – but that’s not how the story of Seaway Express, a fleet based out of Cornwall, Ont. goes.
Back in May 1990, Bob Gauthier, an experienced dispatcher, and his wife Linda started Seaway Express with just a five-ton truck and their home office. Their goal was to provide overnight transport between Eastern Ontario and Quebec, a corridor they believed wasn’t covered as well as it should be. Today, the business – which just celebrated its 25th anniversary – is flourishing and is in the very capable hands of Gauthier’s daughter, Melanie Hamel.
To date, the company boasts 25 trucks, 55 employees, 60 trailers and a truckload of awards to boot.
It has been named Business of the Year by Cornwall’s Chamber of Commerce twice, has won the Award of Excellence in Entrepreneurship by the Ontario Trucking Association, and in 1999, the company was dubbed an “Excellent” rated carrier by the MTO. This rating, according to the company, has remained unchanged to this date.
The company hauls mostly general freight or as Hamel puts it, “anything that goes into a Wal-Mart store.”
Hamel is currently Seaway’s general manager, and while her parents are still very much involved in the family business, she seems to be running the show
She admits that though trucking wasn’t her first career option (she went to journalism school, initially) it was always in the back of her mind because of the family business.
“My start in trucking started when I was a kid,” she said. “It’s a family company so my siblings and I have all worked here at some point. We would always have conversations about work and trucking around the dinner table, so it was always there.”
And though her career at Seaway started in between university semesters in the summer, she now handles everything from marketing to human resources to safety at Seaway.
“I do a little bit of everything, really,” she said.
The company’s success, according to Hamel is two-fold: its unique location and its people.
“I think we’ve been so successful because we’re very good in the area that we cover,” she said. “We’re the triangle of Cornwall, Ottawa and Montreal. We’ve always stayed within that area, so we’ve learned how to do a great job within that small niche market. And I also think that customer service is the number one reason why we’ve been doing so well. We have great people, great staff, great drivers and because of all the team work involved, we’re able to succeed in the area that we cover.”
Hamel added that her father credits the company’s success to some key customers that joined his venture back in 1990.
“When the company first started, there were a few key customers that (my dad) credits to building the success of Seaway,” she said. “The customers took a chance with him, and took him on as their carrier and as a result, it led to buying a bigger truck, and from there (my parents) were able to buy a 53-ft. trailer and grow the business – by first renting out a warehouse, then eventually buying a warehouse.”
Though Seaway is doing incredibly well, it isn’t immune to the same problems that seem to be strangling the industry.
Hamel said the changing economy is a concern for her business, as well as the trend of companies growing their distribution centres.
“Having less raw materials to move is certainly a concern,” she said. “Another concern is larger box stores controlling their transportation with their own private fleets. This makes it difficult to us to compete.”
One trend that isn’t affecting Seaway is the driver shortage, partly because of the nature of company, which doesn’t do any long-haul work.
“I know finding qualified drivers is certainly a trend in the industry, but we’re pretty lucky,” Hamel said. “We’ve got great drivers and once they get on board, they stay, so our turnover is quite low because drivers are able to be home for supper. We don’t do any long-haul so they’re able to be home.”
Hamel added that the company’s approach to its drivers is a definite reason as to why they aren’t going anywhere.
“We think that as long as we treat the employees right, they’ll stay and that’s what we noticed,” she said. “And so even though we know there is a difficulty to find qualified drivers, we’ve been lucky to have a great team and they’ve stuck around. It’s a great environment here, and I think everyone is really respectful. I think everybody enjoys what they’re doing. I think just our overall culture at the company is to be as efficient and customer-driven and I think everyone here, from our dispatchers to our drivers get that. Everyone works hard to represent Seaway as best as they can.”
Seaway celebrated its 25th anniversary in June with a customer appreciation BBQ where local dignitaries and customers were invited to toast the staff for their hard work over the years.
“Some of the very first customers and employees and people who took a chance on Seaway were invited to the BBQ,” said Hamel. “And it was a great success, we had a great turn out. It was a great way to celebrate our 25th and later in the afternoon we held an employee appreciation BBQ so all the staff and their families came.”
As for the next 25 years, Hamel is certain that the future of Seaway and the future of trucking is a bright one.
“I think transportation will always be needed,” she said.
“I think at the end of the day everything needs to be transported to a final destination, so I don’t think the future of trucking is dismal in any way. I’m optimistic that trucking will be needed for a very long time.”
The results are in for this year’s national transportation survey – The Shipper’s Choice Awards. Seaway Express did exceptionally well in the LTL category, ranking 1st place overall, based on customer surveys. We took the top spot in the following 5 of the 8 categories:
Quality of equipment and operations
Sustainable transportation practices
Putting on Muscle
There were more than 3.700 evaluations cast by Canadian shippers for the LTL category. Customer service is considered highly important for shippers purchasing LTL transportation, ranking just behind on-time performance and competitive pricing. In fact, the customer service expectations for LTL are the second highest among all the modes in the survey but LTL carriers appear to be delivering on that score – the LTL mode receives the second highest customer service ratings of all the modes.
The buyers of transporation responding to our survey were quite satisfied with the competitive pricing performance of their LTL carriers, ranking this mode’s performance on that KPI better than any other mode other than TL trucking. However, satisfaction with pricing is likely to comer under considerable pressure as the LTL sector pulls back into balanced capacity, which can only cause upward pressure on pricing. Our research shows that 42% of shippers expect to boost their use of LTL services this year while one in five expect this mode to hold the greatest pricing power in 2015.
Thirteen carriers surpassed our Benchmark of Excellence this year, a drop from the 18 who did last year.
LTL winners and their scores for each of our eight KPIs are shown in the table below. The bottom row of the table shows this mode’s Benchmark of Excellence for each KPI. The total Benchmark of Excellence is indicated on the top right. The winners are shown in alphabetical order and only those scoring above the total Benchmark of Excellence are included.
CORNWALL, Ontario – The family-run company that started as an overnight transport service between eastern Ontario and Quebec with a single five-ton truck is celebrating 25 years in the fast
From left are Ian McLeod, Mayor of South Glengarry, Linda Gauthier, Seaway Express, Bob Gauthier, Seaway Express, Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, Leslie O’Shaughnessy, Mayor of Cornwall, and Melanie Hamel, Seaway Express at the transport company’s 25th anniversary celebration event on Thursday, June 11, 2015.
Founded in May 1990 by Bob and Linda Gauthier, Seaway Express has grown to a fleet of 25 trucks and 55 employees, with drivers, dock workers, office staff and in-house mechanics, in addition to cross-dock facilities and managing 200,000 square feet of warehousing space.
“We have the same equipment and trucks as other companies,” said Bob Gauthier. “What really sets us apart is the quality of our team. You get the best people in the business, treat them well and with respect and let them shine. I’m just the coach.”
For the second year in a row, the trucking company recently won the Canadian Transportation & Logistics magazine’s Shipper’s Choice Award.
In 2010, Seaway Express welcomed the next generation when Melanie Hamel began working alongside her father as a sales & marketing representative.
The now-general manager, who has a degree in journalism and business from Carleton University, was recently profiled in Today’s Trucking magazine’s ‘20 under 40’ feature.
Since 1999, Seaway Express has held an unflinching 97 per cent safety excellence rating with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO). Its headquarters also sits among some of the biggest distribution centers in Ontario.
Cornwall Ontario – One of Cornwall’s fastest growing companies turns 25 this year.
Seaway Express was founded in May 1990 by Bob and Linda Gauthier with a 5-ton truck and a goal to provide reliable and efficient overnight transport service between Eastern Ontario and Quebec.
Today, the company now has a fleet of 25 trucks, employs 55 people and operates a number of warehouse and cross-dock facilties. Company founder Bob Gauthier attributes his success over the years to his team of dedicated drivers, dock workers, office staff and in-house mechanics.
“We have the same equipment and trucks as other companies,” says Mr. Gauthier, “What really sets us apart is the quality of our team. You get the best people in the business, treat them well and with respect and let them shine. I’m just the coach.”
Safety is one of Gauthier’s primary concerns and he strives to maintain his company’s enviable record. In 1999, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation performed an audit and gave Seaway Express an “Excellent” rating with a score of 97%. The rating has remained unchanged to this date. It is one of just many remarkable achievements.
Over the years, Seaway has also increased its real estate footprint in the Cornwall Business Park. The company is currently managing 200,000 square feet of warehousing space – allowing for more opportunities to better service their customers.
The Next Generation
In 2010, Melanie Hamel officially joined the company to work alongside her father. She was recently profiled in Today’s Trucking Magazine’s “20 under 40” feature, where she is a proud promoter of Cornwall’s business community. Each Seaway Express truck carries a ChooseCornwall.ca sticker on the back.
“I believe it’s important to support the community in which you and your colleagues live,” says Ms. Hamel.
Cornwall’s continuing growth as a distribution hub for Central and Eastern Canada bodes well for the next 25 years. As a local 3PL company, Seaway Express can help companies avoid inconvenient appointments at the big distribution centres in the area. Companies can leave their freight with Seaway Express, knowing that the goods will get to their destination on-time.
Still, running a successful business is something that you can never take for granted. Melanie and her father Bob continue to work with their staff to secure new business and keep existing customers happy.
“Being able to communicate clearly and concisely is extremely important; and that includes listening to what people ar concerned about,” says Ms. Hamel.
About Seaway Express
Seaway Express has been recognized a number of times by its peers for business excellence. These awards include:
2015 – Shipper’s Choice Award Winner, Canadian Transportation & Logistics Magazine
2015 – Melanie Hamel featured in Today’s Trucking Magazine’s “20 under 40”
2014 – Shipper’s Choice Award Winner, Canadian Transportation & Logistics Magazine
2009 – Business of the Year, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce
2003 – Award of Excellence in Entrepreneurship, Ontario Trucking Association
1999 – “Excellent” rated carrier, MTO (Rating has remained unchanged to this date)
1997 – Small Business of the Year, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce
More information can be found online: seawayexpress.ca