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Day & Ross detailed the potential next steps of its multiyear expansion plan amid the completion of a new facility Aug. 19.
“We’re definitely in an acceleration mode,” Shawn McMahon, chief operating officer of the Hartland, New Brunswick, carrier, told Transport Topics. “This is all part of a five-year growth strategy that we put in place. We’re in Year 2 of a five-year plan that involves accelerated growth. We can grow well organically and potentially through more future acquisitions.”
Day & Ross announced the opening of its newest facility Aug. 7. The Cincinnati distribution center is handling dedicated services and will be the basis for continued expansion in the region. It is starting out with about 175 workers, including drivers and staff.
“It was really customer-driven,” McMahon said. “It was a current automotive delivery customer who we currently service in Canada that was looking for us to expand our services into the U.S.”
The carrier specializes in less-than-truckload and truckload services along with cross-border transportation. Day & Ross ranks No. 37 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire fleets in North America.
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“Our expansion into the U.S. has been purely in the dedicated space,” McMahon said. “This will expand our dedicated operations with potentially other customers in the area whether that be retail, corrugated, food service and temperature control.”
Day & Ross started the process to open the distribution center before the coronavirus hit. The pandemic has since had a profound impact on trucking between volatile markets and efforts to keep drivers safe. Day & Ross still met its deadline for opening the facility.
“It’s been a challenge to work through it,” McMahon said. “We have a ton of great people doing a lot of great work. They had to figure out a bunch of different ways to do it better and safer. But in the end, they managed to pull it off on time.”
McMahon noted the growth plan involves expanding existing operations and moving into new regions. The decision to move into an area comes down to whether it will benefit existing customers and whether there is the potential to gain new customers.
“The plan has always involved some acquisitions in strategic areas,” McMahon said. “But there is also a plan in place to build off of those acquisitions in these markets with these customers.”
Day & Ross began its growth plan with the acquisition of REI Logistics and Korten Quality Systems in Michigan in November 2017. Stonehammer Transport, in Alberta, was acquired December 2018. A&S Kinard and Buckler Transport in Pennsylvania were acquired in April 2019.
“I would say the next areas of expansion, some may be driven by customer requirements, but definitely the Pennsylvania market, where we did our acquisition last year,” McMahon said. “We definitely think there is a lot of opportunities in the Pennsylvania, Maryland, Eastern Seaboard market for us. I think another area we could expand into at some point is the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas.”
Day & Ross currently does not have operations in Texas. That decision and whether to move into other regions as the growth plan continues depends on market conditions and the needs of current customers.
“Growth can always be challenging as you pick up the momentum,” McMahon said. “To grow, you also need to grow internally with great people and a solid driving force, and obviously there’s challenges around maintaining your drivers.”
The growth strategy also has involved restructuring parts of the business. The company on Jan. 29 announced it had unified its divisions and services under one brand. The move is intended to better position the company for growth.
Day & Ross began by hauling potatoes out of New Brunswick in 1950. It has since grown to include more than 8,000 employees, drivers and owner-operators throughout North America.
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