WINNIPEG, Man. – Big Freight Systems, a Canadian fleet that belongs to the Daseke family of operating companies, is now merging with Kelsey Trail Trucking.
The two operations will collectively operate nearly 750 tractors and trailers.
Kelsey Trail becomes a division of Big Freight, with operations in Saskatoon, Sask., and Innisfil, Ont. Big Freight is headquartered in Steinbach, Man.
Kelsey Trail itself operates 80 tractors and 90 sets of five-axle B-trains. Fifty of its tractors travel across Canada, backhauling much of the cedar shipped out of British Columbia. It also has a regional fleet making deliveries from Toronto, into northern Ontario and Quebec.
Big Freight also gains a 42,000-sq.-ft. facility north of Toronto.
Collectively, Daseke has more than 5,500 tractors and 11,500 flatbed and specialized trailers across North America.
“This is a big day for both companies,” said Gary Coleman, president of Big Freight. “While we will operate somewhat autonomously, we will share many resources — there is a lot of synergy between the two companies. Big Freight hauls single flatbed trailers throughout the United States and Canada, while Kelsey Trail is the largest dedicated B-train operator in Canada, with coast-to-coast truckload and LTL service. Kelsey Trail also has a regional B-train operation in Ontario and Quebec. We’ve never competed for freight, but now we’ll be able to work together in some creative ways. That’s exciting for both companies, and it will be a benefit for our customers. It will give us a competitive edge and more freight opportunities.”
Kelsey Trail is celebrating its 38th anniversary as a family-operated trucking company.
“I’ve had others knock on our doors, but have never been inclined to sell or merge,” said Kelsey Trail president Jim Clunie. “We’ve been very successful. But the opportunity with Big Freight was different, and what our two companies can do together is very exciting. What’s more, Big Freight is a part of Daseke, which represents the largest asset-based flatbed operation in North America.”