Railroads were the main source of freight transportation in the early 20th century. They were able to bring the largest amounts of goods to buyers in the West, and they were capable of transporting several tons for only a few dollars. In the last 50 years, however, much of this transportation has gone to trucking companies. Trucks are able to provide transportation directly to the customer, and they are often able to do it quicker without having to load and reload at several points along the way. The advent of mass-trucking has caused some concern around railroads and the companies that supply them. This includes one company that was based in a small town in Ontario called National Steel Car.
National Steel Car has been around for nearly a century. This local manufacturer of railroad cars and rolling stock, such as boxcars, hoppers, and coal cars, had been a staple in the community and had contracts with all of the major railroads in the region. However, cash flow issues caused by the shift to trucking caused the owners to stop investing in the company. They just wanted to recoup their losses and then sell the company for parts. Management did not have clear directives, and the company shifted to a low-cost model that was not in demand. NSC was close to dying when Gregory James Aziz stepped in and purchased the company in 1994, from its then owner Dofasco.
Gregory J. Aziz is an investor and businessman. He has a long track record of taking struggling companies with a local influence and turning them into multi-million-dollar international companies. He had just done it with Affiliated Foods, his family’s company, in the decades prior to purchasing NSC, and he was about to do it again.
When he arrived at National Steel Car, Greg Aziz noticed that they were not focused on engineering to customer standards. Aziz created a strategy to use the engineering knowledge that was in the area and hiring top talent to focus on creating the best designs and safest railcars around. He also put more capital into the company and increased production capacity in anticipation of customers coming back for the higher-quality cars. He was right on all counts, and customers started flocking back to National Steel Car. Click Here for more information.
James Aziz has the ability to read markets and bring companies back from destruction. His successes have turned National Steel Car into the premier rolling stock company in Canada, with distribution to all corners of North America. The trucking companies may still have an edge on railroads, but with Greg Aziz at the wheel, anything is possible.