- Six trucking companies have folded in 2019.
- That’s 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.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Truck drivers are suffering in 2019 — especially those who own or work at small businesses.
Rates in the spot market, where retailers and manufacturers buy trucking capacity as they need it, rather than through a contract, sank by around 18% year-over-year. That’s caused truckers like Demetrius Wilburn, a Georgia-based driver, to find themselves unemployed.
Wilburn bought his semi-truck four years ago after years of working as a company truck driver. But, due to rock-bottom rates, Wilburn wasn’t able to make a payment one month — and they repossessed his truck.
"I was only 6 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."
Lexington, Kentucky-based owner-operator Chad Boblett told Business Insider that some truck drivers are seeing a "bloodbath" in just how low rates are.
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
David McNew/Getty Images
Starlite Trucking, which was in business for 40 years, announced on July 12 that the company was closing down. The company was based in Ceres, California — about 100 miles southeast of San Francisco — and mostly hauled livestock feed, nuts, and other products for the agricultural region.
CEO Colby Bell said in a statement on Facebook that the rising compliance costs of California regulations gutted the company — particularly as rates have stagnated.
"We tried to provide a healthy work environment for our employees and give them the best wages and benefits we could, but in the end, the rates that were available did not support the cost structure needed to compensate our employees appropriately," Bell said.
A.L.A. Trucking — 32 truck drivers
Effective June 26, Anderson, Indiana-based trucking company A.L.A. Trucking Inc. shut down after 31 years in operation. Along with 15 other employees, 41 truckers with A.L.A. lost their jobs.
Williams Trucking — 48 truck drivers
Scott Olson/Getty Images
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.
- The 10 best-selling electric vehicles in the US this year so far
- Free shipping is horrible for the environment — but one of fast fashion’s rising stars is showing the industry that convenience doesn’t have to destroy the planet
- I drove a $112,000 Mercedes AMG CLS53 Coupé to see if the four-door could combine luxury and power — here’s the verdict