Walmart was one of the pioneers of what is now known as the “big-box” retail model, and Walmart Canada has successfully used that model to become one of the largest retailers in the nation. 

Today, the company is working on introducing a different kind of “big-box” model as a way of improving the efficiency of its logistics operations, and Senior Manager, Transportation Michael Buna says the project shows a lot of promise. By utilizing the Supercube truck, Buna says, Walmart Canada expects to maximize the amount of product it can carry to stores, thereby minimizing the number of trucks it needs on the road and reducing fuel consumption along with emissions. 

The Supercube project is just one of the many initiatives Walmart Canada has undertaken in recent years to drive greater efficiency in its supply chain and in its stores, and Buna says the company always is looking for new ways to become more sustainable. 

When Gladys Gillis started the company that would become Starline Luxury Coaches in 1998, she had a fleet that consisted of three mini-buses. Today, the company has more than 70 vehicles serving the Seattle area, making Starline Luxury Coaches one of the largest woman-owned businesses in the metropolitan area. Gillis says that although the recession has taken a heavy toll on the transportation industry and the motorcoach service segment in particular, her company has been able to keep its wheels rolling. 

Gillis founded the company to take advantage of a niche in the market for woman-owned businesses, and the company’s first vehicles were used for non-emergency medical transportation. Its status as a woman-owned business helped it become a partner of one of the largest transportation firms in the nation, and in time it was expanding its services to include corporate shuttle and charter services. With two locations serving the Seattle area, Starline Luxury Coaches is one of the largest motorcoach and minibus operators in the Pacific Northwest.

Raven Transport Co. has increased its trailer payloads over the past few years to ensure customers’ demands are met despite the lack of available truck drivers in the market.

The 29-year-old Jacksonville, Fla.–based company specializes in hauling consumable goods in 22 states for companies including Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods, MillerCoors, J.M. Smucker’s, Anheuser Busch and Kimberely-Clark, which generate a majority of its business. Raven Transport is owned by W. Randolph Lee and is one of the largest minority-owned carriers in the country, COO Steve Silverman says. 

The year 2013 was a particularly memorable one for the Port of Windsor. Cargo shipping activity in the port, located in the Great Lakes system across the Detroit River from the United States, reached a high of 6.02 million tonnes. This is the most activity seen at the port since the closure of  the Canadian Pacific rail ferry operation in the late 1980s.

Although the port saw a significant increase in activity, another aspect of its operations remained level. “I’m proud that, since I’ve been here, we’ve been able to continue to grow the port and do significant developments while imposing minimal increases in our port fees for 30 years,” says David Cree, the port’s CEO for the past 29 of those years.

Port of Windsor’s fees are the lowest of the 18 Canada Port Authorities created under the Canada Marine Act.  “In addition to our low port fees, we have very reasonable lease rates for our properties, a skilled workforce in the area and capacity for any kind of product that goes in and out of the Great Lakes,” Cree adds. 

After a difficult few years, there are big things happening again at the Port of Kansas City. President and CEO Michael Collins says the Port Authority of Kansas City is in the midst of a massive revitalization initiative to bring global commerce and trade back to the port. 

Between 2007 and 2010, nearly $110 million in private capital was generated to fund a series of capital improvement projects at the port, and work has been progressing steadily since then. Although Collins says the Port of Kansas City will never reach the same level of activity as the nation’s busiest deep-water ports, the improvements being made there will go a long way toward boosting the economy of Kansas City and the surrounding region.

“We’ve made significant strides,” Collins says. 

Located in the heart of the petrochemical industry in Texas, Port Freeport is preparing for an increase in natural gas exportation and tenant expansions by making capital improvements.

Port Freeport was established more than 100 years ago when the first jetty system was built and is governed by a six-member port commission. Its operations include 186 acres of developed land, 5,000 acres of undeveloped land, 18 public and private operating berths, a climate-controlled facility, a 45-foot deep Freeport Harbor Channel and a 70-foot deep berthing area.  

Its top import commodities include chemicals, clothing, oil, foods, liquefied natural gas (LNG), paper goods, resins and windmills from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, India and Mexico. The port’s exports include chemicals, paper goods, rice, LNG, clothing and food.   

To say that General Motors has been through some changes over the last few years would be an understatement. After emerging from bankruptcy in 2009, the automotive giant has been restructured and streamlined to improve its focus on customer service, and that included acknowledging the importance of the fleet and commercial side of its business. As Vice President of GM’s Fleet and Commercial Sales Ed Peper explains, GM’s new leadership understood how vital its fleet and commercial customers were to ensuring the company’s success for the future. 

“One of the things that [Executive Vice President and President, North America] Alan Batey did when he came in is that he made Fleet and Commercial a specific channel at GM,” Peper says. GM’s Fleet and Commercial division now stands alongside Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac as the automaker’s primary channels, and that has meant a renewed dedication to being the best in the fleet and commercial vehicle segment. According to Peper, GM has devoted itself to improving every aspect of its fleet and commercial division, from manufacturing to supporting its network of dealers across the nation.

A year-and-a-half ago, Aspen Equipment found itself with the only good problem to have in any business: too much business. The truck upfitting manufacturer’s forte is in vocational commercial truck vehicles, and its services can include everything from fitting out van interiors to mounting 60-ton cranes onto trucks depending on customer need.

From its 90,000 square feet of manufacturing space divided among its three locations in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, Aspen has provided solutions for clients in the construction, forestry, municipal and railroad industries, among others since 1926. 

The family owned company, which is now in its third-generation of family ownership, designs and installs accessories such as plows, loaders, cranes, dump bodies, toolboxes and special storage – whatever the customer needs.

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