Webtech Wireless Inc.’s business involves state-of-the-art technology, but the company is really focused on helping clients improve their efficiency and service, Vice President of Marketing David Greer says. “[We offer] ways to solve real problems,” he says.

Based in Burnaby, British Columbia, Webtech Wireless specializes in fleet intelligence and location-based services that are delivered through software platforms to commercial and government fleets worldwide. Greer says the firm’s history goes back to 1999, when its founders saw an opportunity to combine global positioning systems with real-time technology.

Waste Management’s green trucks are a regular sight for millions of homeowners and businesses every week as they make their recycling and waste pickup rounds. For the company, green is more than just the color of its fleet, it’s a philosophy that permeates the entire organization when it comes to both the environment and its finances.

Compressed natural gas (CNG) plays a large part in the Houston-based company’s effort to “think green.” Waste Management has a goal to reduce greenhouse emissions by 2020 in an effort to reduce its overall greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent.

The company is already well on its way to meeting this objective. More than 2,000 CNG trucks are now in service, and it purchases more than 1,000 new Class 8 heavy-duty natural gas trucks annually. The company’s fleet is the largest fleet of heavy-duty natural gas trucks in use in North America, according to the company.

Tennant Truck Lines (TTL) Inc. understands one of the basics of the transportation business: A company only can be known for its established values if its drivers uphold them. Deciding it wanted to exhibit professionalism in all aspects of its operation and provide a consistently high level of customer service, TTL realized it must focus on developing a strong base of employees and drivers. 

“We have 225 drivers, and they are all extremely qualified, well-trained and operate very safely,” CEO and President Aaron Tennant says. “Our drivers project a good image of our company, and we hold them to a very high bar. In turn, they deliver a high level of customer service.”

Considering how important timeliness is to LTL trucking, it’s surprising how delays can often happen on purpose. Many carriers, for example, will wait until a truck is fully loaded before sending it on its way. Some carriers consider freight being held up in customs as an opportunity to charge customers more. That’s not the way Polaris Transport operates, and President Larry Cox says that’s the reason why the company has become a leader in LTL freight between Canada and the United States. 

Cox founded the company in 1994 with the goal of establishing an LTL lane between the Toronto area and Chicago. In time, the solid reputation Polaris developed with customers led to the addition of another lane to the New York City area. Today, Polaris Transport specializes in scheduled LTL transport of dry goods between Canada and the United States. The company works with a network of U.S.-based regional carriers to provide service to all 50 states, Cox adds. 

Jim Castelaz founded Motiv Power Systems in 2009 with one goal in mind: to make electric power an accessible option for diesel truck fleet owners. “My vision was to free trucks from traditional oil and fossil fuel without reinventing the way trucks are built, bought and serviced,” he says.

Initially, the company served solely as a consultant to companies designing battery packs for prototype electric vehicles. A California Energy Commission grant changed that, giving the startup company the capital it needed to pursue the development of its own product. This product, the electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS), consists of a power train kit, motors, a controller and other components needed to convert diesel fuel trucks to fully electric vehicles. 

For Luke Taylor, the Williston Basin is more than just the United States’ latest booming oil region. Taylor, like many entrepreneurs, saw the potential for business growth in the basin at the time he founded LT Enterprises, but the region is not an opportunity for national expansion of his trucking company or just the latest trendy oil play – it’s home.

“We’re a local company, and I was born and raised here,” he says of Watford City, N.D., his company’s home base. “I’ve seen a lot of people and companies come and go, but we’re not interested in chasing other oil booms – we started in North Dakota, and we’ll stay here and take care of our customers doing business here.” 

Adding four locomotives to a current fleet of 19 that services only 290 miles of railway may seem excessive – unless you are Lake State Railway Corp. and expecting a boom in transporting agriculture commodities.

“We view ourselves as a granger railroad, one that significantly lives off moving grain products to market,” says John Rickoff, president and CEO. “One of the most significant things going on is the expected growth in agricultural commodities.”

Rickoff projects growth in tonnage over the next five years. The railway specializes in transporting commodities such as grain, fertilizer, beans, sugar and other agricultural products. More than 50 percent of the Michigan-based company’s traffic involves these items, Rickoff explains. In addition to agricultural products, Lake State Railway moves a variety of other products such as chemicals, lumber, steel, cement, limestone, coal and scrap metal.

Building a better bottom line isn’t just about getting revenue in, it’s also about reducing spending going out. So for companies that base their business around transporting, picking up new business only makes sense when the revenue coming in is greater than the investment going out. It’s simple mathematics but in a world of ever-increasing costs, companies have to get a little more innovative so the numbers add up. 

“One of our executives here says that when the company started, freight was two percent of the company’s overall cost,” says Dean DeSantis, executive vice president of Heritage Environmental, a hazardous waste disposal company. “Looking over our 2012 record, the freight cost is rapidly approaching 25 percent of our costs. It’s getting very expensive.”

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