Smith Transport, Inc. was a trucking company founded by Phillip Smith in 1919 in Oshawa, Ontario – a suburb of Toronto. The company started as a scrap metal carrier, but by the mid-1950s, it had grown to become the largest trucking company in Canada, with terminals in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and other major Canadian cities. The Trans-Canada Highway didn’t begin construction until 1950 and officially opened in 1962. Before its completion, Smith Transport trucks had to cross the border into the United States in order to haul loads of freight to Canada’s west coast. This compelled Smith Transport to expand its operations into the United States. By the mid-1960s, Smith Transport trucks were hauling freight throughout New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including to and from various points along the US-Canada border. The company’s biggest terminal hubs in the United States were located in New York City and Tonawanda, New York – a suburb of Buffalo. In 1957, controlling interest in Smith Transport was purchased by Canadian Pacific Railway, and the company became a part of CP Express & Transport, later known as Interlink Freight System. The company closed in 1997.
As a trucking company, Smith Transport, Inc. was hired by other businesses to haul materials and products. These materials and products were not owned by Smith Transport; they were owned, manufactured and distributed by various companies throughout the United States and Canada. Prior to the late 1970s, some of these materials contained asbestos. Exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma and lung cancer. Smith Transport truck drivers regularly hauled talc from the Gouverneur Talc Mine in Northern New York State. Smith Transport truck drivers also hauled raw asbestos from Canadian asbestos mines located in Montreal, Quebec to various businesses, including but not limited to Garlock Sealing Technologies in Palmyra, New York. These freights of talc and raw asbestos fibers were often packaged in flimsy cloth or burlap sacks that would easily tear open inside the truck trailers during loading, unloading and transport. The truck drivers employed by Smith Transport were responsible for sweeping and cleaning up their trailers after unloading, which gave rise to a tremendous amount of asbestos dust and fibers. This simple task exposed Smith Transport truck drivers, and potentially other employees at the loading docks and terminals, to talc and raw asbestos, putting them at high risk for developing asbestos-related diseases later in life.
Inhaling dust and airborne particles from transporting talc and raw asbestos put workers at risk for developing mesothelioma or lung cancer. Smith Transport workers were not aware of the hazards of exposure to talc and asbestos when they performed their job duties without wearing masks or protective gear. Even workers who were not in direct contact with talc or raw asbestos materials still remain at risk for developing an asbestos-related disease. If you or a loved one worked at Smith Transport, Inc. and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us regarding your legal rights.