Gemini interrupts Canadian sweep, claims NTTC’s first private-fleet championship

May 24, 2023
Tandet Group and Harmac Transportation secure tank truck association’s for-hire carrier awards, while Love's fuel hauler represents U.S.-based companies in 2022 North American safety contest

EVERETT, Massachusetts—The Canadians swept the for-hire championships in National Tank Truck Carriers’ 2022 North American Safety Awards, giving them the right to call the Heil Trophy the industry’s Stanley Cup on this special day.

Fortunately, Gemini Motor Transport was there to hoist some historic hardware for U.S. fleets, too, eh.

Tandet Group, based out of Oakville, Ontario, and Harmac Transportation, headquartered in nearby North York—both in Greater Toronto—claimed the premier for-hire carrier awards Tuesday at Encore Boston Harbor, with Tandet emerging in the Harvison division, and Harmac in the Sutherland; and Gemini, which hales from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, claimed the association’s first private-fleet trophy.

“We couldn’t do any of this if it wasn’t for the Love family,” Brent Bergevin, Gemini’s executive vice president of transportation, told the crowd during NTTC’s 2023 Annual Conference. “Unfortunately, we lost Tom Love this year. He passed away [March 7 at 85 years old]. He’s a true icon in this industry. His leadership is legendary. Tom was our head cheerleader, our leader, our mentor, everything, and we live by his motto: ‘Today’s trophy doesn’t win tomorrow’s game.’

 “And it’s inspiring to say that knowing we just won this—but tomorrow we’ve got to do it again.”

Gemini, which posted an accident frequency of .282 in Class 1, the highest mileage class, emerged as the inaugural winner in a group of five private-fleet finalists who secured Grand awards in the Competitive Safety Contest, including CLI Transport (Class 2), Casey’s Services Company (Class 3), LSP Transport (Class 4), and Poolsure (Class 5).

Gemini previously snared a Heil Trophy for elite safety operations in 2017 while competing in the Harvison division. But while the company technically is for hire, it primarily hauls fuel for Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores.

See also: Gemini, G&D/Hoffman snare NTTC's 2017 safety trophies

“My incredible team is the true winner,” Bergevin said after thanking his family, NTTC, and event sponsors. “We’ve got a lot of my main guys here, including Jeremy Gravely, who runs all the operations in the field day-to-day—he and his team are incredible; Andy Lash, who runs our logistics 24/7, and last year put 850,000 loads in the ground—6.8 billion gallons; Todd Singleton and his team, who keep everything running in maintenance, keep all the drivers compliant, and so much more—he’s a true leader for us; and Jim Dillon, who buys and specs all our equipment, sells it, and keeps everything rolling through.”

Tandet’s win in the Harvison division, for carriers whose trucks logged more than 15 million miles last year, makes it the first company to win in both for-hire categories. Tandet (Class 5, .053 accident frequency) won a Heil Trophy in the Sutherland division, for carriers who traveled less than 15 million miles, in 2018—when Groendyke Transport secured its record eighth title. NTTC awarded only one Outstanding Performance Trophy from 1948 to 2013.

“For me, this is not the Super Bowl [trophy],” joked Scott Tilley, Tandet president. “For me, as a representative of a company based in Canada, this is our Stanley Cup. And it happens to be a cup, which is very coincidental.

“What I’m proud of is that this industry is recognized as the safest [transportation) segment, despite carrying some of the highest risks. And that’s a testament to what we do, and the NTTC, which promotes this [award], and keeps us focused on it, not just by this contest but the motto they live by, which ascribes the safety factor to everything we do.”

See also: Groendyke, Tandet win 2018 safety performance trophies

All contestants were rated on five key factors, including accident frequency, as determined by DOT recordable incidents; safety record improvement; vehicle maintenance, driver training, and controls; personnel safety; and other contributions to the cause of highway safety, particularly as it applies to the tank truck industry. The judges this year were David Heller (Truckload Carriers Association), Robyn Kinsley (The Chlorine Institute), Torrey Lauermann (American Trucking Associations), and Brandon Johnson (International Milk Haulers Association).

The other Harvison division finalists were Heniff Transportation Systems (Class 1), Oakley Transport (Class 2), Slay Transportation (Class 3), and Tidewater Transit (Class 4).

Harmac (Class 7) won the Sutherland title with a .089 accident frequency.

“This is an incredible award for us,” said David McDonald, chief operations officer for Seaboard Transport, Harmac’s parent, which is headquartered in Nova Scotia. “We’ve always looked at the Heil Trophy as the pinnacle of performance in this industry.

“We’re extremely happy to be recipients.”

See also: Service Transport, Lacy's Express collect 2021 safety championships

The other Sutherland division Grand award winners were Solar Transport (Class 7), Alaska West Express (Class 8), AG Energy Transport (Class 9), Ee-Jay Motor Transports (Class 9), Lamb Fuels (Class 10), and Ventura Transfer Company (Class 10).

Previous Heil Trophy winners (since the contest first split into multiple divisions) include:

  • 2014: Tidewater Transit, Harvison; Wynne Transport, Sutherland
  • 2015: Miller Transporters, Harvison; Carbon Express, Sutherland
  • 2016: Groendyke Transport, Harvison; GLS Transport, Sutherland
  • 2017: Gemini Motor Transport, Harvison; G&D Trucking/Hoffman Transportation, Sutherland
  • 2018: Groendyke Transport, Harvison; Tandet Logistics, Sutherland
  • 2019: Trimac Transportation, Harvison; G&D Trucking/Hoffman Transportation, Sutherland
  • 2020: Suttles Truck Leasing, Harvison; LSP Transport, Sutherland
  • 2021: Service Transport Company, Harvison; Lacy’s Express, Sutherland

“We have a corporate slogan: ‘Safe, reliable, and professional,’” McDonald said. “So, it’s not enough to deliver the product on time. If it’s not done safely, and it’s not done professionally, we have failed.”

Look for more on the 2022 NTTC North American safety champions in an upcoming special edition of Bulk Transpoter magazine.

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