Groupe Morneau continues to grow and strengthen its logistics
This March, Quebec-based transportation company Groupe Morneau opened its twenty-first terminal in the province. The 9,755 square-metre, 82-door LTL terminal in Anjou, Montreal can handle 500 merchandise trips and over 10,000 pallets a day.
The terminal serves four of the company’s five divisions: Morneau Transport, Morneau Solution, Morneau Sego and Morneau Global. Company-wide, 400 tractors and 900 trailers make 2200 deliveries a day. Groupe Morneau has made Anjou its logistics hub, with a new data centre infrastructure with 18 terabytes worth of computer capacity called SmartRow, by Emerson Network Power.
André Morneau, Groupe Morneau’s third-generation president, and Luc Dalens, general manager of the company’s logistics division, reveal some of the company’s logistics strategies and aspirations.
CANADIAN SHIPPER: How does the Anjou terminal improve your ability to efficiently consolidate shipments for delivery to customers?
André Morneau: “It has 82 doors and is 120 feet wide. The old dry goods terminal in Saint-Léonard has 54 doors and is 70 feet wide. The distance between each door is four feet, versus 30 inches in the Saint-Léonard terminal. It is easier for drivers. The width gives us the best use of time to do the job and more efficiency.”
CANADIAN SHIPPER: What improvements in the planning, execution and control of goods does your SmartRow data centre give you?
André Morneau: “It is three to four times better for quantity of information and the rapidity of communication we can manage between all of our terminals. If Montreal does better, all of our terminals will do better.”
CANADIAN SHIPPER: Morneau Global coordinates local, provincial, national and international transport. Are any of these four areas growing especially quickly?
Luc Dalens: “Up to now this year, compared to 2014, we have an increase of 50% in provincial volume, and 65% in April over March. It is a very high volume for special projects.”
André Morneau: “We had a rough winter and when the sun arrived everyone wanted to have merchandise in the stores. Nationally, the increase is mostly in the intermodal market, road and rail to Western Canada. We have increased LTL and TL dry shipments for remote areas in Canada, mostly Northern Quebec, the North Shore, Saguenay, Lac-Saint-Jean and Abitibi. Overseas volume has been steady up to now.”
CANADIAN SHIPPER: Have you recently begun offering any new logistics services?
Luc Dalens: “We began offering a new service in 2013 for anywhere in North America, in containers directly to our Morneau terminal in Sept Îsles. They arrive full or we consolidate them there and ship them directly to Shefferville by train. A local partner in Shefferville delivers them directly to First Nations and mining companies.”
CANADIAN SHIPPER: This March you hired a person to improve your logistics, and two more in May and June. What areas will they focus on?
Luc Dalens: “A new director was hired to manage North American logistics here in in Quebec City. Another started at the end of May to handle the team in the Montreal offices, which mainly handles overseas logistics. The Montreal [logistics manager] will provide logistics consulting services for all of our customers and analyses for specific customers.”
CANADIAN SHIPPER: Is Groupe Morneau busier this year at the Port of Montreal?
André Morneau: “We haven’t increased our volume because our volume is mainly with Asia, through British Columbia. Our terminal in Anjou is ready for a higher volume from Europe when the free trade agreement [with Europe] is signed.”
Luc Dalens: “There are plenty of Canadian and European manufacturers ready to open new markets as soon as customs barriers fall. We will be ready to help them.”
CANADIAN SHIPPER: Will your Anjou terminal allow you to do more work consolidating loads in containers for sea transport, and deconsolidating containers?
Luc Dalens:“The previous warehouse in Saint-Léonard was too small. We will be able to develop and increase this service a lot more in the coming months. In Quebec City we have customers who are receiving containers but they are fed up. Among the containers arriving at the Port of Montreal a lot of the cargo is not palletized. For the North Shore, companies do not want to hire people to palletise. We bring in containers to unload, palletise, and store temporarily. We can offer directly the distribution to market and keep distribution costs down for importers.”
CANADIAN SHIPPER: What about your goals to improve the international freight business?
Luc Dalens: “We are not interested in the high-volume, low-value market, such as waste. We want to concentrate on specialized markets and competencies like food and wood products with special requirements like safety and sanitation control. On the import side we focus on freight requiring a lot of distribution in North America. We will unstuff containers in Anjou and use our LTL network to distribute to Canadian retailers. We expect to have about 10% of Groupe Morneau’s volume coming from international markets, importing and exporting, by 2020.”
CANADIAN SHIPPER: Companies have been outsourcing transport logistics management for years. Is there anything changing that is making companies even more interested in having companies like Morneau Global handle their logistics?
André Morneau: “We realize that people in remote areas need assistance in developing overseas markets; for example, with foreign languages. We offer English, French, Spanish and German. We are developing more language services, mostly when [clients] have to talk to clients overseas, arrange movements and facilitate communication between receivers and shippers. Customers in remote Quebec areas do not have good experience in financial transactions and documentation. We do integrated solutions; for example, between the Gaspé and Germany. Companies can call Morneau and get service door to door … anywhere in the world. We developed this expertise for remote areas, but this service is also good for people in large cities.”