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December 19, 2018 11:15 AM, EST

Manitoulin Transport Buys Yukon Business in Latest Acquisition

Manitoulin big rig Manitoulin has recently been buying companies — mostly Canadian — to expand its North American footprint. (Manitoulin Transport)

Manitoulin Transport has purchased Kluane Freight Lines Ltd.’s book of business and formed a joint venture with Chief Isaac Group of Cos., according to a Manitoulin news release.

Kluane Freight Lines is a First Nation-owned less-than-truckload carrier based in Whitehorse, Yukon, and a member of Chief Isaac Group of Cos., the release noted. Chief Isaac was established in 1984 to own and operate business interests for a self-governing Native American group located in Dawson City, Yukon. First Nation is a reference to people indigenous to Canadian land.

Manitoulin Transport is part of Toronto’s Manitoulin Group of Cos., one of Canada’s leading privately owned transportation and logistics providers. Manitoulin has recently been buying companies — mostly Canadian — to expand its North American footprint.

On Nov. 6, the company bought Express Havre St. Pierre (EHSP), a Quebec freight company that provides truckload, LTL and other services, including the movement of dangerous goods. Express Havre St. Pierre has terminals in Quebec City, Varennes, Baie-Comeau and Sept-Iles, as well as one in Labrador City, Newfoundland.

Manitoulin is also targeting further expansions in the United States. On Nov. 13, the Manitoulin Global Forwarding division purchased N/J International Inc., a Houston-based global supply chain provider.

The company already had an extensive transportation network 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. It was Manitoulin’s first U.S. purchase.

Richard Armstrong, a logistics analyst at Armstrong and Associates of Milwaukee, said he understands why Manitoulin, a Toronto company, would seek a specialist in Yukon transport. The Yukon territory borders Alaska and is known for its harsh northern Canadian weather.

“You have two companies that are used to working in a bad environment,” Armstrong said. “It should work out for both of them.”

Armstrong told Transport Topics that Manitoulin likely sees a longer game in logistics.

“It would make sense that Manitoulin would want to have north-south transportation all the way to Mexico,” he said.

Possible freight could include minerals and gas, Armstrong said, noting that remote trips could command a good payment.

Kluane was initially established to provide freight-hauling services north of Whitehorse, Yukon, according to a news release. Kluane has since expanded to cover all of the Yukon.

“Manitoulin Transport has a long history of partnership with Kluane, and we know the business well,” Jeff King, president of Manitoulin Transport, said in a news release. “It has an excellent reputation for providing quality ground transportation and warehousing.”

King said the new client base complements Manitoulin’s as the two companies serve many of the same markets, including those of heavy equipment, mining and oil and gas.

Included in the acquisition is Kluane’s Dawson City terminal and operations in Whitehorse and Edmonton, Alberta.

Under the agreement, Kluane will be co-branded with Manitoulin Transport.

Manitoulin Transport is a single-source carrier and offers a wide array of transportation solutions, including expedited less-than-truckload and truckload, transborder, intermodal, private fleet, guaranteed service, heavy haul, temperature-controlled, dangerous goods and supply chain management.

In North America, its distribution coverage consists of 82 Canadian terminals and 200 U.S. service centers.