Seafood Express Transport, based in Charlottetown, transports goods throughout North America. They currently have 85 power units (truck cabs) and more than 100 trailers. A year ago, Seafood Express moved into a larger, newly constructed building in Charlottetown.
Andy Keith is Vice-President of the company, which was purchased in 1986 by his father, Bill Keith, with a focus on transporting fish from the Maritime provinces to Boston.
“Back then, the fleet consisted of less than 10 power units, and we have been growing ever since,” says Andy. “Nowadays, we mainly focus on fresh and frozen food products, temperature-controlled beverages, fresh and frozen seafood, medical supplies, and other products and materials.”
About the staff and hiring needs
Seafood Express employs more than 30 Office personnel and Maintenance Technicians, and more than 90 professional Drivers.
“During this time of COVID-19 restrictions, we are still hiring U.S. Long Haul Truck Drivers,” says Suzanne Gray, Recruiting and Marketing Coordinator. “As trucking is an essential service, we need to continue moving goods across North America to keep the economy moving.
“Procedures have been adapted accordingly in terms of training and orientation, as we are taking precautions and practicing social distancing.
“For Long Haul Drivers, our minimum requirements are the following:
- Two years long-haul driving experience
- Clean drivers abstract
- The ability to cross the border into the United States (eg. U.S. Visa for non-Citizens)
Difficult jobs to fill
“Drivers are the most difficult jobs to fill,” says Andy. “With our fleet consistently expanding, we are constantly looking to fill new positions, so we are always recruiting. Being a long-haul carrier, we need the most skilled and experienced Drivers.
“To maintain our excellent safety record, we are very selective on whom we hire to drive for our company.
“Less experienced drivers are required to take extended training with a Driver Trainer to ensure they are proficient and comfortable with our long-haul operations.”
Andy says North America is facing a massive shortage of Drivers in the trucking industry, which poses a challenge to all carriers.
“We offer on-the-job training,” says Andy. “We have a full-time Driver Recruiter and Trainer on-site. We offer a very extensive paid orientation program for new Drivers, and we have staff who continually educate and train Drivers. Safety is important to us.
“We are consistently educating our Drivers. New Drivers get a three-month probationary period, where they are assigned to job shadow with certified and experienced Driver Trainers for as long as they need.
“While we don’t have any co-op opportunities available at the moment, we have used a similar program in the past and hired the employee. If we feel someone is a good fit to join our team, we do what we can to ensure he or she can work with our company.”
Transferable skills and educational background needed
“We follow US DOT guidelines when it comes to hiring standards. Usually, we require minimum high school diploma (or equivalent), a valid Class 1 driver’s license, clean criminal record, and clean driver’s abstract.
“The ability to work as part of a team is a major asset to our company. Seafood Express has a very team-oriented philosophy, because all our departments are required to be in constant communication to keep the company operating efficiently and effectively.
“When hiring, a post-secondary education is always an asset but not a requirement. We focus more on hiring for good character, as we can train and provide people with the skills to work in the transportation industry.”
Is there a need for bilingual staff?
“Bilingualism is definitely an asset,” says Andy. “Our fleet runs through Quebec on a daily basis. Also, the ability to speak other languages is a welcome addition.
“We currently have people on staff who speak various languages and we see great value in multilingualism.”
Supporting working conditions during COVID-19
“We are handing out protective equipment such as hand sanitizer, masks, and other supplies,” says Suzanne. “We are providing daily newsletters with updated information to keep our Drivers informed on current COVID-19 procedures and where they can get a hot meal on the road.
“We are working with the Canadian Trucking Alliance, Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association and the PEI Trucking Sector Council to provide updates and ensure Drivers have the necessary resources and equipment.
“We are also taking part in a social media campaign, #ThankATrucker, through the CTA (Canadian Trucking Alliance). We have been posting photos and thank you notes on our social media, and even had special shirts made up with the hashtag, to thank our drivers for providing their essential service during this crisis.
“It is important that drivers know how thankful we are for what they’re doing!”
How do they advertise for staff?
Open positions are posted online through job boards, the company website, and social media. The company also works closely with job-readiness programs, government assistance programs, and recruiting companies.
How to apply
Job seekers can contact Suzanne Gray, Driver Recruiter, at 1-902-566-1102 ext. 221 or email [email protected].
Submitted by Seafood Express Transport