This enterprising freight forwarding firm “turns miles into smiles” with savvy infrastructure investments.
After navigating a miserable market in 2019 only to drive through the maelstrom of a global pandemic, trucking operators are straining to see down the road to brighter days. The skies may be heavy, but Hunter Express Trucking Ltd is taking a silver-lined approach to readiness. “The future will belong to companies who value their employees and emphasize safety and technology,” said company COO Meraj Aftab.
Founded in 2005, the Brampton, Ontario-based firm has built a $175 million business with those precise attributes, further sweetened by a dedication to meeting short lead times and last minute capacity surges. They provide TL and LTL coverage across North America, including door-to-door service to Mexico, with active terminals in Brampton and Belle River Ontario, Laredo, Texas, and drop yards in Ontario, Michigan, Tennessee, and Mexico.
Their young, tech-packed fleet includes 600 power units, 1500 Air Ride 53-foot high cube dry van trailers, and 100 temperature-controlled 53-foot trailers. Loads are carefully hauled by team drivers and single drivers.
Sustainability & Tracking
With a full load of industry-elite certifications, the minority-owned firm is at the tip of the spear when it comes to conscientious operations, meeting stringent regulatory compliance, safety, and industry best practices. The head office is ISO 9001:2015 QMS certified; other certs include Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), Partners In Protection (PIP) and the California Construction Trucking Alliance (CCTA), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWay program.
According to the EPA, the SmartWay Carriers initiative “helps companies advance supply chain sustainability by measuring, benchmarking, and improving freight transportation efficiency.”
“As a registered SmartWay carrier, we’re dedicated to conducting ourselves ethically. This includes safeguarding not only our customers and communities, but also the health of the planet. The SmartWay program provides Hunter Express with another tool to demonstrate efficiencies and show continuous efforts to improve as we build on best practices,” said Aftab.
“Trucking companies are being transformed by technology, and at Hunter Express, we’ve been investing in building infrastructure, such as implementing state-of-the-art TruckMate TMS, which enables us to serve a much wider set of customers at lower cost with the help of AI,” Aftab noted. The dispatch, operations, and accounting system makes it easier for carriers to scale, a particularly critical concern in today’s rapidly fluctuating freight hauling climate.
“It’s imperative for our customers to know the up-to-date whereabouts of their respective loads. Service delays, traffic delays, and accidents all impact our performance on customer KPIs. We've partnered with OmniTracs to handle our customer products as safely and efficiently as we can,” he revealed. “The OmniTracs fleet management solution captures actual arrival, departure, and driving time, which lets us optimize departure based on traffic congestion, delivery windows, and frequency of visits.”
A host of relevant factors are considered when it comes to maintaining their services and fleet, including the initial cost of new vehicles, the reasonable projected resale value, fuel MPG, planned maintenance and projected repairs, to name a few.
“Our fleet manager prepares short- and long-term replacement plans. But fleet managers alone cannot implement and sustain a successful safety program. It must be driven from the top as well as being actively supported at all levels of management.
“Even the best drivers will not be driving safely 100% of the time. But there are tools to assist fleet managers to ensure drivers are as careful as possible,” he stressed. “Some companies are deterred by the cost of driver safety training, and view it as an optional rather than a necessary expense. We invest in fleet driver safety training, and we’ve built a program that many companies across Canada are already using to improve their drivers’ behavior.”
Hunter uses Lytx video telematics to monitor driver behaviors every day. Both company and owner/operator partners are required to use the system. If drivers exhibit a pattern of unsafe habits, they are brought in from the road and coached to improve performance.
The firm’s new driving simulator “is instrumental for training drivers for various road conditions, helping them to make better decisions. It’s mandatory to complete a winter driving course before winter sets in, and we can improve it as needed. It’s another important tool that we use to mitigate risk, lower insurance costs, and monitor driver behaviors.”
As the company continues to grow, differentiation is at top of mind. “We’ve expanded our services in the refrigerated and flatbed sectors to mitigate the risk of relying on fewer customers with big portfolios,” he said.
We’re dedicated to the growth and success of our partners by providing premier transportation services connecting customers from Mexico and the US to and from Canada. Exceeding our customers’ expectations and constantly surpassing previous standards is what drives us to the core.”
Businesses aren’t born to stand still or follow. Anything and anyone that can’t find a path forward, falls further behind.
Choose a freight partner that always looks ahead to the next mile. Hunter Express is a rapidly growing freight-forwarding corporation driven to always press forward alongside you, in step with your supply needs rain or shine, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Since 2005, Hunter Express has grown into a Canadian asset-based trucking corporation led by a combined 60 team drivers, 150 single drivers and 80 owner-operators guided from our Brampton, ON headquarters. Our fleet has expanded in under a decade to exceed 135 of North America’s most dependable power units. Our highly trained and exceptionally safety-conscious drivers take the wheel of 110 company-owned tractors every day to pilot valuable freight across the continent via 1500 Air Ride 53′ high cube dry van trailers – all under 5 years in service – and 100 temperature-controlled 53′ trailers between our Brampton, ON and Laredo, TX terminals and drop yards.
No transportation mode in the past decade-plus has come close to matching the demand volume met by motor carriers of all sizes and segments across the United States and Canada. Our standard for perpetual accountability and customer care paves the way to lead our industry in ongoing satisfaction. From the time your freight is processed on entry at either of our Brampton, ON or Laredo, TX terminals, your goods will remain under 24/7 guarded supervision until their departure. Security guards and cameras monitor every square inch of both facilities for our customers’ valuable peace of mind day and night.
Our C-TPAT-approved Brampton terminal consists of a warehouse and cross-dock laid with onsite 24/7 maintenance shop and dispatch staffed by personnel trained in TMS JIT updates and JIT procedure. This hub is approved by UPS, FedEx and Purolator as a High Value High Risk (HVHR) terminal.
The heart of our C-TPAT-approved Laredo facility, fully paved and fenced 23 acres is a 20,000 square-foot bonded warehouse. In addition to full illumination and perpetual security guard and camera surveillance, this Texas terminal also houses an onsite U.S.-Mexico customs broker for our customers’ convenience.
1940 Steeles Ave E
Brampton, ON L6T 1A7