Many trucking companies have come and gone over the years, but it's a testament to the progressive and adaptable nature of Musket Transport that it has not only endured, but thrived as a company. From humble beginnings to the value asset-based company it is today, the origin story and history of Musket is an interesting one.
Established by two immigrants from Poland, Andy Balij and Wojtek Swiercz, the pair incorporated Musket Transport Ltd in 1993. Assuming the respective roles as CEO and VP, Andy handled sales and dispatch, while Wojtek spearheaded maintenance and servicing of trucks.
Andy Balij, started off as a commercial truck driver and was ultimately inspired by his own experience to create the truck driver training school, CHET, in 1997. Over the past years, it's been difficult for newly licensed drivers to get hired as an AZ driver without the necessary experience. Andy created the training school in order to provide high quality education and hire graduates into Musket as it helped grow the fleet with experienced, professional drivers at the forefront.
Growth at the Turn of the Century
Prioritizing the growth of Musket as a value asset-based company, Andy acquired Melburn Truck Lines Corp in 1999. Melburn originally started in 1952 as the first refrigerated carrier in Toronto running the USNE - Toronto corridor. In the mid-1980's, Melburn Truck Lines Inc. became involved with the transportation of intermodal containers from various USNE ports into Toronto. Thanks to this evolution, the company became one of the most recognizable and respected intermodal carriers in the region; something that was desirable to Musket as they were looking to expand their services.
Upon the acquisition, Melburn became the trailer division and Musket the container division. Andy's foresight helped carve out a niche section of the trucking industry with containers which tends to be a smaller sub-section of the transport industry. But with the acquisition of Melburn and the connections it brought into the company, Musket Transport is now a leading intermodal carrier.
Training the Very Best
Musket is a family owned, asset-based company with 4 locations within the Greater Toronto Area. The accredited driving school, Commercial Heavy Equipment Training – CHET, is located at our facility on Cawthra Road. By deploying technology enhanced training, CHET allows Musket to recruit, hire, and retain drivers to continue to build an asset-based fleet. As a Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities (MTCU) mandated program that offers quality high-level driver's training, CHET continues to lead the way in education of new drivers looking to break into the industry.
The Montreal to Toronto & US North East to Toronto Corridors are the core of Musket's business. The company currently sports 45 trucks (Montreal) and 70 trucks (USNE) running these corridors with a weekly capacity of 180 imports/lane.
The super B-train service is an initiative that's been running for about 3 years. This allows Musket to pick up 1 x 40' & 1 x 20' OR 3 x 20' with a single truck, enabling the company to maximize capacity while maintaining the shorter transit time that comes along with the truck service in this corridor.
Musket has a dedicated local fleet of drivers handling GTA/Ontario and cross border P&D's daily. Like the linehaul service, Musket offers a wide variety of company owned specialized equipment setting them apart from the competition.
Musket operates the largest container terminal in Ontario (outside of CN/CP). The company currently has capacity to service 750 containers a day and is always looking to provide new and improved services. Currently working on a project to increase the gate capacity to 750 trucks a day while moving to a completely automated system. Musket has 7 overhead cranes with built in electronic scales and 320 reefer plugs. The company takes security very seriously, with the terminal being bonded and C-TPAT compliant; it's fenced, staffed and monitored 24/7.
There are nearly 100 trucks in the dry van division that runs cross border, from Ontario to the US, daily. Musket currently has 400 x 53' tandem axle dry vans and 25 brand new 53' reefer vans. The newest location is a cross-dock and warehousing facility in Mississauga that is home to the logistics team. This team has doubled in size in the past year, handling all non-asset-based services, specializing in LTL, providing coverage all throughout North America.
Driving Musket into the Future
Today, Musket continues to be a progressive company that forges new programs and procedures within the industry it has helped shape. The Musket team builds all programs in-house allowing the creation of custom solutions for our internal procedures and for our customers, with the capability to build EDI platforms and reporting tools to meet specific needs.
CHET continues to push the envelope for training standards, adapting to shifts in the transport industry and striving for diversity as it looks to place more women behind the wheel. Musket and CHET offer an annual scholarship to encourage more females to get into an industry that has historically ignored them, but where there is ample opportunity for all.
So far, Musket has grown to include, a total of, four diverse service facilities in Mississauga and are planning to continue to expand, constantly investing in new equipment and technology to help grow the fleet.
Operating as an asset-based carrier continues to separate Musket from the competition; treating and compensating drivers as employees, which has helped create a loyal team of professionals that believe in the growth of the company and strives to set the standard for the industry moving into the future.