Transportation & Logistics


Efficient and reliable transportation has always been the irreplaceable foundation supporting Canada’s economic growth. Participants in this sector today, however, are contending with an unprecedented array of challenges and opportunities. Goods and commodities are routinely shipped via intermodal services, coordinated and tracked by sophisticated logistics services against exacting customer-imposed timetables. At the same time, industry consolidation and enterprise reorganizations continue apace, regulations grow more complicated, long-standing trade agreements are suddenly revised, and rapidly-emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, distributed ledger/blockchain, sharing apps and the gig economy, and autonomous vehicles promise to transform (or disrupt) entire business models.

Operating successfully in such an environment naturally requires a sophisticated and holistic approach to business and to serving customer needs, and industry players require legal services that meet the same standard.

Our team includes some of the most experienced and effective practitioners in the sector whose insight into industry-specific issues like safety, rights-of-way, commercial agreements, common carrier obligations and cargo liability is second to none. Practitioners who can rapidly assemble and lead teams of in-house experts from specialties so often required by this industry: M&A, financing, tax, insolvency, litigation, regulatory compliance, environmental, technology, labour & employment, occupational safety, interprovincial and international trade. What’s more, we bolster this breadth of expertise with a local presence that perhaps only transportation companies can fully appreciate. With twelve offices across Canada, we are the national law firm that is most likely to have a lawyer close to the site of an incident or dispute when timing matters most.

Faced with simultaneous demands for consistent delivery and for transformational change, our clients trust us to see their world in as much detail as they do, and to get to the essence of their problems faster than they can alone.

The Miller Thomson Transportation & Logistics team provides expert advice on all modes of transportation:

  • Aviation
  • Highway (truck and bus)
  • Marine
  • Rail
  • Pipeline

Marine Law

Canada boasts a rich and storied maritime tradition, from the birchbark and cedar canoes of First Nations traders that navigated the vast network of lakes and rivers for centuries, to the development of the marine highway that is the Great Lakes—St. Lawrence Seaway, the revitalization of the shipbuilding industry, and the growing interest in the development of the Northwest Passage in an ecologically-sensitive manner. This trading nation owes much of its wealth to the constant expansion of its numerous deep-water seaports that move freight to and from every corner of the world, offering rail and highway connections stretching coast to coast and south into the United States.

Being part of that maritime tradition means facing ever-changing risk. Today’s mariners and shippers, and the sectors that support them, confront complex challenges: tight profit margins, intense competition, heightened customer expectations, and a tangled web of regulations. Our team of experienced marine lawyers stands ready to guide you through Canada’s complex system of maritime laws and regulations. We provide a full complement  of legal services and advice to the marine and related industries, including:


  • Ship acquisition and registration
  • Ship importation and reflagging
  • Financing of vessels, cargo and marine infrastructure
  • Marine insurance
  • Maritime liens & mortgages
  • Charterparty agreements
  • Tug & barge agreements
  • Cargo, commodities & logistics
  • Crew employment agreements
  • Shipyards, ports & marinas
  • Bankruptcy, insolvency & restructuring


  • Cabotage / coasting trade compliance
  • Investigations by regulatory agencies
  • Transportation of dangerous goods
  • Compliance with environmental laws
  • Customs and tax matters

Dispute Resolution

  • Arbitration / litigation
  • Freight and demurrage claims
  • Salvage and general average claims
  • Ship arrest, detention and judicial sale
  • Marine casualties, collisions and groundings

Notable Matters

  • Counsel to the CIT Group / Equipment Financing Inc. in the Lac Mégantic derailment class action, and parallel CCAA proceedings, in conjunction with lawyers for parallel US proceedings, in one of the most complex multijurisdictional class action/CCAA proceedings and settlements of its kind in Canada at the time.
  • Counsel to Providence Grain Group Inc. in the sale of a 51% stake in the bulk grain transport and delivery business of Columbia Containers Ltd. to Timber Investments Ltd.
  • Canadian counsel to Daseke, the largest owner and leading consolidator of open deck specialized transportation solutions in North America, in its acquisition of Aveda Transportation and Energy Services in a $42.6 million transaction, plus a payoff of $54.8 million in Aveda debt.
  • Canadian counsel to Texas-based Daseke in its acquisition of Big Freight Systems Inc., a top-tier safety ranked open deck carrier with a specialization in the power sports market segment, headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • Counsel to Rosenau Transport in its acquisition by General Logistics Systems, a subsidiary of Royal Mail, for $360 million.
  • Counsel to Heniff Transportation Systems, a U.S.-based leader in liquid bulk transportation, food grade and rail transloading, in its cross-border acquisition of Premier Bulk Systems, an Ontario-based bulk motor carrier, truckload and LTL logistics provider.
  • Counsel to the sellers of ASL Distribution Services Limited, a transportation, warehousing, distribution and final mile service provider, in its sale to Fastfrate Group.
  • Counsel to Titanium Transportation Group in a treasury offering and secondary bought deal offering for aggregate gross proceeds of $35 million.

Transportation & Logistics Communiqué

Read the latest issue of Miller Thomson’s Transportation & Logistics Communiqué.


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