Maximum-distance separable (MDS) convolutional codes have the property that their free distance is maximal among all codes of the same rate and the same degree. In this paper, a class of MDS convolutional codes is introduced whose column distances reach the generalized Singleton bound at the earliest possible instant. Such codes are called strongly-MDS convolutional codes. They also have a maximum or near-maximum distance profile. The extended row distances of these codes will also be discussed briefly.