Four days before Celadon Group filed for bankruptcy, its Canadian subsidiary, Hyndman Transport, posted a photo apparently celebrating its latest hires at the trucking company. “Welcome to Hyndman! #HyndmanHires,” the Dec. 5 post read.
But this morning, drivers at Hyndman’s headquarters in Ayr, Ontario, learned that the 82-year-old carrier has shut down, effectively immediately. The news amounted to a formality, with Celedon having announced that all but one of its subsidiaries would cease operating as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
“Lots of drivers are in shock,” a driver told FreightWaves on the condition that his name is not published. “So far, we are frozen. No new loads and all current drivers on loads are being told to finish them and bring their equipment back to the yard.”
Hyndman hasn’t officially announced the closure. But the shutdown will make Canada’s largest trucking failure of 2019 – the second linked to the demise of a U.S. parent company. Hyndman reportedly had about 300 trucks and handled Canadian and cross-border routes.
As of Dec. 9, Hyndman had 30 drivers still in the United States. A small staff was working to bring them home, the driver said.
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.
Hyndman had garnered a lot of goodwill among drivers and was able to operate largely independently of Celadon until earlier this year.
“There is a lot of driver loyalty even with Celadon f—ing us. People love Hyndman,” a driver said.
Current and former drivers reported having steady flows of contracted freight – and that Hyndman itself remained profitable.
Celadon acquired Hyndman in 2013, saying at the time that the Canadian carrier had $48 million in revenue in 2012.
Drivers are expecting the carrier to be carved up. But Hyndman could prove an attractive acquisition target for several major Canadian carriers including TFI International, Mullen Group and Bison Transport. Bison purchased Celadon’s intermodal assets earlier in 2019.
Relatively few major Canadian carriers have failed in 2019. Last week, a group of trucking companies specializing in winter and ice road transport filed for creditor protection.
Ontario-based FTI filed for bankruptcy protection alongside its U.S. sister carrier HVH in September.