Trimac steers confidently into the future
By June 2021 edition of Business in Calgary, and Business in Edmonton 28 June 2021 3 min read
Trimac provides bulk transportation and logistics across North America and as Scott Calver, CFO and VP Finance, explains, their business model is all about putting people first.
“At Trimac, we change lives,” says Calver. Internally, we build futures for our employees—who we believe are the backbone of everything that we do. Externally, we move the necessities and everyday products that we all take for granted, like fuel for a cross-country family vacation, paint for the kids’ bedroom, cleaners for sanitation, and cement for the driveway of your first home.”
The reach of Trimac is vast, which enables its seamless logistics across North America. Calver explains, “Trimac’s Canadian and United States operations are complemented by strategic partners in Mexico. With 3,400 employees including independent contractors and more than 140 branches located throughout North America, we are uniquely qualified to respond to most service demands in North America’s key bulk commodity shipping locations and traffic lanes.”
He continues, “We stand out because of our people. We are a transportation company specializing in bulk commodities. Our drivers must also be expert product handlers as they work hands-on at complex facilities for loading and unloading. Our drivers handle many commodities like petrochemicals, cement, pressurized gasses, crude oil, sulphur, food products, etc. It’s not just learning how to drive a truck—there is comprehensive training involved. Our drivers and mechanics are the best out there. We were recognized as the safest tank trucking company in North America last year. We don’t just say we operate safely. We prove it. And that is not possible unless you have the best drivers and mechanics on the road providing the best service to our customers.”
In 2016, Trimac amalgamated its Canadian and American branches under one banner and privatized the Canadian operations. The next step was a complete technology refresh, changing every system from the back office to the computers in the cab of the trucks to ensure greater efficiency and cohesion across the brand. This foresight enabled a seamless transition to remote work for Trimac’s administration, and processes already in place for transporting goods during COVID-19. Trimac was able to adapt and remain operational with no time lost, and no orders missed.
Speaking to innovation, Calver says, “We are often one of the first trucking companies in the region to adopt new technology or practices. Currently, we are very excited to be working with the Alberta Zero Emissions Truck Electrification Collaboration (AZETEC) project. This project will be piloting hydrogen cell trucks on the Calgary to Edmonton corridor in late 2021. They choose companies like Trimac because we can support R&D and also have an outstanding safety culture. We haul the maximum weights in the coldest climates, often in conditions like the Rocky Mountains, so AZETEC is able to test the trucks in extreme conditions.”
Trimac partnered with ATB, and the financial institution has been a large part of the company’s growth strategy.
“When we privatized our Canadian operations in 2016, ATB had flexible solutions that were best suited for us to maintain a lower cost of capital. ATB’s commercial lenders are close to Trimac. They spend a lot of time with our leadership and innovation team. They know our strategy, and they are supporting us in our execution. The amount of knowledge they have from spending time with our team is vast; they are comfortable in supporting us for long-term strategic planning, and that includes growth by acquisitions.”
Calver concludes, “It is important to treat your banker like a shareholder. We explained the vision of the company and the strategic plan; they understand in advance what we are trying to do. They understand the business, industry, challenges, technology – you must have a strong relationship. If your lender has total awareness of what you are trying to accomplish, when it is time, they already understand the initiatives and nothing comes as a surprise.”
As a vital part of the Alberta economy, Trimac continues to move the future with their drivers, mechanics and customers, providing essential bulk trucking services across North America.
From the June 2021 edition of Business in Calgary, and Business in Edmonton. Shared with permission.