St. John’s, Newfoundland
Integrated freight transportation,
Primary market: Atlantic Canada,
Number of employees: 400, plus 600 under contract
Executive chairman: Sid Hynes
Lifted by a rising tide
The rising tide of the Newfoundland and Labrador economy has lifted a lot of boats. But few have risen higher than those owned by Oceanex, a privately-held intermodal transportation company.
Oceanex operates three vessels, two marine terminals, and manages close to 2,500 containers that supply much of wares to the province’s retail stores, its nickel development facilities, offshore oil rigs and for a slew of other needs. “We handle close to 50 percent of the freight that rolls into the Newfoundland,” says Captain Sid Hynes, the company’s executive chairman. “So when the province grows, we grow.”
Hynes joined Oceanex in 2007 just as the formerly publicly-traded company, was being privatized. He quickly instituted a number of changes to boost efficiency. These included streamlining scheduling, diversifying and expanding its less-than-truckload and inland operations. He attributes Oceanex’s success to a variety of factors, most importantly its provision of reliable, fixed, on-time services. “If we tell clients that they are going to get delivery at 10:30, we had better be there then. Otherwise they will unload someone else’s shipments first,” explains the industry veteran. Oceanex’s dominant market position and high barriers to entry are also key advantages.
Good employee relations are also a must. Oceanex has a highly paid, and thus expensive workforce, organized in nine unions, which needs to be highly productive if the company is to compete effectively. As a result, operations, workflows and scheduling are reviewed hourly, to ensure that product moves effectively down the line.
Despite Oceanex’s success, Hynes continues to look to the future. The company recently ordered a fourth vessel to better service existing clients. It will also be building another storage facility and is considering partnering with other road and railway carriage providers to boost service offerings.
© 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998
Peter Diekmeyer Communications Inc.