There is rather sudden news about a trucking company in the Northeast shutting down. Land Air Express of New England, also known as Allied East Freightways LLC, closed on July 5. Employees were not notified and drivers were told not to complete any further pickups.
Where was the “WARN”ing?
The WARN Act is a good law that requires companies to make public any plans to shut down 30-60 days beforehand. It allows workers time to prepare for unemployment and to seek work elsewhere. Well, no warning was given by Land Air, which sent out a July 4th message on Twitter the day prior to the closing.
The Land Air Express fleet, as reported to FMCSA’s SAFER website, had 148 power units and 135 drivers. They were a carrier of household goods, paper products, animal feeds, chemicals, and hazardous materials. Land Air operated truckload and less-than-truckload (LTL) services. According to its websites, there were 450 employees operating 11 service centers in the U.S. and two in Canada.
Land Air Express got into serious trouble in 2015, after an FMCSA audit found that the company did not maintain a satisfactory safety record. After a merger with North East Freightways, and its investment team, they were reinstated after submitting a new safety plan.
This was the post on LinkedIn the day before Land Air Express shut down – LinkedIn: Land Air Express
“What now” for the drivers and employees?
It’s a different state of mind in the Northeast now than a few months ago when rates were booming and there was more freight than could be loaded on the docks. In my opinion, drivers that are able to cross into Canada will not have a hard time being hired by another carrier.
The ability to cross the border without any flags popping up in the customs system would be a boon to a company positioning itself for the hoped-for rise in freight velocity later in the year.
Having a hazardous materials endorsement on your CDL would be a big help too. As newer, stricter guidelines get added onto the list of “to-dos” for drivers wanting a Hazmat stamp, pre-existing holders are a better option for employers. No need to wait and see if candidates pass the test.
FreightWaves has been awaiting a response from Corbel Capital Group, the private equity firm in control of Land Air Express. Brian Yoon, the principal of the group, has yet to respond.
Since many of the workers at Land Air Express were members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, I have reached out to them and await their statement as well.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the drivers, employees, and their families. Clarissa Hawes at FreightWaves.com is also following this story and we will update as more information becomes available.