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Recession slows TransForce profit Add to ...

Trucking and logistics firm TransForce Inc. says its first-quarter profits plummeted to $3.1-million and revenue dipped 14 per cent amid the economic slowdown.

Canada's leading trucking company reported Friday net income was 4 cents per share for the three months ended March 31, down from 22 cents a share, or $19.1-million, a year earlier.

Three of the Montreal-based company's four operating segments were affected by the downturn, although the package and courier business held its own, TransForce said.

Revenue fell to $452.4-million from $526.3-million in the same period of 2008. Excluding fuel surcharges, revenue fell 10 per cent in the year.

TransForce chief executive officer Alain Bedard said the company's focus on efficiency has helped it to maintain margins near historic levels.

It has continued to reduce equipment, staffing costs and debt in the face of the downturn that was "deeper and more sudden than expected."

It has frozen wages and hiring, as customers forecast reduced product shipments

TransForce is working to remain "as profitable as possible" and to position its businesses for the inevitable recovery, Mr. Bedard said ahead of the company's annual shareholders' meeting in Toronto.

TransForce bills itself as the leader in Canada's transportation and logistics industry and serves more than 75,000 customers in North America through its subsidiaries.

It has about 15,600 employees including 1,860 owner-operators.

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