Manitoulin Buys First US Company

Express Havre St-Pierre terminal and truck
Express Havre St-Pierre terminal. (Express Havre St-Pierre)

Manitoulin Group of Cos., a Toronto-based transportation and logistics company, recently announced a pair of acquisitions, one marking its first foray into the U.S. market, as it continues to expand in North America.

The company said it bought Quebec-based Express Havre St-Pierre while its Manitoulin Global Forwarding division purchased N/J International Inc., a Houston-based global supply chain provider.


Terms were not disclosed for either deal.

The acquisitions mark the ninth and 10th purchases of freight and logistics companies in little more than a year.

The big surprise was Manitoulin’s announcement Nov. 13 of its first purchase of a U.S. company, indicating the Canadian operation is eyeing American business. The company already boasts one of the most extensive transportation networks in North America, but the acquisition of N/J International — a provider of fully integrated transportation and logistics solutions covering air and sea freight, warehousing, crating, distribution and supply chain management services — will help Manitoulin reach some of the top companies in Texas.

“Adding N/J International to the Manitoulin family was a natural choice given the strong business ties between Texas and Alberta and our countries in general,” said Dwayne Hihn, president of Manitoulin Global Forwarding. “By combining our resources, capabilities and relationships, Manitoulin is now positioned as the premier provider to the oil and gas and project sector on both sides of the border.”

Brian Fainter, the former president of N/J International, will serve as president for all U.S. sales and operations for Manitoulin Global Forwarding.


An N/J International warehouse. (N/J International)

“We believe this acquisition will benefit not only N/J International’s customers but any company seeking outstanding customer service, reliability and corporate stability,” said Fainter. He said Manitoulin’s lineup of “in-house resources, including over 3,000 pieces of transportation equipment, and 80 terminals, make it capable of meeting every supply chain scenario.”

Manitoulin Global Forwarding offers international freight forwarding, customs brokerage, crating, warehousing, global time-critical delivery, project logistics and heavy haul, office moving, ground transportation and supply chain management.

Manitoulin Global Forwarding services more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. Its acquisition of an American company is not hard to read.

“I think (Manitoulin) wants to provide more extensive operations ... in the United States, in particular,” said analyst Richard Armstrong, chairman of Armstrong & Associates Inc. of Milwaukee. “They’re just trying to diversify and expand, and they’re big enough to do it.”


An Express Havre St-Pierre truck. (Express Havre St-Pierre)

Manitoulin’s expansions in Canada also continue.

On Nov. 6, the company announced it bought Express Havre St. Pierre (EHSP), a Quebec freight company that provides truckload, less-than-truckload, and other services, including the movement of dangerous goods.

Based in Havre-Saint-Pierre, at the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, EHSP has terminals in Quebec City, Varennes, Baie-Comeau and Sept-Iles, as well as one in Labrador City, Newfoundland. The family-owned company did not return a message from Transport Topics.

Gord Smith, CEO of Manitoulin Group of Cos., said the EHSP acquisition demonstrates the company’s commitment to coverage in Quebec and across Canada, including the rural and remote areas along the Atlantic coast.

Smith said EHSP will operate as a stand-alone aspect within Manitoulin companies.

Manitoulin has been on a mission of consolidation for the past year. In January, it bought Direct Right Cartage of Brampton, Ontario. At the time, it was the seventh purchase in the previous 12 months and it was the company’s first in the intermodal shipping sector. Then came the eighth purchase in April of IPE Logistics of Toronto.

Manitoulin said in April that the purchase of IPE strengthened “overall global capabilities, especially from Asia to North America in the less-than-container-load space, and provides enhanced access to Asian markets.”

According to its website, the Manitoulin Group offers expedited less-than-truckload and truckload, crating, customs brokerage, international freight forwarding, global time critical delivery, residential and commercial moving, heavy haul, logistics, warehousing and supply chain management.