Strengthening US presenceBy Leo Ryan, AJOTAt Montreal’s Logistec Corporation, a leading Canadian cargo-handling and marine services group with an expanding US presence, eyes are constantly focused on beckoning opportunities under the guidance of Madeleine Paquin, President and CEO since 1996 of the firm founded by her late father Roger Paquin in 1952. Staying nimble and cost-conscious through challenging periods has also been underlined by the company’s impressive financial performance. Logistec has been profitable every year since going public in 1969 and has more than doubled annual revenues since 1995. In the past decade, stockholders have seen their shares quintuple in value. In looking south and eventually westwards, Madeleine Paquin likes to speak in terms of “structured growth – that is, growth that must never compromise our profitability.” Stevedoring and terminal operations accounted for 78% of the company’s revenues of C$217 million in 2006. Over 85% of revenues are derived from the marine sector which, besides cargo-handling, encompasses agency services to foreign ship owners and marine transportation geared primarily to the Arctic coastal trade. Another division, Sanexen Environmental Services Inc., specializes in PCB waste management, site remediation, water treatment, risk assessment and structural rehabilitation of water mains. All told, Logistec employs 779 people – 349 in Canada and 430 in the United States. Last year’s 15% increase in revenues and 58% increase in net profit to C$10.7 million were driven by a combination of factors: notably, a sharp rise in activity at the Montreal Termont container terminal, higher project cargo volumes, and bigger movements of aluminum ingot from the Alouette smelter at Sept-Iles to Trois-Rivières on the St. Lawrence River. Moreover, record volumes of cargo were carried on the Arctic coastal service during the Arctic shipping season running from July to November. With a presence in 22 ports in eastern North America, including six US ports, Logistec handles all types of dry cargo, including bulk, break bulk and containers. Typical cargoes are forest products, metals, dry bulk, fruit, grain, bagged commodities, and general cargo. In the United States, Logistec has facilities at Baltimore, Bridgeport, New London and New Haven (CT), Brunswick (GA), and Port Manatee, Florida. JOINT VENTURE AT PORT MANATEEIn a joint venture with the Manatee County Port Authority, Logistec USA Inc. earlier this year purchased a US$3.9 million Gottwald mobile container crane. Commenting on this development, MCPA Chairman Joe McClash declared that “as the closest US deepwater seaport to the Panama Canal, it’s obvious that Port Manatee stands to benefit greatly from the canal’s expansion.” For her part, Paquin stated that “our confidence in this project is a transparent investment in Port Manatee’s future as much as it is in a crane.” Logistec has been present at Port Manatee since 2003. Its operations include the discharging and warehousing of all of Del Monte Fresh Produce’s imported fruits as well as the receiving and loading of linerboard. In an interview with AJOT, Paquin said Logistec continues to explore acquisition opportunities to invest in new or existing facilities, both in the United States or on the West Coast at Vancouver, Canada’s largest port and Asia Pacific gateway. But she indicated that new players such as infrastructure funds “have been paying multiples that are way out.” “In the past year or two,” Paquin continued, “infrastructure funds have been very aggressively purchasing companies in our field. When we found ourselves competing against them, we chose not to match. So necessarily, we lost out on some potential business opportunities. We did that consciously.” Concerning Vancouver and the West Co