By Brian Dunn

Logistec has enjoyed a proud history since the company was founded 65 years ago by Roger Paquin, father of current President and CEO Madeleine Paquin, including 47 consecutive profitable years since listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 1969. Much of the company’s success can be attributed to management’s philosophy of embracing innovation, Ms. Paquin told a recent luncheon meeting of the Canadian Club of Montreal. “This approach has directly contributed to our growth over the years and enables us to have a positive long-term impact on the communities we serve.

“Firstly, we’re determined not to accept the status quo in all its forms and in all our activities. We’re constantly asking the question, ‘What more can we do?’ And when we arrive at a port, ‘What more can we do, or better?’” After acquiring a new operation, Logistec wonders what other products it can develop or what other applications existing products can be used for. The company is always thinking about the next step to do more or to do better.

Secondly, innovation plays a role in the company’s goal to develop strong and long lasting relationships with its clients. “As you know, each client has different objectives and challenges, and our job is to find solutions to help them grow their business in both good and bad times.

“Thirdly, innovation lays the groundwork for long-term decision-making for generations. Finally, innovation allows us to invest in projects that we really care about with more confidence,” noted Ms. Paquin.

“For several years, Logistec has been involved with different development initiatives and research projects whose objectives we share. Among them is our association with CargoM, the metropolitan logistics and transportation cluster and its economic development initiatives inspired by a unique model in Savannah, Georgia. I’m also thinking about all the initiatives we’re involved in with the National Research Council and several universities.

“Over the years, we have considerably diversified our services, including marine transportation, agencies and cargo handling. Cargo handling is an area where Logistec has broadened its scope and expertise, both in terms of types of cargo and the locations we are covering. Our qualified and knowledgeable teams work with adapted equipment and procedures specific to each type of cargo to offer the best possible service to our customers. As an example, we have invested significantly in our bulk handling expertise, especially for mining and biomass, which requires extensive knowledge of the product due to its high flammability. Over the past few years, we have invested over $30 million to build a state-of-the-art facility at the port of Brunswick in Georgia.”

In November, Logistec inaugurated two bulk warehouses in Brunswick, that, combined with its existing facilities, enable it to handle over one million tonnes of wood pellets a year for the European biomass power plant market. And on Feb. 17, the company closed a deal to take over the activities of a bulk cargo handling specialist in the U.S. The new company, Logistec Gulf Coast, will operate mainly in Texas, Florida, Louisiana and along the Mississippi River.

“We were also pleased to sign in the last few weeks, a new concession to operate the bulk facility owned by Port of Cleveland, a new location for us in the Great Lakes,” added Ms. Paquin. Along with its clients, Logistec also believes it has a role to play to support government initiatives to improve infrastructure. In addition, the company is as strong supporter of both Quebec’s Plan Nord to develop the province’s northern mineral deposits and its Maritime Strategy.

Returning to the port of Savannah, Ms. Paquin noted it is recognized as one of the best container terminals in the U.S. that has over 250 of the largest distribution centres built around Savannah and that Port of Montreal could boost its fortunes by building a “mini Savannah” around it.

“We are convinced that this is an inspiring model for Montreal and Quebec, and are committed to work with the city, the province and the federal government to ensure that Quebec doesn’t miss this beautiful opportunity to strengthen our international port, improve the competitiveness of our exports and create good jobs for our citizens.”

Logistec’s CEO also touched on its subsidiary, Sanexen Environmental Services, a contractor and consultant specializing in contaminated site remediation and water mains rehabilitation. The company has been part of Logistec for the last 25 years and has seen sales grow from $4 million to $151 million and, like Logistec, has reported a profit each year. Ms. Paquin talked about one of the company’s products, Aqua-Pipe, which helped the City of Montreal reduce the loss of 42 per cent of its drinking water, by replacing its underground network of leaking pipes with Aqua-pipes which required no excavations.

“The success of Aqua-Pipe has been rapid and today, more than 1,200 kilometres of water ducts have been rehabilitated in over 150 cities in North America. Just like our maritime services, our Sanexen team has the appetite, passion and desire to always find solutions for our clients. It is at the heart of our brand and part of our DNA.”