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Colonial Freight Systems to close after nearly 80 years

Sells tractors, transitions drivers to PS Logistics subsidiary

An owner-operator pulling a Colonial Freight Systems trailer. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

A representative with truckload carrier Colonial Freight Systems confirmed to FreightWaves that it will be shutting down at the end of August. However, additional details were not provided.

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Colonial is a self-described “100% owner-operator company,” providing refrigerated and dry van services throughout the U.S. It also provides refrigerated ocean container service from ports in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Founded in 1943, the company has remained family owned with Ruby McBride currently listed as its president and CEO since 2014.

No further information was given regarding the shutdown, the company’s two terminals in Tennessee or its sister company Phoenix Leasing of Tennessee Inc.

On Tuesday, Birmingham, Alabama-based PS Logistics announced that subsidiary Purdy Brothers Trucking had acquired 50 tractors and 55 lease purchase drivers from Colonial and Phoenix. Prior to the transaction, Colonial had 250 power units and 260 drivers, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration database.

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  1. Star

    What took you so long to report on this? I’ve been posting it on Facebook for over a month yet they were shutting the doors. They contacted their main customer, Rich logistics to let them know that they would no longer be hauling for them. Because a lot of drivers know the people that work there. They were the ones that let the drivers know that the company was shutting the doors because they weren’t going to let them know. So again what took you so long to report on this?

  2. Steve G

    Good riddance to CFS. No sympathy from me. Company treated drivers bad for years. I was there in 1992-1993. The did the Thurmer family wrong, may they RIP. They had 10 trucks leased on for many years with McBride, when it was a good company with him. Glad KARMA came around. Time to celebrate.

  3. BLevins

    The sad but good news is there are many driving jobs available. My last company closed and now I’m on a free trucking jobs board and getting lots of offers. Keep you head up everyone. Hope November makes a positive difference.

  4. Michael Simmons

    As a driver for a company that has recently shuttered, I feel for all those that were employed with CFS. The drivers and all the support staff. Companies close for various reasons; But at the end of the day it’s all about sustainable profitability. However, when your completely blind sided it is like a gut punch out of nowhere that leaves you reeling, gasping for air. I’m still doubled over trying to straighten up. Even, after being absorbed into our parent company. No one knows the personal trauma you go through, until it happens to you. The different stages of loss. Your suddenly uprooted from the people you have worked with and known for years. Everything you worked for, all the sacrifice you made, for the job you loved. GONE. It’s not easy, but you dust yourself off, push in the red and yellow, roll down that endless black ribbon. In my prayers, and thoughts,…..

    1. Debra

      Hi, I know it’s awful, but there are so many companies that are looking for good people, my company is one of them and I don’t know if it’s appropriate to give out info in such a public place, but look and you’ll find some place to land and I may suggest that you start alphabetically☺

    2. Brett phillips

      I never thought it would happen to me either but postal fleet services went out of business and didn’t pay us our last checks and it was devistating

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Todd Maiden

Based in Richmond, VA, Todd is the finance editor at FreightWaves. Prior to joining FreightWaves, he covered the TLs, LTLs, railroads and brokers for RBC Capital Markets and BB&T Capital Markets. Todd began his career in banking and finance before moving over to transportation equity research where he provided stock recommendations for publicly traded transportation companies.