QSL buys Empire Stevedoring

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

QSL has bought Empire Stevedoring Co. Ltd. Based in Montreal. Empire specializes in port terminal operation, stevedoring, marine services and transport,

The deal will allow Quebec-headquartered QSL to increase its geographic footprint in the Canadian and U.S. markets.

“In addition to increasing our presence in the U.S., this transaction, subject to regulatory approvals, will allow QSL to become the only port terminal operator and stevedore to have such a significant presence in both Port of Quebec and Port of Montreal,” said QSL’s president and CEO, Robert Bellisle,

“For QSL, it represents a significant increase in its presence into the container ship market with its considerable potential for the industry’s future. Quebec has all of the expertise needed to become a leader in this market segment.”

Founded in Montreal in 1931, Empire Stevedoring is a fourth generation family business. It initiated talks with QSL to assess possible options.

Empire offers services in Montreal; Thunder Bay and Toronto, Ontario; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax and Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia; Houston, Texas; and, New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Forty years of history

A 40-year history links the two companies. In 1980, QSL founder Denis Dupuis approached Empire Stevedoring’s owner, the Chodos family, asking it to partner in acquiring facilities in a dozen ports. Since that time, the Chodos family has held shares in QSL.

Operating in Chicago for more than 15 years now, QSL made inroads into the Gulf of Mexico market last year by acquiring facilities in Houston, Texas. Empire Stevedoring also operates in Houston, and in New Orleans, Louisiana, in addition to maintaining a strong presence in Canada, including Montreal, the Great Lakes and the Atlantic provinces.

Andrew Chodos will remain president and CEO of the Empire Stevedoring division.

“My grandfather, Sam Chodos, an immigrant from Eastern Europe, built Empire Stevedoring one client at a time. His sense of innovation enabled him to stand out from the competition. My father, Ted, became head of the company in 1975 and expanded it significantly. I took over when my father passed away and sought to maintain this spirit of excellence and innovation,” Chodos said.

“It is not easy for me to turn this page in my family’s history, but I know that Mr. Bellisle and his team will take my grandfather’s dream even further. I will support QSL in this new chapter so that it becomes a logistics chain leader.”  

QSL offers transportation and cargo-handling infrastructure services, including the hauling of heavy equipment, over dimensional loads and wind turbines throughout North America via its subsidiary, Watson Transport. It  has more than 2,000 employees and activities in 50 ports and terminals in Canada and the United States. All of its terminals are Green Marine certified.