Canadian Shipper


Up to the challenge

Our 14th Annual Shipper’s Choice Awards Survey sets industry benchmarks for performance excellence and identifies the 35 carriers who exceed them

Any economy with GDP growth less than 3% will present uneven business conditions based on geographic region and industry sector. That makes it challenging for carriers working across the country and across industry sectors to determine the right amount of capacity additions and for shippers to be sure they have the capacity they need.
At the same time, our research shows that cost containment remains the top priority among Canadian buyers of transportation services thanks to the slow economic recovery and intense competition in certain sectors.
Carriers need to invest in the equipment, technology and service strategies necessary to keep up with mounting shipper expectations but need to keep their aspirations in check with economic realities. These factors, of course, have a spillover effect on customer service levels.
It places carriers in a tight spot but our research shows clearly that no matter what the challenge, some carriers are able to rise to it. They’ve learned how to best balance atop that quality service at a competitive price tightrope, during both tough economic times and growth periods.
This report reflects the research we conduct annually in an attempt to provide buyers of transportation services with consistent, national and scientifically derived benchmarks of excellence for carrier performance in each mode.
This year 35 carriers managed to surpass the Benchmark of Excellence in our 14th Annual Shipper’s Choice Awards Survey. Particularly impressive are the carriers who have scored above the benchmark of excellence for five years in a row to be awarded our special “Carrier of Choice” designation.
Our survey provides shippers, 3PL service providers and freight forwarders across Canada with the opportunity to set benchmarks for carrier performance on eight key performance indicators (KPIs) and to rate their top carriers against those benchmarks. Aside from identifying the best carriers across all modes through this process, survey respondents also provide clear indications of the different values Canadian buyers of transportation services place on each key performance indicator (KPI) based on mode as well as a comparison of how high these standards are set for each mode. (For example, transportation buyers set their highest standard on information technology for couriers while expecting TL carriers to live up to the highest standard for competitive pricing.)
The importance survey participants place on the KPIs for each mode (based on a five-point scale) is used as a weight in calculating carrier evaluations. Survey participants then rate up to three of their main carriers in each mode (again on a five-point scale.) The final weighted score for each carrier is derived by multiplying the carrier’s average performance score by the average importance rating for each key performance indicator for that mode.
Because survey participants are first asked to rate the importance they place on each of the eight KPIs when making their carrier selections, and that data is used as a weight on their carrier evaluations, we feel that the benchmarks set are truly standards of excellence. In other words, carrier performance is judged against an ideal of what shippers expect and the areas given the most weight are the ones that matter most to buyers of transportation services. As a result, of the hundreds of carriers rated in our survey, only a very few are deemed by participants’ evaluations as providing a service so superior that it warrants a Shipper’s Choice Award.
Carriers receive the Shipper’s Choice Award when their total score meets or surpasses the total benchmark of excellence for their mode. Only those carriers who exceed this benchmark have their names and scores included in the following tables.
Average shipper satisfaction ratings for each KPI are shown by mode. The final column on the right shows the total benchmark of excellence set for each mode. The benchmarks for each of the eight KPIs per mode are indicated with each modal table on the following pages.
Invitations were sent to more than 6,000 of our readers who are buyers of transportation services in the manufacturing, retail and other sectors as well as to individuals responsible for managing shipments within the freight forwarding and 3PL sectors.
Carriers must receive a minimum number of evaluations in order to qualify for the award. It should be noted that this year winning was made all the more difficult because we once again raised the number of evaluations necessary to qualify for the award for almost every mode. In order to boost response, carriers were given the opportunity to forward the survey to their own customer lists. Not all carriers chose to do so, however. To prevent tampering, we check for multiple cases submitted by known respondents. If there is more than one case, then only the newest one is considered. Likewise, we check for similar IP addresses. As a final check on tampering, we separate and check the evaluations submitted by participants from our own e-mail list versus the e-mail lists of carrier customers. Winners must have evaluations submitted by transportation buyers from our own e-mail list to qualify for the award.
More than 2,000 buyers of transportation services participated in our survey, which makes Shipper’s Choice the largest of the several surveys we conduct annually. Thanks to those who took the time to complete our survey. (Participants receive an advance electronic copy of the results.) About 10,000 evaluations of carriers from all modes providing services in the Canadian market were cast.
As with past years, participants represent every region across Canada and buy transportation services for companies with annual sales ranging from less than $5 million up to more than $2 billion. Their annual supply chain budgets range from less than $100,000 up to more than $25 million. More than a third spend over 70% of their supply chain budgets on transportation.
The Shipper’s Choice Awards Survey was undertaken once again in partnership with CITT and the Freight Management Association of Canada (FMA), two associations whose members responsible for the purchase of transportation number in the thousands. As in previous years, the research was conducted by an independent research firm.
Winning carriers are listed alphabetically, and not by their total score. Those wanting to compare the scores among the winners should keep in mind the high probability that these carriers, although they are being compared to an industry benchmark, have been evaluated by different shippers. This survey is intended as a measure of which carriers exceed industry expectations and not a ranking of the carriers involved.

Stay tuned for full coverage in our July/August print and digital issue.

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