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Canadian carrier ‘plays to win’ with acquisition during pandemic slowdown

Ontario-based Joseph Haulage buys Bergland Transport to build on its growing business serving agriculture and food sectors.

Joseph Haulage Canada, based in Ontario, has a fleet of about 350. (Photo: Joseph Haulage Canada)

Canadian carrier Joseph Haulage Canada has acquired Bergland Transport, a small cross-border trucking company serving the agriculture and food sectors.

The Ontario-based carriers closed the deal on Friday. The acquisition builds on Joseph’s diverse fleet of 350 trucks, which handle haulage and specialized bulk transport.

The deal marks one of the few acquisitions amid the slowdown in Canadian transport M&A activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have a motto: We should never let a crisis go to waste. We’re still in the play-to-win mode, not the play-to-lose mode,” Joseph CEO Geoffrey Joseph told FreightWaves.

Bergland, with about 30 power units, serves agriculture and food-processing companies in the U.S. and Canada. The deal’s origins predated the pandemic, but the surge in demand for food and agriculture products made the acquisition all the more important.

“[Begland] was doing quite well,” Joseph said. “Everyone is buying food.”

In contrast, Joseph Haulage temporarily laid off 40 employees in March. The company rehired them with assistance from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program.

The carrier also has plans to expand from the Bergland acquisition.

“Our goal in the next three years is to triple that business,” Joseph said.

Left Lane Associates was the sale adviser for Bergland.

One Comment

  1. Stephen Webster

    I wonder how many trucking companies got wages subsidy then were in a better position to buy a small trucking company or equipment that was behind on the payments. I know of 3 companies in Ontario Canada that have done this. Many small trucking companies and owner ops with their own insurance and authorities are being forced out by high insurance costs in Ontario and low rates from C T A or O .T.A membership that got Federal Government money.

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Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected]