- Six trucking companies have folded in 2019.
- That has left more than 2,500 truck drivers unemployed.
- After a hugely profitable year in 2018, this year has seen retailers and manufacturers moving less, according to the Cass Freight Index.
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Truck drivers are suffering in 2019 — especially those who own or work at small businesses.
Rates in the spot market, in which retailers and manufacturers buy trucking capacity as they need it rather than through a contract, sank by about 18% year-over-year in June. That has caused truckers like Demetrius Wilburn, a Georgia-based driver, to find themselves unemployed.
Wilburn bought his semitruck four years ago after years of working as a company truck driver. But amid rock-bottom rates, Wilburn wasn’t able to make a payment one month — and his truck was repossessed.
“I was only six months away from paying it off,” Wilburn told Business Insider. “I’m trying to transition back into law enforcement now — don’t want to ever drive trucks again. Definitely not worth it.”
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The Lexington, Kentucky-based owner-operator Chad Boblett told Business Insider that some truck drivers were seeing a “bloodbath” in just how low rates had become.
Here are the trucking companies that have gone bankrupt in 2019, and how many truckers who are now out of a job. We used the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s company-snapshot tool to measure how many truck drivers worked at each company.
Are you a truck driver who has been suffering in 2019 from low rates? Contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Starlite Trucking — 28 truck drivers
ALA Trucking — 32 truck drivers
Effective June 26, the Anderson, Indiana-based trucking company ALA Trucking Inc. shut down after 31 years in operation. Along with 15 other employees, 41 truckers with ALA lost their jobs.
Williams Trucking — 48 truck drivers
The Alabama-based Williams Trucking abruptly shut down on May 1, telling its employees to finish up deliveries, bring their trucks back to the headquarters, and go home.
Falcon Transport — 585 truck drivers
More than 550 truck drivers at the Youngstown, Ohio-based Falcon Transport learned in late April that their employer was going under— effectively immediately.
CounterPoint Capital Partners, a Los Angeles-based investment firm, bought the 116-year-old company in 2017.
CounterPoint has not said why it shut down Falcon, but some speculate that the end of Youngstown’s General Motors plant, which shuttered in March, contributed to Falcon’s closing.
“It was like a bolt of lightning on a clear day and I wasn’t expecting that,” a Falcon trucker named Ed McCormick told WKBN, the local Youngstown CBS affiliate.
New England Motor Freight — 1,472 truck drivers
On February 12, New England Motor Freight “stunned” the rest of the industry when it announced it was filing for bankruptcy and shutting down operations.
NEMF generated $402 million in revenue in 2017, ranking it as the 19th-largest less-than-truckload trucking company in the US. LTL is a type of trucking in which multiple shippers share a truck space to ship packages. It employed more than 1,300 truck drivers.
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Thomas Connery, the president and chief operating officer of NEMF, told Business Insider that high labor costs and other costs of business in the trucking industry were the leading reasons for the company’s bankruptcy filing. “Excessive regulation, significant toll increases, and the high cost of insurance were also among contributing factors,” Connery said.