CANADIAN SHIPPER: Congratulations on once again being named to the prestigious list of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies. Our readers may not be familiar with all the services Oceanex actually provides to Newfoundland and Labrador from anywhere in North America. Can you provide an outline of what you offer and the vessels in your fleet?
Hynes: Oceanex Inc. specializes in the handling of all types of cargo from anywhere in North America. Through a combination of direct and agent networks, Oceanex is capable of handling anything from: full container loads, LTL (less than full load), project cargo requiring standard and specialized equipment, commercial vehicles, new automobiles, heavy equipment, heavy lifts and both heated and refrigerated container/trailer service. Oceanex provides a seamless transportation solution for our clients to any destination in Newfoundland and Labrador. Cargo can be picked up around the continent and consolidated at either Montreal or Halifax for shipment to the province.
Oceanex has three ships in its fleet: Oceanex Sanderling, Oceanex Avalon, and Oceanex Connaigra.
CANADIAN SHIPPER: With no fixed links to the mainland, marine transport is the only option for getting cargo to Newfoundland. Obviously this places great pressure on Oceanex in terms of reliability of service. Can you comment on how Oceanex ensures it can rise to the challenge?
Hynes: Oceanex is committed to delivering a safe and reliable service to its customers. To do so, we must constantly review our equipment and personnel needs, ensuring that we have the necessary resources to operate both safely and efficiently. Oceanex regularly invests in our fleet and equipment, most notably of course with the recent addition of a state of the art vessel, the Oceanex Connaigra. This vessel alone represented an investment of more than $100 million, demonstrating Oceanex’s commitment to meeting the needs of our customers. The vessel is designed to meet our anticipated growth for the next 30 years. In addition to welcoming the Oceanex Connaigra, we continue to invest in our existing fleet to ensure it is well equipped and maintained for service continuity.
On the terminal front, Oceanex has recently added a new terminal called Terminal 3 in St. John’s and continues to renew and increase its container and rolling stock fleet by adding new units each year.
CANADIAN SHIPPER: Last we spoke around this time last year you had acquired a number of reefer units and were in the process of fabricating new flat rack containers to containerize cargo presently carried on flat bed trailers. Has this now been completed and are you seeing the increase in your vessels’ loading factor and capacity you had hoped?
Hynes: As noted last year, Oceanex had initiated a trial process of a prototype flatrack design with several customers. Based on some of the challenges we encountered, we refrained from pursuing or building more units. However, we have maintained a fixed number of these units which cater to a specific demographic of customers requiring this type of equipment.
Oceanex has invested in reefer units and continues to expand in this area as the demand for the service continues to grow. These reefers are all fully utilized and we are currently completing a trial for a marine-rated 53 foot reefer container which we plan to add to our fleet.
CANADIAN SHIPPER: There is a great deal of project work in the future of Newfoundland and the entire Maritimes region. What kind of pressures do you anticipate this will place on the region’s transportation system and how do you envision your company responding to this challenge?
Hynes: Oceanex has been heavily involved with numerous projects in and around the Newfoundland market. With our existing fleet of equipment, we are well prepared to handle the work projected for the province for many years to come. Oceanex works closely with its customers to ensure a seamless transportation solution. We have been quite successful in meeting these requirements and poised to continue expanding our service network accordingly.