Always on the Move
Joseph Haulage Canada
As one of Canada’s premier bulk transportation providers, Joseph Haulage Canada Corp’s reputation for trustworthy, intelligent logistics precedes it across North America.
Even mid-pandemic, professional haulage has held the fabric of North American trade together by delivering essential goods from one side of the continent to another. With over 300 state-of-the-art trucks and trailers and around the same number of expert employees, this tightly-knit family firm, headquartered in Stoney Creek, Ontario, delivers when clients’ timelines and budgets matter.
Keeping ahead of trends and ensuring that its clients’ logistics are optimized according to the latest standards and technology are only two of the complications that this company navigates with ease. “I don’t like comfort zones, which is why, as a company, we like taking on new challenges,” says President Geoff Joseph. As one of Canada’s 500 fastest-growing companies for four consecutive years, the firm proves that this attitude provides a sweet spot where prosperity and innovation balance.
At the heart of its drive for perpetual improvement is a commitment to serve its clients well and be accountable. Its employees have access to the best technology available to the industry, making Joseph Haulage a leader in its field. This is important as haulage is not simply about moving goods from point A to point B and beyond; instead, the quality and efficiency of its behind-the-scenes processes set this company apart from its competitors.
It is well known for moving soil, waste materials, and heavy and light oils throughout Ontario, the Great Lakes, the New York to Pennsylvania corridor, and further afield. February 1st, 2021, welcomes another new location in London, Ontario. When asked what makes the company so successful, Joseph is candid about the importance of getting the basics right. “We are big at showing up on time, with a professionally trained, uniformed driver in a clean truck. [This includes] achieving budgets and timelines to ensure our customers don’t face unforeseeable penalties and delays,” he says.
The company had strong growth in 2020, despite the difficulties many businesses faced. Its recent acquisition of Bergland Transport, a company perfectly united with Joseph Haulage’s values, has allowed it to move into the agricultural bulk transport sector. The company also secured a five-year waste haulage contract with Waste Management, Inc., the parent company of Waste Management of Canada.
Joseph Haulage has invested in a staggering 27 new custom trucks in collaboration with Paccar Peterbilt for drivers who were not able to invest in their own new vehicles. The purchase includes trailers from Titan Sales, and drivers could select options for their vehicles according to their needs and tastes. Titan Sales President Rob Ganiec and Joseph have worked together for over 25 years, and this project was a continuation of this longstanding relationship.
Changing economic situations and many issues have been overcome or adapted to by the firm through a careful balance of old and new. Tough times have given the management team the wisdom to grant employees the space needed to excel and the freedom in which to explore new technology that can enhance service.
Part of the company’s approach to recession-proofing the business is to focus on moving materials and substances that are always available for transportation and to ensure that its clients’ values always match its own. This tactic has seen the company flourish in even the hardest market drops. “We always make sure that we align ourselves with customers who share our values,” says Joseph.
The company’s divisions are structured to give clients access to all of its multi-modal transport services without having to jump through office bureaucracy. To ease flow between divisions, each department is staffed by a manager and logistics team, supported by a finance department and administrative team.
The company has several divisions, each of which focuses on a unique sector. The dumping division deals with sand, gravel, aggregates, soil, salt, compost, and hazardous waste. Its waste division deals with garbage, construction debris, and other waste. Heavy-duty cargo like machinery, roofing products, pre-cast products, lumber, and steel is moved by its flatbed transportation division. The tanker department takes care of liquids like oils, asphalt cement used in road surfaces, petroleum lubricants, and caustic chemicals. It also offers specialized tanker trailers that keep liquids at predetermined temperatures.
Joseph Haulage is a great place to work, and its people are considered its greatest asset. As a result, the company was chosen three years in a row as a ‘Top Fleet Employer’ by industry non-profit group Trucking HR Canada, and it has been on Canada’s list of 500 fastest-growing firms for four years running.
Despite the uncertainty that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, Joseph Haulage merged with Bergland while retaining more than 99 percent of all its staff and making safety a top concern throughout the year. “We make it a priority to adhere to our customers’ safety practices and policies, which are always in line with our safety culture. They also know that we’re reliable, so they’ll often approach one or more of our other divisions as well,” says Joseph.
The company also invests in its people’s futures by providing training and development programs as well as enough space for its managers to develop their skills and talents; there is no micromanagement here. Creativity and contributing ideas are encouraged so one can see why the company’s leadership insists that everyone is on board with the plans for its future development.
This company genuinely cares about its people, and staff members are encouraged to build their relationships independently of the office. Joseph Haulage highlights the importance of a healthy lifestyle for its employees, even renting a basketball court biweekly at a local gym where staff can play together.
There the list of charitable organizations supported by the company is also rather sizeable. Apart from donating over $100,000 to good causes annually, team members receive forty hours of paid volunteer time dedicated to good community causes. “[The paid volunteer time] totals roughly $150,000 in wages,” says Joseph.
“We give our people a lot of opportunity for career advancement. That includes any additional training they want. We always support them financially when it comes to learning,” Josef says. Other benefits include a profit-sharing pension plan.
Alongside great perks, there have been many great projects. These include several of the biggest soil projects around Ontario that moved up to one million loads of earth in very short timeframes. One of its best-known projects happened in preparation for the Pan Am Games of 2015 in Toronto, Canada. This project was so complex that the work was declined by several competitors, but Joseph Haulage made a great success of the contract.
Moving ahead, the company’s growth strategy comprises becoming a nation-wide carrier offering a range of dynamic carrier options including rail, vessel, and traditional methods. Between one to three annual mergers will continue to grow its reach and capabilities. Then, of course, the matter of COVID-19 appears to remain centre stage for the foreseeable future.
To this, Joseph’s response is pragmatic when he quotes motivational public speaker and self-development author Brian Tracy: “The true test of leadership is how you function in a crisis.” What is clear in our conversation is that, for now, the company will continue to put its people before profit. “Our team will remember us for making these tough decisions. We knew we were going to lose millions of dollars [by putting people first] but we were okay with that,” he adds.
Joseph Haulage has seen tremendous growth over the past few years, reaching fourth place in 2018 on the Canadian Business Growth 500 list with an 817 percent growth rate from 2012 to 2017. Through meticulous planning and tenacity, 2020 presented Joseph Haulage with 18 percent growth, despite its acquisitions and not laying off any staff. “We truly believe in the value of our people, and we will never lose sight of that,” says Joseph. For this reason, the company will continue to provide its staff with top-of-the-range tools and equipment.