Elisabeth Cosmatos      Thu, 01/04/2021






this week we speak with Janet Mackund,
Vice President - Operations, BNSF Logistics, Canada





Janet started her career at J. H. Bachann Canada Inc., where she learned freight forwarding hands on. She later joined Albacor Shipping, a specialized project forwarder and was very involved with the handling and movement of oversized, overweight and unusual freight.

Albacor Shipping was acquired by BNSF Logistics LLC in December 2012 and after 22 years at Albacor / BNSF Logistics, Janet can still say that there is always something new to learn in project forwarding.



Tell us about BNSF Group. Who owns the company?

BNSF Logistics is a subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC, a Berkshire Hathaway company. We are a technology and people-driven third-party logistics company that delivers what matters – to our people, our customers, our carriers, and our communities. We are a growing company that dares to embrace imagination and combine it with deep experience and technology to provide smart, creative solutions that align with our customers’ business needs and bring efficient, on-time, measurable results to their bottom line.

Where are your offices located?

The company operates more than 25 offices throughout North America and has a network of Global Service Providers (GSPs) that have been vetted and completed the required due diligence, as well as certified their understanding and willingness to comply with FCPA requirements. In Canada, we have offices located in Toronto, Montreal and Alberta that are ISO Certified.

What is BNSF's specialty and service range?

BNSF Logistics specializes in movement of freight around the globe, leveraging uncommon service scope, resources, and financial depth.

We provide International Project Logistics Services through dedicated teams in Canada, as well as in the USA, with services focused on high, wide & heavy transportation, consideration of all modes of transport, as well as small & mid-sized industrial projects.

We offer experience and dedicated experts with in depth expertise in international project transportation, domestic project transportation, ocean & airfreight for standard, out-of-gauge and breakbulk cargoes in liner and charter service, over-dimensional and/or heavy haul cargo, as well as barge transport services. Complex projects can be supported by an in-house Project Management Office using IT solutions to ensure project remains on track.

BNSF Logistics is one of the few independent Rail Project Service providers in North America. The company maintains close relationships with the five major North American Rail Service Provides, as well as countless short line railroads.

Our Rail Project Experts are located in the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico. Additionally, BNSF Logistics has two Rail Project sub teams with sole focus on Transformer movements and Wind Turbine Equipment transports. Of special note, our Wind Turbine team also manages & operates distribution centers in key locations across the U.S.A.

Tell us about projects that you have handled recently.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a great deal of projects that were to move in 2020 were delayed. We however did handle a small project in January 2021 from the port of Vancouver to Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan.  This cargo was destined for a First Nations owned major green energy project in Meadow Lake. The cargo required direct discharge from vessel to truck for 14 pieces for which we had to have representatives from the carrier, customer and a surveyor on hand to make sure all went well.

Just prior to the pandemic, BNSF Logistics moved two reaction furnace burners from Ontario, Canada, to Louisiana in the United States.  Due to the size of the pieces, the cargo could not be railed, barge was extremely expensive and it was not certain if trucking would be permitted by the various Canadian Provinces and States in the US that the cargo would have to move through, as well as if permission would be granted by the utility companies that needed to be involved.

Cargo was able to move after a suitable route was found via a route study and challenges of coordinating timing of permits with availability of utility companies with lifting equipment and police escorts were overcome.

Which are the main industries served in Canada? 

Oil & Gas, Wind, Solar, Aerospace, Pulp and Paper, Automotive, Mining, Pharmaceuticals.

Which are the main ports used for serving breakbulk project cargo in Canada? 

Vancouver, Montreal and Halifax year round. When the St. Lawrence Seaway is open after the winter, the ports in the Great Lakes such as Hamilton and Thunder Bay are also capable of handling project cargo. We in Canada also handle project freight out of any US Port.

Is special transport a competitive sector in Canada? How do you ensure that you will stand out?

BNSF Logistics, as a Berkshire Hathaway Company, is held to the highest standard of business ethics, corporate compliance and regulatory recognition globally. Our relationships and affiliations, provide us inherent brand equity, strong backing and a competitive advantage in the market with capital available for technological investment. We are proud members of industry associations, one of them being The Heavy Lift Group. 

In addition to our specialty and service range mentioned above, we deliver value that is real, measurable and with service that goes beyond capacity and transit time.

What made you join the industry?

I fell into freight forwarding quite by accident and got hooked on the ever changing industry and the knowledge that it could never get boring.

What do you like the most about your business?

The challenge of getting something moved that seems impossible.

Who should be approached in BNSF for inquiries?

Janet Mackund Vice President, Operations, Canada.