Maple Leaf Motoring is a weekly rundown of developments in the world of Canadian transportation. This week: TFI buys speciality transportation firm, Mullen talks U.S. drug rules for cross-border, and CTA pushes for province-level ELD mandate.
TFI International (TSX:TFI), which reported record second quarter results this week, also disclosed that it had acquired Piston Tank Corporation, a U.S.-based firm that specializes in the transportation of viscous materials and also builds tanks.
TFI revealed the June 14 purchase in its long-form second-quarterly report.
Piston produces its own speciality tanks, which can transport materials ranging from caulk to chocolate.
Piston Tank Corporation had been a subsidiary of Schilli, the Missouri-based bulk transported that TFI purchased in February. It is unclear why it was not included as part of the Schilli deal.
While the acquisition is unlikely to significantly move the needle of TFI’s business, it does reflect an ongoing strategy to grow specialty transportation.
Mullen: U.S. drug testing rules affect cross-border drivers
The CEO Mullen Group (TSX:MLN), Murray Mullen, told analysts that U.S. drug testing rules were affecting some of its cross-border drivers.
“If you go to the U.S. you still must comply with the law,” Mullen said during a July 25 call about the company’s second quarter results. “It becomes complicated for people who can’t go to the US. It’s a strict law.”
“It becomes complicated for people who can’t go to the US. It’s a strict law.”Murray Mullen, CEO Mullen Group
Recreational cannabis has been legal in Canada since October 2018. It remains illegal on a national level on the U.S., and is covered on federally mandated drug tests for truckers.
Mullen, for his part, said he did not care what drivers did in their off-time as long as they did not show up high or drunk to work.
Mullen did not suggest the issue was hurting his business. He noted that his trucking and logistics firms were increasingly focusing on doing more domestics business.
Canadian Trucking Alliance urges provinces to adopt ELD mandate
The CTA said on July 23 that it wrote to each province’s transportation minister, asking that they adopt the federal ELD standards for provincially regulated carriers.
The federal mandate, which takes effect in 2021, does not apply to carriers whose operations stay within provincial boundaries.
“Why should there be two methods for hours-of-service monitoring (ELD and paper) when modern, third-party-compliant ELDs are far superior,” CTA president Stephen Laskowski said in a statement. “Asking government officials to enforce an outdated, time consuming, unsafe paper system – in concert with a proven, robust electronic method seems to make little sense from both a safety and administrative cost perspective,”
Transport Canada estimates that the federal mandate will affect about 150,000 trucks. It is unclear how many trucks are regulated by the provinces, but the number could be substantial.
Statistics Canada reported 1.1 million registrations of vehicles above 4,500 kilograms in 2018, including about 620,000 weighing 15,000 kilograms and above. The data does not differentiate about vehicle type and use but undoubtedly includes a large portion of commercial ones.