Embracing Change

Written by Pauline Muller

Classic Freight Transport is based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia but operates across the U.S. and Canada. In an industry where time is of the essence and the stakes are high, this firm has carved out a place for itself as the preferred supplier of many of North America’s finest manufacturers.
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Classic Freight Transport is out to do all it can to uphold ethical business practices and top-notch customer care. Its services include flat deck trucking, intermodal transport, and controlled, round-the-clock warehousing facilities that offer overhead cranes and a fleet of forklifts, boom trucks, and integrated systems to optimize efficiency. It also engages in freight brokerage with a multitude of service options to suit every possible cargo and freight need. Furthermore, in February Classic launched a new van operation to move product for customers from Atlantic Canada throughout North America.

The company also endeavours to be environmentally responsible and has worked to lighten its impact on the planet. It is an officially approved Global Green Freight member and has been recognized as one of SmartWay’s highest performers. SmartWay is run by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to assist the logistics industry in becoming more environmentally responsible. The program was introduced in 2004 with the full support of the trucking industry and some of its partners.

Thanks to these efforts and its dedication to responsible business practices, Classic Freight Transport has invested in technology that monitors the efficiency of its tractor fleet. This allows the company to see and instantly access a host of factors like idling time, speed, or the amount of time spent in cruise control. The ultimate aim is to improve fuel efficiency and minimize emissions.

To support these efficiency and environmental initiatives, the company has also introduced an incentive program that rewards drivers who keep idling time to a certain standard while maintaining safety and productivity. The company is also in the process of investing in planning software that will assist it in better managing of the effectiveness and numbers of trucks it has on the road. The program achieves this by optimizing its fleet’s loaded miles and minimizing its empty miles.

“The better a job we can do of increasing our loaded miles, the fewer trucks we will need to run. This would essentially mean collecting new freight in the same areas where we deliver. For the past two years, we have been running at eighty-five percent full capacity and over, and our current goal is to get to 90 percent,” says General Manager Todd Seward.

The Omnitracs technology used by Classic will assist the company in reaching the coveted capacity of ninety percent. This same product is responsible for idling time tracking and driver e-log software. Its products cover a variety of solutions from industry compliance to driver management, fleet safety, efficiency, vehicle and asset monitoring, and tracking.

This company cares about more than just the environment. Its staff is very well treated, and their comfort is considered as important as their work satisfaction. Drivers are greeted with new tractors every year, so they have access to the latest technology.

“We put a lot into how we have our vehicles laid out for the comfort of our drivers,” says Todd. “We listen to their contributions on how we can improve efficiency and the comfort features.”

In addition, every one of its staff members has the opportunity to earn bonuses when they achieve certain targets. This also goes for its owner-operator partners, who receive a quarterly insurance premium rebate for operators who put the safety of their vehicles and cargo first. It has been recognized as an employer of choice with Atlantic Canada’s Trucking Human Resource Sector Council for four consecutive years – a pretty tough milestone to achieve considering the stringent selection process. Its staff also enjoys group benefits, life and disability cover, mentorship, and coaching.

The company began as a small flatbed carrier about twenty years ago. It fell on hard times and was purchased by its current parent company, which was its main client at the time. Today, the company still moves steel on flatbed trucks for its parent company, but this now forms a small percent of its business activity. These days, it also transports lumber, equipment, and containers through its regional container division. With the recent expansion into regional and intermodal container work, Classic now handles freight for various national retailers and is continuing to diversify the base of customers.

Containers enter the region through Nova Scotia’s ports and are then moved throughout Atlantic and Central Canada. Classic Freight Transport is well versed in hauling specialty freight and goes out of its way to guarantee that unusual cargo is taken care of appropriately. It has also introduced an intermodal rail division which uses its own fleet of containers to haul merchandise between Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec, and New England.

With the recent opening of a rail siding, Classic can now accept rail cars of product and can transfer from rail cars to local distribution vehicles without any difficulty. “Train haulage helps us to improve our green partnerships by cutting down on long-haul truck transport. Only doing the local distribution via road does a lot to minimize our annual emissions volumes,” says Todd.

Safety is also a top priority, and the company is exceptionally proud of its top safety rating it has been receiving on its monthly carrier profile. Nova Scotia DOT scores commercial carriers in various performance standards that were developed to maximize commercial vehicle road safety. The carrier profile contains a company’s entire track record of traffic offences such as convictions, inspections, and collisions. Classic is currently a Level One carrier and is also Nova Scotia Trucking Safety Association (NSTSA) safety certified.

Its fleet is kept in excellent condition, staying within regulations and ensuring its drivers’ safety. Part of its commitment to safety includes kitting its tractors out with satellite equipment that enable real-time visual access and communication.

Aside from the commercial mandate, Classic Freight Transport has a desire to also support others. It is a loyal supporter of Feed Nova Scotia, a program that sees to the food and other needs of those who are unable to provide for themselves. “We also participate in the Special Olympics’ annual convoy,” says Todd. Last year saw the largest number of Nova Scotia participants in the history of the games.

Moving ahead, the company, with the professional team of drivers and experienced employees, will remain focused on keeping up the reliable service and outstanding customer care for which it has become known. Todd is insistent that it will continue to build on its culture of doing what it says it will and delivering the best all-around client experience that it possibly can. With such dedication to its professional relationships, in terms of its staff and its clients, Classic Freight Transport will no doubt be an integral part of the North American landscape for many decades to come.

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