2017 was a great year for trucking and 2018 is certainly following in its footsteps. We are seeing continued growth, volumes have been strong all year, and volumes continue to be strong in the last quarter.
The growth our industry has enjoyed in the past two years has come with some challenges.
The driver shortage is more pronounced than ever, interest rates are rising, and insurance providers are seeking large increases.
Moreover, the average age of a truck driver is 55 and our industry is experiencing obstacles in attracting younger applicants. The bottom line is that the driver shortage is not improving any time soon..
Group Retirement Savings Plan
We are very proud to announce that we’ve implemented a Group Retirement Savings Plan with the company matching contributions in place in November for all our professional drivers and maintenance technicians. We want to ensure our team members have the opportunity to not only retire, but retire comfortably.
Our extended family of dedicated professional drivers, freight handlers, maintenance technicians, and staff grew to 230 this year. The new additions have been spread out amongst our six service centres in Cornwall, Ottawa, Belleville, Toronto, Kitchener, and Drummondville, Quebec.
We continue to invest in new equipment; namely new tractors and trailers. We’ve increased the number of trailers with heat and tailgates to meet the increasing demand from our customers. We also invested in our maintenance department with a three-bay expansion in our maintenance garage in Cornwall. We invested heavily in our Transportation Management System (TMS) to improve how we communicate shipment statuses to our clients. By the end of 2018, half our fleet will be equipped with Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). The balance will be done by April 2019. ELDs reduce our drivers’ workload because they don’t have to prepare the paper logs while also increasing driver and public safety.
Another point of pride for Minimax are our ongoing community initiatives. We continually support groups in the communities where we have service centres. Our team members have generously donated to many community groups and charities, donating $16,000 in 2018. The majority of the money raised comes from our dress down Fridays when our team members make donations to wear their most comfortable clothes.
With the end of the year fast approaching, we are looking forward to 2019 with great optimism. I want to thank our great clients for the confidence they have shown in Minimax Express this year. I’d also like to thank our team members for making our optimistic outlook possible. Here’s to a great 2019!