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Celadon Group makes bankruptcy official, shuts down after 34 years

A Celadon tractor-trailer in better days. (Photo credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

This morning, Celadon Group (OTC: CGIP) executives told its employees that the company filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 and will shut down the operations of its over-the-road fleet. The official announcement came after a chaotic weekend of credit, customer, and driver issues when word got out about Celadon’s impending Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing

Employees were instructed to come to a meeting at the corporate headquarters in Indianapolis to be held this morning. But then in the middle of the night, fleet-wide messages went out to drivers’ telematics devices:

Celadon fleetwide message to drivers
Celadon fleetwide message to drivers
Celadon fleetwide message to drivers

Competitors of the troubled carriers started aggressively posting offers for assistance and interest in hiring as news broke over the weekend. For many, a new career will start off on a sad note, but many were optimistic about the opportunities and new beginnings.

For office and professional staff at company headquarters, the struggle will be bigger to find equivalent opportunities. Many of the employees had spent decades working at the company and will be forced to look in other industries. Celadon was the largest trucking company based in Indiana, with no equivalent competitor in the area. As such, finding an employer or group of employers that can absorb the size of the truckload administrative workforce will be difficult. 

While Celadon’s demise took many years to play out, its final stages could be described as chaotic. 

Last Thursday, December 5, rumors swirled as lenders began repossessing equipment from Celadon. The next day, internal sources at Celadon told FreightWaves about the planned filing. On Friday Celadon also began advising its largest customers to find other transportation providers, but did not inform its own employees about the expected bankruptcy or shutdown. Customer service and driver managers found out from customers and drivers that the company was in trouble on Friday night, but lacked context. While management had informed shipper customers, they failed to inform internal staff. 


FreightWaves received notice late Friday from a person not affiliated with the company that FedEx and other accounts had cut the company off. Other shippers, including Walmart, MillerCoors and Conagra also started to cancel pre-planned loads.  In some cases, Celadon drop trailers with freight pre-loaded at shipper locations were unloaded and the freight given to other carriers.

When shippers started to cancel loads that were pre-booked late Friday, the jig was up. It became apparent inside of headquarters that the rumors had some teeth to them and questions started to be asked.

Over the weekend, Comdata shut off fuel cards, briefly re-activated them and then cut them again. FreightWaves heard reports from other carriers’ drivers who witnessed Celadon trucks being repossessed and towed away from truck stops. 

The lack of communication from company leadership contributed to the confusion over the weekend. Some drivers were apparently told to get out of their trucks; others were told to finish their loads. Meanwhile, rival carriers offered jobs, transportation, and legal advice to stranded Celadon drivers. 

Drivers, dispatchers, and office workers traded rumors, expressed their feelings, and asked for help on social media during the weekend.

One Celadon driver who was stuck in Laredo spoke to FreightWaves about his plan to leave the company but preferred not to be identified.

“I loved working for Celadon,” the driver said. “They treated me with respect. I wanted to stick around with Celadon, but I have a wife and kid back in Florida and I got to do what is best for my family.”

This is a developing story. FreightWaves will have more news on the Celadon shutdown on FreightWaves.com and FreightWaves TV. Download the FreightWaves TV app for iPhones or Android. FreightWaves TV is also streaming on AppleTV and Roku.

47 Comments

  1. Marqueta Harris

    Sending many prayers to the drivers, carriers, owner operators and any others that helped move freight, and assisted Celadon in their success. Now it’s your turn to thrive! I can help with keeping your equipment running. Please call me at 757-776-2653 so we can discuss your business needs, and what it takes to care for your family.

    1. Stephen Webster

      My boss can use one or 2 good owner of as well as a couple of company truck drivers. If you have a lease d truck from Celadon call me after disabled the tracking info. Start small claims court actions now. 7168694681

    2. Kate

      Hello Dave,
      I am sure many companies contacted you by now. I wanted to share with you that Delta Freight Systems has many great opportunities for both company drivers and owner operators. Be free to check the website http://www.deltafreightsystems.com or call/text recruiting line 630-809-2388 and discuss your expectations. Wishing you all the best.

  2. Noble1

    Now THAT is a nice share price debacle ! What a beautiful short !

    The writing was on the wall concerning this one quite awhile ago .

    That being said , not such a great time for drivers/employees in this company unless they positioned themselves accordingly and went short to mitigate their risk . There’s always two sides to a coin . No matter the situation you always want to ask yourself how can you profit from a situation . This is nothing personal , IT’S BUSINESS ! You need to watch out for your best interest !

    Drivers & employees may want to learn from this , especially if the company you drive/work and or haul to and for is listed on a stock exchange . YOU need to make it your business to understand what is going on ALL THE TIME in your industry and especially in the company you work for/haul to, and what it means and how you can profit from it ! This is not an option , it’s an absolute MUST !

    In conclusion : When you see/feel a company that you work for and or haul to is taking a hit or about to take one , you short it and you start planning on walking away . You start looking for a job elsewhere ! Not only will you be contributing to your short position , you’ll also be protecting yourself from the possibility of being left stranded , running after your money , and or not getting paid .

    Look at all these trucking companies bombarding the freightwave threads in regards to Celadon’s demise desperately attempting to attract drivers ! There are tons of options out there . Drivers could have left Celadon , instantaneously found a driving job elsewhere and shorted Celadon’s stock .

    YOU ARE SIMPLE EMPLOYEES & or Broker OO’s ! You’re not management . A driver noticing sh*t is about to hit the fan and or hitting the fan and goes short is not considered to be the same as illegally acting on “inside info ” . And besides , THE INFO WAS MADE PUBLIC !

    What a freaking nice dive !!!

    Best of luck !

    In my humble opinion …………….

    1. Noble1

      .

      And this CONFIRMS MY POINT :

      Quote:
      Celadon’s Canadian carrier Hyndman Transport, shuts down

      “While Hyndman employees were aware that Celadon’s cascading financial and legal issues posed a risk, few expected the carrier to have such an abrupt closure. 
      “This had always been at the back of my mind,” a former driver said. ”

      End quote .

      EMPLOYEES WERE AWARE AND KNEW ! And one former driver even said it was ALWAYS at the back of his mind !!!

      BINGO !

      However, despite them KNOWING ,

      quote:

      “Lots of drivers are in shock,” a driver told FreightWaves on the condition that his name is not published.”

      Apparently some were sleeping at the helm ! How can they be in “shock” ??? Don’t they notice what is going on around them ? Do they not speak to each other ???

      You’re suppose to be a TEAM !

      Ahhh this must be concerning the old adage of ” each one for themselves” . Your “division” rather than unification is the cause of your downfall and your lack of being in “control” !

      You shouldn’t position yourselves at the “mercy” of a corporation apart from your very own !

      A “Truck Driver Alliance” would solve this “problem” and many more .

      Celadon’s demise has not been the first and certainly won’t be the last , I guarantee you that !

      The least you can do is walk away with a “lesson” learned . Don’t repeat the same mistake !!! Obviously you need to work and earn a living , BUT start thinking differently and uniting to ensure you can prevent being the victims of someone else’s mismanagement .

      You owe this to yourselves . You work to hard to be victims of someone else’s screw up ! YOU deserve better , MUCH BETTER !

      In my humble opinion ………….

    2. Abe F.

      Good luck shorting a stock traded on pinkies for .49 a share.

      Drivers should pay attention to what’s going on in their company but having been a driver and front office/leadership position in various transportation and trucking companies – it’s VERY hard to comprehend the amount of work it takes to keep a trucking company viable and everyone doing well until you have to do it in the office and how all of that affects a company’s viability.

      1. Noble1

        You my dear friend are speaking about something you clearly don’t understand , especially on how the pink sheets and OTCBB works .

        But thanks for your attempt at some market input .

        As for the rest of your comment it adds up to being an EXCUSE !

        Oh running the show behind a desk is hard , we don’t understand ??? LOL ! Typical !

        For some of us coordinating and managing is second nature . PEOPLE cause their own difficulties . Most transport companies I have had the displeasure of working with don’t have a freaking clue about how to run a business and much less on how to act with and treat people , especially in regards to their own employees .

        So save me the nonsense about it being hard . It’s not meant for everyone , period .

        One business owner I had the displeasure of doing business with was so freaking dumb it was unbelievable . He was going bankrupt . However, before walking away from such a clown I positioned his trucks with a company/carrier at a higher rate that could cater to his needs to remain afloat and become profitable , very profitable .

        He is a perfect example of the type of people that shouldn’t be in the trucking transport business . Unfortunately there are many like him . But despite his stupidity I helped him , however, I just couldn’t entertain a business relationship with such a clown . He didn’t care about his drivers . I taught him to respect them for they are his bread earners . His turn over rate was extremely high and raising his costs due to his lack of care .

        Before I left , I increased his earnings , placed him securely , raised his driver’s salaries with weather bonuses . They were in shock and told me they never in their many years of experience as drivers ever received weather bonuses . Well , they deserved it .

        Next I was going to trade fuel contracts for his business and reduce his fuel costs . This guy was telling me I was sent to him by God , LOL !

        Then one day , I said f*ck him because he wanted to repeat business with another company that screwed him in the past . I told him his mentality was drawing forth bad energy cause HE wouldn’t change . He didn’t need to transport for ass*oles anymore who were bankrupting him in the past , but it was engrained in the way the guy thinks ! That’s how stupid he is . So despite showing someone how things should be done , their cockeyed mentality drains you . There is no cure for stupid .

        His drivers were telling him , what he needed was a person like me , LOL ! No kidding , I was organizing this guy’s business profitably and created driver bonuses based on the weather .

        I had placed him in Flatbed transportation .

        Like I said , to some of us managing and coordinating is second nature . To others it’s a foreign language .

        In my humble opinion ………

        Wishing you all the best !

          1. Noble1

            I sympathize with your unfortunate experience .

            In regards to arrogance , I can assure you I’m extremely humble and far from thinking that I’m perfect . Confident yes , but far from perfect .

            I make mistakes just like everyone else , perhaps not the same mistakes , but mistakes none-the-less . However, I learn from them and demand much more from myself than anyone can expect . If someone suffers due to a mistake of mine , I come down very hard on myself . Nobody should suffer due to an error I committed , NOBODY !

            If I position myself where others depend upon me then that is a responsibility that I must not take lightly . I must watch out for their best interest before mine . I don’t want people to suffer .

            I seek to bring pleasure , not hardship . That being said , I admit that my “tolerance” level is very short . I’m very understanding , however, I expect nothing less than the very best from myself . And if I goof , I better darn well learn my lesson quick and not repeat the same mistake twice .

            If I don’t follow my gut and burn myself in the process , I only have myself to blame . I give 1 chance , not two . Burn me once , shame on you . Burn me twice , shame on me .

            In conclusion : I’m just a spiritual being going through a human experience as you all are , nothing more and nothing less .

            Wishing you nothing less than the very best !

            In my humble opinion …………

      2. Noble1

        Abe my man !

        Just for YOU !

        LOOK AT THAT SHORT VOLUME INCREASE ON DA PINK SHEETS !!!

        Historical Short Volume Data for CGIP
        Date Close High Low Volume Short Volume % of Vol Shorted
        Dec 09 NA NA NA 21,362,094 3,653,241 17.10
        Dec 06 NA NA NA 329,944 89,214 27.04

        YEEEE HAAAAA !

        Quote from a trooper song titled :

        We’re Here for a Good Time (Not a long Time)
        Trooper

        “A very good friend of mine
        Told me something the other day
        I’d like to pass it on to you
        ‘Cause I believe what he said to be true
        He said
        We’re here for a good time
        Not a long time (not a long time)
        So have a good time
        The sun can’t shine every day
        And the sun is shinin’
        In this rainy city
        And the sun is shinin’
        Oh, isn’t it a pity
        And every year, has it’s share of tears
        And every now and then it’s gotta rain

        We’re here for a good time
        Not a long time
        So have a good time
        The sun can’t shine every day ”

        (Wink )

        In my humble opinion ……………

Comments are closed.

John Paul Hampstead

John Paul conducts research on multimodal freight markets and holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Michigan. Prior to building a research team at FreightWaves, JP spent two years on the editorial side covering trucking markets, freight brokerage, and M&A.