TFI International (TSX:TFII) plans to close its Highland Transport division, a small cross-border truckload and intermodal carrier based in Canada, citing poor financial performance.
Ontario-based Highland will cease operations as of June 28. It largely handled cross-border business, linking Toronto, Montreal and the Northeast U.S., with a fleet of about 175 trucks.
“The decision was made at the board level because of concerns raised about financial results,” said Brent Neill, TFI’s vice president of human resources.
A softer freight market in 2019, combined with additional weakness in the Northeast hit Highland particularly hard, Neil said. The February bankruptcy of New England Motor Freight underscored the difficulties of the trucking business in the region.
“Let’s face it, manufacturing has gone off-shore. There’s not as much freight there,” Neill said.
TFI is trying to relocate 120 owner-operators, 30 drivers and 20 other employees to other divisions within the company, which has more than 17,000 employees and 16,000 trucks in North America.
“We’re working with each individual to find a home for them in TFI,” Neill said. “This is not one of those situations where everyone gets a letter at 4:00 p.m. on a Friday.”
Highland represents a small portion of TFI’s business, which includes companies in Canada and the U.S. In April TFI reported record first-quarter profits, with growth in its U.S. and Canadian truckload businesses.
TFI, then known as Transforce, purchased Highland in 2004.