2021 marked PF Collins’ 100th anniversary, and what a journey it has been!
We are proud of our rich history in supporting our clients in their international trade and logistics activities. From the early days of moving goods to ports along Newfoundland’s coast, to supporting today’s major industries, PF Collins began as one man at a single desk and has since grown into a globally recognized leader in our industry
A special acknowledge to Jessica Steffler © 2021 for providing much of the below company history in her publication: PF Collins International Trade Solutions 1921-2021
The Mail Order Man
In April 1908, Patrick Francis Collins, a clothing merchant, opened his own dry goods store at 342 Water Street, in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Due to the recently completed Newfoundland railway, Patrick successfully developed a mail order catalogue service which provided a reliable way to deliver goods to distant and isolated communities.
Shortly after a fire destroyed Patrick’s store in 1913, he became a Customs Broker and amassed an impressive amount of experience in the retail, wholesale, and trade sectors. In 1921, Patrick was appointed as Customs Broker at the government Custom House on Duckworth Street.
During the first part of the 20th century, international transport was still largely marine and St. John’s was the key port of entry for Newfoundland. PF Collins helped arrange for the import and movement of goods throughout the island. This role would prove to be critical to the development of Newfoundland’s first industries.
Kings Road ‘Kings’
In 1935, PF Collin’s son, Bernard L. Collins, joined the firm and, in the middle of the Great Depression, PF chose to relocate his business to an office on Kings Road.
The Commission of Government also introduced an amended Customs Tariff this same year to which PF would need to familiarize himself with, while continuing to advertise his customs brokering services as well as forwarding agent services.
After confederation with Canada in 1949, Newfoundland’s trading patterns and transportation systems changed significantly. PF and Bernard welcomed these challenges as an opportunity to expand the business.
They participated in early industrial developments, including the Grand Falls and Corner Brook pulp and paper mills and the Pepperrell and Argentia U.S. military stations. They represented the Holyrood and Come-By-Chance refineries, the Churchill Falls Hydroelectric Project, and the Province’s fishing and mining companies.
The Changing of the Guard
Although Bernard had been overseeing and managing operations at PF Collins for several years, his role as owner and company head became official in a 1953 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with his father, Patrick. The company name “PF Collins, Customs Broker” was officially relinquished and passed to Bernard.
1950’s & 60’s
As demand for warehousing services increased, The PF Collins warehouses grew in size and capabilities over the years. The Kerry Street warehouse (top left) was just 1,000 square feet, and was in use in the 1950s and 1960s. The Southside Road warehouse (top right) was four times as big, had loading doors, and even a forklift. It was in use through the 1970s and early 1980s. The warehouse on Old Pennywell Road (bottom left) was initially 7,500 square feet, and was later expanded to 15,000 square feet, before the move to East White Hills (bottom right) in 2006.
A New Frontier
By the 1970’s, Bernard’s eventual successor, his son, Bernard J. (Tanny) Collins had joined the family business and took responsibility for the company’s involvement in Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil and gas industry.
Offshore oil and gas was a new frontier for local business. As a result, a new trading landscape was emerging and customs laws were changing.
Tanny worked with key industry players to advance the regulatory environment for offshore operators and supply companies. His expertise in customs legislation helped reduce trade barriers for critical elements of development, including seismic exploration, drilling operations, and immigration for temporary foreign workers.
Hello, Duckworth Street
With the number of staff and volume of business both steadily increasing throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s, Bernard and Tanny decided they needed to relocate the business to a building with more office space. In 1974, PF Collins moved from Kings Road around the corner to 162 Duckworth Street. By the 1990s, PF Collins occupied all three floors.
Passing the Torch
In 1981, Tanny officially took the helm as President at PF Collins.
Unofficially, he had been operating in this role for the past several years.
Tanny was expanding PF Collins’ range of services and capabilities to meet the needs of his new offshore clients. He sponsored staff education, committed resources to new technologies, and registered the company to the ISO-9001 quality management standard.
Gaining the confidence of the world’s largest oil and gas operators, PF Collins has participated in the development of each of Atlantic Canada’s major offshore projects (i.e., Hibernia, Terra Nova, White Rose, Sable, Deep Panuke, and Hebron).
As PF Collins’ work with the oil and gas industry increased, Tanny saw
an opportunity to set up offices in Halifax (2002) and hire import raters and sales representatives across the country.
Halifax is a major port in Atlantic Canada, and several of PF Collins’ oil
and gas clients were based out of there. Having a Nova Scotia presence has also been critical in PF Collins’ ability to secure contracts in the offshore, as many oil and gas projects require that a certain percentage of a company’s workforce be based in that province.
From a Single Desk to a Castle on the Hill
In 2006, PF Collins’ operations at the new 34,000 square foot warehouse commenced at the East White Hills Road site. PF Collins’ head office was completed a few years later, and staff were moved into the new space by 2010.
2013 – Present
A New Generation
Today, PF Collins is recognized worldwide for our history and expertise in international trade and logistics to Canada’s Marine, Energy, Industrial, Aerospace, and other industries.
Current President since 2013, Tanny Collins’ son, Raymond Collins, continues to focus on expanding the company’s market presence while maintaining its traditional family values of quality and service excellence.
Susan Collins, Tanny’s daughter, has held the role of Vice President of Business Development since 2017 and oversees PF Collins’ strategic planning, client services, contract administration, and marketing and sales activities.