Flexible Cross-border Transportation Services From the Logistics Experts


With an office in Vaughan, Ontario and a soon-to-open second office in Florida in the Tampa area, ModelKite Inc. has positioned itself as an expert in the North American transportation sector, partnering with owner operator drivers and leading carriers to make cross-border shipping easy for its loyal and international customer base.

Since its formation in 2018, ModelKite has been able to leverage its cross-border expertise and diverse resource pool in both countries to offer timely and cost-effective truckload, LTL (less than truckload), and intermodal shipping services.

The company’s friendly and professional staff can customize delivery strategies to meet clients’ needs, with options to arrange dedicated fleets or expedited shipments as needed. With access to Dry vans, Flatbeds, and Reefers (refrigerated trucks), and an understanding of customs requirements, ModelKite serves a wide range of clients on both sides of the border, including the food processing, manufacturing, and retail industries.

Products shipped include dry goods, refrigerated and frozen food, steel, construction materials, and raw materials such as pulp.

To learn more about ModelKite, which is poised to emerge as a leader in the fast-paced North American freight transportation business, we spoke with logistics expert and co-owner Ivan Opanasenko, who sometimes goes by what he calls his nickname, Evan, as it approximates the way Ivan is pronounced in his native Ukraine.

Getting started
After emigrating to Canada, Ivan and his brother Andrii spent five years immersing themselves in the transportation industry, with Andrii driving international routes for a New Brunswick-based company, while Ivan worked as a dispatcher for another company.

“All that time I was learning and gaining experience and I had a vision that it would be a good idea for us to open a company together because Andrii understood the road and I understood logistics from the office management perspective,” Ivan tells us.

First on the agenda was choosing a name, one not in use in either Canada or the U.S., would be easy to pronounce and remember, and would reflect the transport business.

The word “Model” came to mind. In the early days of the automotive industry there had been the Model T Ford, and around the time the brothers were forming the company, “EVs were emerging with Elon Musk announcing Model X and Model Y, so I said, ‘that’s a good start, and let’s attach ‘Kite’ because we’re in the freight transportation business, and then we can use MK as part of our invoice numbers,’” Ivan shares.

“When we started, it was just my brother and me working to develop our customer base. We got our first client, and he gave us our first referral when recommending us to the shipping manager of another company, and we continue to get referrals like that and grow our client base.”

Another way ModelKite grew its client base was by finding a niche in the supply chain and leveraging a successful relationship with one client to several others in the chain. For example, ModelKite could be delivering finished packaging materials to a manufacturer, and based on that relationship, could begin to deliver raw materials to the packaging company and/or ship those packaged manufactured goods to retail.

Building business, building staff
As the business developed, ModelKite began recruiting. “It was a challenge to pick the right staff. We want to have a family-oriented environment, treat them well, and train them because we want to keep our people. We won’t hire and fire, hoping to replace them with someone better. We want to push forward together and look at what needs to be done to stay competitive because this is a stressful industry.”

The result? A staff of 25 friendly logistics professionals who are as passionate about customer service as Ivan and Andrii.

To stay competitive, ModelKite invested in state-of-the-art communications technology, which means the staff can maintain close contact with customers, the carriers with which it partners, and the drivers on the road. As in any business, the price point is important but it is customer service that guarantees repeat business and referrals from satisfied customers, something that ModelKite values.

“Our company is proactive in sending information to customers before they ask us,” Ivan says, explaining how at the beginning, one of the company’s main challenges was answering questions about time of delivery or pickup. Now the customer service team checks with the drivers as they depart to get an estimated time of arrival, tracks them and emails the information to the client, and if necessary, updates them via telephone should a truck break down or get stuck in bad weather.

How does it work? Very well
As logistics experts, ModelKite partners with owner operator drivers and national and international carriers who also own fleets of trucks with varying capabilities and acts as a go-to logistics expert for customers who want freight shipped from anywhere to anywhere in North America.

“Here’s an example of how this works,” Ivan says, describing a hypothetical manufacturer in Philadelphia looking to ship their product to Toronto. “But if the shipping agent calls a driver directly and asks, ‘Can you pick up a load tomorrow?’ the driver might say, ‘I don’t have a truck there now, it will be two or three days before I can do it.’ So the shipping agent phones another driver, who says, ‘Yes, next Monday,’ but that means even more delays for getting the product to market and after hours of this, the manufacturer is in despair.

“But if the agent calls a logistics company like us that is a one-stop shop, we have information for thousands of drivers and all major carriers and we get to know quickly who has a truck in Philly right now that allows us to connect all the dots for the client. Plus, it benefits the driver who had delivered goods there but would be returning empty, so it fills that gap.”

Ivan gives another example concerning a regular customer in Maine who ships paper products to Quebec, and how ModelKite can defray the shipping cost for that client by locating freight that needs to be shipped back to Maine, which also benefits the driver.

“We also look after the border details, working with both the customer and the driver, which is another benefit, because we know how U.S. and Canadian border customs work and we can help customers, especially first-time customers, overcome those obstacles.”

Florida milestone
After five years of arranging freight shipments across Canada and the many border crossings into the U.S., the brothers decided the time was right to set up a location within the U.S. since so many of their partners and clients were American.

This is a major milestone as it allows the company to expand and participate in the lucrative coast-to-coast U.S. market while providing the high level of customer service for which it is known and contributing to the economic growth of both countries.

When we spoke with Ivan in early January, he had left his brother Andrii in charge of the Vaughan office and was in Florida, where he had just completed registering the business and was scouting out locations in the Tampa area. Once a suitable location is secured, he’ll be looking to hire up to six American office and logistics personnel in 2024, and more in 2025 if growth permits, as ModelKite leverages the expertise it has developed.

“It’s a big step forward,” he admits, “but we want to be a truly international company.”



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