The trucking “bloodbath” of 2019 is ending on a remarkably sour note.
Celadon, a truckload carrier that grossed $1 billion as recently as 2015, will file for bankruptcy on Dec. 11 or earlier, inside sources told leading industry publication FreightWaves on Dec. 6.
It’s poised to be the largest truckload bankruptcy in history – and its drivers are already getting slammed.
The bankruptcy has the potential to leave more than 3,200 truck drivers stranded and away from home. Sources told Business Insider that Celadon truck drivers’ fuel cards are already getting turned off, which means they’re unable to get home without spending serious cash on gas or arranging their own transport by car, plane, or bus.
An internal source confirmed to FreightWaves that the company may not be able to get drivers home on time, and encouraged them to fill their tanks as soon as possible.
Numerous Facebook groups have been set up to help stranded Celadon truck drivers connect to others, including Celadon Closure Assistance and Jobs. Celadon did not immediately respond to a Business Insider request for comment.
2019 has been a challenging year for truck drivers and their employers. In the first half of the year, about 640 trucking companies went bankrupt, according to industry data from Broughton Capital LLC. That’s more than triple the number of bankruptcies from the same period last year – about 175.
ACT Research said America’s $800 billion trucking market has been in a recession since early 2019. Freight volumes have declined for 11 straight months. Manufacturing, which tracks the trucking industry, has contracted for four straight months.
However, the source of Celadon’s troubles dates back further than 2019. On Dec. 5, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged two former Celadon executives following a multi-year accounting scandal. The alleged fraud resulted in shareholder loss of more than $60 million.
That plunged Celadon’s stock to 41 cents a share on Friday – a considerable tumble from the high $20s per share that the stock was worth in 2015 before the accounting scandal became public knowledge.