Going the Distance for its Clients
By Anna Guy
T-Lane T-Lane Nation is an industry-leading national logistics services company. With offices from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, the Alberta-based company addresses its customers’ diverse and unique requirements with an exhaustive offering including FTL/LTL, heavy haul, rail, warehouse/yard, and express services.
Established in 1998, T-Lane Nation has grown a large and loyal customer base through an expert eye for details. “When you’re transporting a 200-foot windmill blade, as we do typically somewhere in the woods or smaller community, it’s imperative to plan out every detail,” says Customer Concierge /Atlantic and Wind Sales, Byron Livingstone. “Not planning out the details can mean having freight stuck on the side of the road for six months,” he adds, citing an unfortunate consequence of poor planning on the part of competitor. “There is zero room for mistakes. 99 per cent right is still a failure.”
Whether it be heavy haul (over 125 tons), dangerous goods, or regular components across North America, all T-Lane Nation projects receive the same strong attention to detail. “Permitting, route, surveys, determining the proper equipment, weight, turn dimensions, knowing the laws and regulations in all the different justifications, and ensuring infrastructure can withstand the vehicle—all these factors must be planned immaculately before the freight even starts its journey,” says Livingstone, adding his team recently had a project that required freight transportation to leave from Texas and come to New Brunswick. “We have about five different contingency plans so that if, for some reason, something is thrown in our way, we have an alternative plan ready.”
History of T-Lane Nation
T-Lane Transportation and Logistics started in 1998 with one truck and a dispatcher out of the home of the Germain family. When asked what drove the decision to start T-Lane Nation, Tim Germain, CEO, states “I had enjoyed my work within the trucking industry and recognized the opportunity to make the customer’s experience better so my wife, Lauralee, and I decided to take the step to start T-Lane.” The Germain’s had built a great rapport within the transportation industry before starting the business, and the support and trust they had within the industry catapulted the company to where it’s at today with approximately 175 employees, a fleet of ~250 vehicles, and contracts within the Military and Defence, mining, hydro, oil and gas, rail, construction, wind power, then special projects and heavy haul.
The company rebranded to T-Lane Nation a few years ago to reflect the robust suite of services offered to customers. Not only focused on the destination, customers—some of the biggest names in retail and transportation— are able to store shipments along the way through T-Lane Nation’s network of national warehouses. Taking a look at their Acheson facility for example, this 100,000-sq. ft. warehouse / distribution centre boasts 13 acres of land for laydown / yard needs (½ paved, ½ compacted to 98 per cent) and offers T-Lane Nation customers many services that competitors simply cannot, including 10 loading docks, 5 bay doors, high bay racking with 2002 positions, in floor heating, professional receiving, storing and tracking. States Mannix McNabb, Customer Concierge / Terminal Manager “For the items that just don’t quite fit into traditional warehousing spaces, this location is the one for you. With a full 24/7-security system in place to ensure your assets are always protected, there is no better company to handle your indoor and outdoor warehousing and distribution services.”
T-Lane Nation also supplies cranes to offload freight on a job site. “We are truly a one-stop-shop within the transportation industry, and our clients quickly understand that in most cases we can offer them everything they need,” says Customer Concierge/ Marketing Manager Christina Williams. “Customers have come to rely on T-Lane Nation for a team with the experience and safety skills / experience to do any job properly, efficiently, and
The foundation of the company—family, trust, customer service—has only strengthened as the company grows. You may have noticed a common thread amongst employees even from this article: a similarity in the job title. To this day, every employee thinks of themselves primarily as a customer concierge, there to deliver customer service in whatever capacity that means. Customers can also attest to the fact that, day or night, the phone will always be answered by a live person—something T-Lane Nation prioritizes so highly that no office has voicemail. “The premise for that is the customer is the highest priority,” says Williams. “Everybody in the company is a customer concierge and we are all here to service the customers. It is important for us that our customers always know just how valuable they are.”
But that isn’t to say the company is not on the leading edge of technology. Far from it, T-Lane Nation has satellite tracking on equipment along with 24-7 access for customers, coast to coast, as well as coverage in the U.S. and Mexico, while having specialists in crane heavy haul and industrial moving. Another key differentiator is the team’s capacity to move pieces that scare most other carriers. Some of T-Lane Nation’s key and highly successful services are based on providing specific areas of expertise that have not been commodified and where experience based competition is low, including large building moving, military security clearance, and hazardous goods.
All T-Lane Nation team members make up an extended family whose good health and wellbeing is fostered and supported. T-Lane provides its staff with fresh fruit each week along with an inhouse Health and Wellness Coordinator, Shannon Moens, who offers the team customized fitness and diet recommendations. The high-retention of drivers is a good indication that T-Lane Nation is doing everything right, from very competitive benefits packages, to encouraging healthy nutrition and exercise on the road. That sense of service extends into the community as well, T-Lane Nation also is a supporter many charities as all employees are given two days of paid leave each year during which they can lend their time to their charity of choice.
T-Lane Nation was founded on sensing what the market needed, and it has continued to grow with that formula. In 2016, the team recognized a need for industrial grade ramps and launched a new division catering directly to clients in need of heavy duty and portable loading ramps. The perpetual success and growth of this division recently led to a North America wide launch as a stand-alone company and brand, Nation Ramps (www.nationramps.com). Led by Tim Germain, Brent Wiebe and Scott Green, Nation Ramps services a multitude of industries, including trucking and transportation, commercial real estate, manufacturing, energy, construction, rail, agriculture and warehousing.
Nation Ramps has grown to become North America’s premier provider of custom-built, project specific portable loading dock ramps with rent, lease and purchase options to best suit the client’s budget. With an inventory that includes previously used dock options, Nation Ramps is North America’s top full service ramp production facility suited to best fit a customers specific project ramp needs. In the last year, Nation Ramps customer base has grown to include Walmart, FedEx, AutoZone, Ocean Trailer, Troy Chemical, Velocity Telecom, Amphenol, Rehau, National Cartage, Direct Tap, Industria Superstudio and WesternOne.
Brent Wiebe, Customer Concierge / National Sales Director, notes the following, “We take a lot of pride in Nation Ramps being the industry leader in North America for offering new, used, rental or customized portable loading products while delivering premium quality, safety, and exceptional customer service. One direct customer advantage from Nation Ramps growing out of T-Lane Nation is that we can also offer transportation and storage solutions along any route, nationwide, resulting in large cost savings for our clients. From short term rental to large customized projects, Nation Ramps offers the best solutions to fit our client’s needs.”
Always thinking ahead. T-Lane Nation makes the transportation world a better place. Through creating win/win solutions for our customers and associates, T-Lane has built long-term relations by exceeding expectations.