Richardson buys major Winnipeg trucking firm

Bison’s divisions include refrigerated hauling and intermodal trucking

Bison Transport has operated out of Winnipeg since 1969.

The owner of Canada’s biggest agri-food company has bought full control of one of Canada’s biggest trucking companies.

James Richardson and Sons Ltd., the parent firm of agribusiness Richardson International, announced Jan. 5 it has bought 100 per cent of the shares of Winnipeg-based Bison Transport for an undisclosed sum.

Bison employs about 3,700 staff and contractors running a fleet of 2,100 trucks and 6,000 trailers across North America, Richardson said.

“We are excited about the opportunity to acquire Bison, which has an outstanding reputation for customer service, dependability, employee relations and safety built over the past 51 years,” Hartley Richardson, CEO of Winnipeg-based JRSL, said in a release.

The deal, which closed effective Jan. 1, won’t result in any changes to Bison’s operations, nor to the Bison brand, Richardson said, adding Bison will continue to be headquartered in Winnipeg.

Set up in 1969 by Duncan Jessiman to provide cartage services for the construction industry, Bison began its expansion as it picked up the catalogue business, first for Eaton’s, then for Sears.

Bison’s divisions today include dry vans, long combination vehicles, refrigerated hauling, “asset-based” logistics, intermodal trucking and warehousing and distribution.

Bison in recent years also grew through expansion, acquiring subsidiaries such as Searcy Trucking, Britton Transport and, in 2019, Wisconsin-based dry van firm H.O. Wolding.

“While we have mixed emotions, we are thrilled that we have found a buyer for Bison that shares our values of excellence and that cares for our employees and customers as much as we have over the past 51 years,” Peter Jessiman, CEO of Jessiman family holding company Wescan Capital, said in Richardson’s release.

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