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Reaction to news of Central Freight Lines shutting down

Trucks at Central Freight Lines headquarters the day after news broke about its future. (Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

After 96 years, Central Freight Lines plans to shut down. FreightWaves’ Clarissa Hawes broke the news on Saturday night, and reaction has been swift ever since — on what’s next for the drivers and other CFL employees, how the company got to this point, how it will impact the LTL market, and so one.

Here’s a sampling of reactions and analysis on the various FreightWaves channels, as well as the rest of the freight world.

Watch: Central Freight’s impact on the LTL industry


Reaction from FreightWaves staff


Reaction on message boards

From Truckingboards

“The drivers I spoke with, back last summer, said the place was going down. These guys were getting ready to retire either way, so they will just move on. The company was paying 3-5 dollars less an hour than all other LTLs, so the only guys staying there were the old-timers.”

“With all the small LTLs they bought the past few years, also the one last year. did not help them on trying to expand. A couple of years ago they were moving pallets for $50 for some pallets in certain lanes. Those cut rates and the expansion caught up with them.”

“The terminal close to me looked like a ghost town after they took it over from Wilson. I’d go by there at 8 at night on the way to work, no cars in the lot and the lights off, meanwhile every other dock in town has freight falling off of it at this time of night. Wilson probably had 30 trucks on the line visible from the road; most times when I go by Central now I see 4, maybe 5. They did have a Linehaul driver or 2, but I don’t think they have any here lately, if they do they must Uber to work.”


From Texas Hunting Forum

“Being in the business I can tell you the market is good but everybody’s operating costs are way up these days. Central used to be a great carrier but I don’t think their operating plan has been updated since about 1984. Those were the days of sell it cheap and it gets there when it gets there. Not sure why they closed the doors but if truck demand softens anytime soon more companies will follow.”

From Texas Fishing Forum

“That is a bad deal. What surprised me was all of the acquisitions between 2013 and 2017. I’m wondering if one of those acquisitions either yielded more debt than they thought they were purchasing and that depleted their cash or the acquisition was a bust but they tried to save it by throwing good money after bad. I also wonder if they outsourced their IT and call center to ‘another country.’ That’s one of several things company’s tend to do when they realize they are sinking. Go on the cheap to save a buck.”


Useful SONAR data

By Zach Strickland, Director of Freight Market Intelligence

The average rate per hundredweight (average cost of shipping unit of measure for LTL) direction basically shows rates are increasing for LTL.

Used truck prices are super-relevant here in terms of liquidation.


Photos: What it looks like at CFL headquarters

FreightWaves photographer Jim Allen, at Central Freight Lines headquarters in Waco, Texas, took these images of a company about to shut down.


WHAT THE TRUCK?!?: End of the line for CFL


Other reaction on social media

2 Comments

  1. Rob

    I work for ESTES and we’re hearing that they are buying. They bought up G I trucking years ago and most recently bought New England motor freight so it’s a real possibility

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