Two Canadian Deals Highlight Continued Consolidation in Trucking

Direct Right Cartage
Direct Right Cartage marks Manitoulin Transport's first purchase in the intermodal shipping segment. (Manitoulin Transport)

A consolidation trend among Canadian trucking companies continues, with Manitoulin Transport completing its purchase of intermodal carrier Direct Right Cartage, and Groupe Robert announcing plans to combine its heavy-haul business with QSL Group and Express Mondor.

RELATED: Manitoulin buys Duckering's Transport

For Manitoulin, the acquisition of Direct Right Cartage, based in Brampton, Ontario, is the seventh purchase in the past 12 months and the company’s first in the intermodal shipping sector.

Terms were not disclosed.

“This purchase enables Manitoulin to provide a higher level of service and frequency of intermodal service within Canada,” Jeff King, president of Mississauga, Ontario-based Manitoulin Transport, said in a statement Jan. 10. “We will continue to look for opportunities such as this to build out our services and coverage to ensure our offerings meet our customers’ evolving needs.”


Manitoulin Transport is part of the Manitoulin Group of Companies, which provides expedited less-than-truckload and truckload, crossborder services, dedicated contract carriage, heavy haul, refrigerated and dangerous-goods transportation and logistics services. It operates 77 terminals in Canada and 200 service centers in the United States.

Manitoulin’s most recent acquisition was of Duckering’s Transport in Red Deer, Alberta, in December.

Paul Enright and John Farrugia, who launched Direct Right Cartage in 1982 to serve time-sensitive transportation needs of the entertainment industry in Canada and expanded the business over the years to cover all industries, will remain in leadership roles at the company under the new ownership.

“John and I are both delighted to join the Manitoulin group,” Enright said. “Manitoulin is one of the more prominent companies in the transportation industry, and we have long admired its history and brand.”


Express Mondor will be part of a new entity called Mondor-Watson, which will provide crossborder transportation of heavy and oversize cargo. (Express Mondor)

Separately, officials from QSL Group, Groupe Robert and Express Mondor agreed to form a new entity, called Mondor-Watson, to provide transportation of heavy and oversize cargo in Canada and the United States.

Based in Quebec City, Quebec, QSL Group provides loading and unloading services at 25 terminals in eastern Canada and will be the majority shareholder of Mondor-Watson, with Groupe Robert and Express Mondor holding smaller equity stakes and Express Mondor taking responsibility for daily operations.


All three companies will continue to operate independently until a final agreement is worked out, which is expected by April 1, according to a joint statement issued Jan. 10.

QSL Group CEO Robert Bellisle said the company’s vision for the new entity is to support the growth of the Canadian and American import and export markets. “We are tremendously motivated by this exciting partnership and the new opportunities it offers,” he said.

Eric Mondor, CEO and co-founder of Express Mondor, also expressed enthusiasm for the new venture. “Our clients will enjoy cutting-edge expertise and enhanced services thanks to the talent and know-how of the 300-plus employees that the new entity will count on for its continued success,” he said.

Established in 1995 by brothers Eric, Dany and Billy Mondor, Express Mondor is based in Lanoraie, Quebec. In addition to transporting heavy haul and oversize cargo, the company offers excavation and sand hauling, road escort, logistics, freight and customs brokerage and warehousing services.


Groupe Robert, based in Boucherville, Quebec, is one of the largest trucking companies in Canada, providing less-than-truckload and truckload freight hauling, residential delivery, intermodal, bulk shipping, port drayage, hazardous materials transport and storage trailers.

The company’s heavy-haul operations are conducted by subsidiaries Watson Transport in Canada and Sycamore Specialized Carriers in the United States.

Groupe Robert CEO Michel Robert said the alliance with QSL and Express Mondor will make it easier to combine land and waterway transport to deliver goods to destinations throughout North America.

“We are proud to associate ourselves with complementary and strategic partners such as QSL and Express Mondor for continued operations in this industry sector,” Robert said. “The consortium will provide many opportunities and a broadened service offering for our clients.”