Sean Pierce, CEO at Logistec Corporation

Logistec Corporation, one of the crown jewels of Canada’s marine industry, has embarked on a new chapter in its 70-year history following its acquisition in January by NY-based Blue Wolf Capital Partners for approximately C$1.2 billion. And it was as a featured speaker at the annual conference in Montreal last week of the Shipping Federation of Canada that Sean Pierce, the marine industry veteran appointed new CEO outlined an ambitious roadmap for the marine and environmental services company.

Pierce has succeeded Madeleine Paquin, the president and CEO between 1996 and 2023. Her impressive track record was highlighted by steady growth, constant profits, and an astute diversification into environmental services. Consolidated revenues for fiscal 2023, not yet publicly released, are expected to top C$1 billion for the first time. Logistec was a family-controlled entity since its creation in 1952 by Quebec entrepreneur Roger Paquin.

Before a large audience of maritime industry executives, Pierce evoked a scenario of potentially significantly broadening Logistec’s footprint within and beyond existing markets in Canada and the United States.

After, first, paying tribute to Logistec’s longstanding contribution to the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System, he declared: “A major part of our go-forward strategy is to continue to expand our footprint in this entire region and to also offer up new, innovative solutions and services to further grow upon the 50M tonnes of cargo handled across the portfolio,” he said.

Through 3,900 employees in 90 terminals in 60 ports, Pierce indicated: “With increased frequency, we will offer our enterprise customers multi-port service offerings that leverage both our scale and to also expand into new regions.”

While recalling that Logistec is a founding member and big supporter of the Green Marine certification program for the North American maritime industry, Pierce stressed: “But our commitment to the environment goes well beyond most, with our ALTRA portfolio of environmental and water service companies. We have already taken major steps to better promote and deliver these industry-leading solutions globally and it is quite amazing how advanced these technologies are – with many developed right here in the Montreal area.”

Exploring opportunities in Mexico and Latin America

In an interview, Mr. Pierce disclosed that as part of current strategy Logistec was notably exploring opportunities in Mexico and Latin America that “tie in with our portfolio.”

Mr. Pierce covered a variety of subjects related to Logistec services, including one-stop shopping that will be enhanced and the newly launched 2024 Customer Outreach Program aimed at freeing up additional capacity, volume, and value for both Logistec and its customers.

New technologies are being deployed, he said, “to identify personnel and equipment in operations where proximity, much like in cars today, will stop the machines and avoid incident.”

In his view, there are “tremendous opportunities at multi-purpose terminals to deploy technologies.”

He noted in this regard the new mega-terminal technologies and new equipment at the Termont container terminal in the Port of Montreal.

On the intermodal front, he emphasized the importance of the Montreal gateway. “There remains a lot of potential to unlock and increase capacity and velocity of traffic through the corridor.”

Pierce described the core breakbulk sector as “a solid business line and area of future growth for Logistec.”

Through its handling of such bulk products as iron ore, he underlined Logistec’s partnership with industry and traders “to ensure that product is where it needs to be and in volumes needed to keep the factory turning out product.”

In his introductory remarks, Pierce briefly gave a personal perspective on how his new career environment differs from previous responsibilities.

His professional experience, for instance, included various management positions at the big TraPac Limited container terminal at the Port of Los Angeles. “The ride for pilots was very short and maneuvers for the 20K TEU vessels extremely limited.”

Pierce suggested that the St. Lawrence Seaway and the weather “does make things far more interesting. Here, it’s like my time in Turkey where you have the Bosphorous connecting the Black and Marmara Sea and have complexity, high traffic, and always looking for ways to maximize the size of ships and loads.”