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Stevens Tanker Division closes and eliminates 586 jobs across Texas (with video)

Company officials cite volatility in the oil and gas market as reason for closing

Stevens Tanker Division, a part of Dallas-based Stevens Transport, served oil and gas drilling operations in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Image: Stevens

Dallas-based Stevens Tanker Division has notified the state of Texas it will cease operations by October 15.

The closure will permanently affect 586 jobs across Texas, according to a notice sent to the Texas Workforce Commission. 

The tanker division, part of Dallas-based Stevens Transport, serves oil and gas drilling operations in Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The company was involved in the transport of water and frac sand used for drilling.

Officials at Stevens Tanker Division told employees market volatility and a reduction in frac sand orders were the reasons for closing.

“The final decision to close was the result of unforeseen business developments over which Stevens Tanker Division had no control, including a 65% reduction in sand orders starting on September 20, 2019 and the continual loss of production water due to customers’ increased use of piping,” wrote Stevens Tanker executive vice president Scott Mellman in a letter sent to employees on September 27.

“It is with deep regret that I must notify you that Stevens Tanker Division will cease all operations on October 15, 2019. This will be a permanent closure of all Stevens Tanker Division business at all locations and in all divisions,” Mellman said in the letter.


The closure affects Stevens Tanker Division’s nine job sites across Texas, including 71 jobs at its headquarters in Dallas.

The Stevens Tanker Division job site in Stockdale, Texas, will be the largest facility to close, with 367 employees losing their jobs. Stockdale is located in South Texas in the Eagle Ford shale region. 

Other Stevens Tanker facilities closing in towns across Texas included Asherton (6 employees), Bridgeport (16 employees), Bryan (24 employees), Cresson (40 employees), Dilley (10 employees) Pleasanton (44 employees) and Waelder (8 employees).

Stevens is one of the largest trucking companies in the U.S., with nearly 2000 trucks, primarily focused on reefer truckload.

20 Comments

  1. Chris P.

    First off, God bless all the drivers affected and their families as they recover and find work elsewhere to this bad news. Now my opinion. We all know, Ok, I know, that Stevens came in underbidding everyone to get their tanker division off the ground and they’re foot in the door with any customer they could and keep it there. Maintaining your company at the bottom of the rate scale is a dangerous balancing act. This has now come to haunt Stevens. The oil and gas industry is about to enter it’s slow end of the year period till the first of the year. The timimg Stevens chose to pick to shut down its tanker division, with competition coming from other bottom feeders trying to squeeze they’re way in and get a slice of the pie, would be now. From what I have been observing in the field working alongside and watching Stevens was this company was trying to do more for less and less and eventually you can’t keep equipment up, driver pay dissatisfaction creeps in and high turnover skyrockets, the practice of hiring inexperienced drivers resulting in higher Saftey stat scores and violations and accidents, and putting too much equipment on a job with not enough work to support the drivers much less they’re families, and the opposite of taking on too much work because your underbidding all your competitors, and then your customer’s needs aren’t being met because you cannot provide enough equipment to service them resulting in the eventual customer dissatisfaction and loss of the contract. Prioritizing lower rates, equals a pie in your face eventually one way or another. It also hurts the rest of us as it drives the rates down across the entire market industry. Now I have been servicing the same area, and same customer compared to last year as Stevens pushed they’re way into the my area, and I now make $1000 less a week because of the underbidding of rates by these bottom feeding companies like Stevens. There just isn’t any oil field pay to be made anymore, it’s minimum pay as a result of underbidding which is hurting everyone.

    1. Noble1

      Precisely my point in my response to RR above .

      Generally you’re being told about what occurred in the past , not up to date and or currently . And that’s also under the assumption that you’re being told the truth .

      As a market speculator you need to anticipate the future by using what occurred in the past and currently to project what will most likely occur in the future .

      I read charts . To some this may appear as esoteric or hocus pocus ,lol . But that’s fine . It’s what I specialize in aka Technical Analysis . Of course it helps to have a grasp on the business cycle , seasonality tendencies “fundamentals” ,sentiment as well etc .

      Knowing that the transportation sector is a leading barometer , I decided after committing a big mistake in trading to integrate road transportation as a driver . I wanted to use the industry temporarily to get back on my feet and back into my specialty and while there too see if projecting contractions and expansions could be done from the bottom up as a driver , rather than from the top to bottom as a speculator .

      And indeed it can .

      But what a freaking can of worms I realized I had got involved in . Wow this industry is broken galore . The politics involved , cut throat competition , lack of ethics , lack of integrity , driver abuse, trucking associations(large motor carrier brotherhood ) ,slavery/exploitation etc etc etc . I couldn’t freaking believe it . And I still can’t believe it .

      Anyways I started analyzing this industry from day one behind the wheel . It began with how the truck was designed to logbooks at first . And then routes , truck stops , destinations , yards etc. Due to the constant BS I kept asking how can this be improved ? Why is it this way ? etc . I analyzed the mentalities in the industry , the sort of people , drivers , managers, dispatchers, politics, I would cross on a daily bases etc . This was second nature to me because in the markets that’s exactly what we do , we analyse businesses ,trends , cycles, fundamentals ,and politics that are managed and created by people . So we’re actually simply analyzing people and how they act , their mentality . Based on their actions they develop patterns . Their actions and results have an effect psychologically on the masses . The masses react and trends develop . Now if I were to quote Soros , and please allow me to do so :

      Quote:
      “Economic history is a never-ending series of episodes based on falsehoods and lies, not truths. It represents the path to big money. The object is to recognize the trend whose premise is false, ride that trend, and step off before it is discredited.”-George Soros

      That’s quite an alarming statement coming from one of the greatest traders in the world .

      But isn’t that the truth if we were to apply it to the trucking industry and what they tend report ? How many bought new trucks at the peak in 2018 due to their belief the trucking industry was strong and on fire ready to climb to the moon ? How many have been going bankrupt since ? How many believed that the economy was strong and that rates were going to continue to rise ? How many got involved for the first time and applied to get a license to drive a truck based on a supposed driver shortage at the peak of the cycle ?

      Hasn’t that supposed strong economic trend shortly after hitting its peak been discredited ? How many got caught up in its falsehood and didn’t step off the elevator before the trend got discredited ? Were there signs that what was being reported was smoke and mirrors at the time ? ABSOLUTELY !

      Back to trucking . Can this can of worms of an industry change in favor of the truck driver ? ABSOLUTELY !
      Who can change it ? YOU CAN ! Based on my analysis the only way this industry can be saved and be fair for the drivers is if the drivers come together and form a true driver association . I’m not speaking about a typical union . I’m speaking/writing about a worldwide truck driver association by drivers for drivers . You start small in your local area , you use social media , CB , truck stops and start uniting . Not with the intention to shut down . You start simply with the intention to grow in numbers an reawakening that camaraderie that once was among truckers . That’s goal number one . If you really want a change , a sustainable change it starts with the first step . Come together and start uniting .

      The objective is not to cause harm nor grief and or retaliate against those that caused truck driver suffering . The objective is to create a change that is fair and prosperous .

      Once you have achieved a reasonable amount of members is where it will become extremely interesting because you’ll have gathered power . BUT you have to know how to use power in a positive way . And it’s at this stage that it must be clearly understood that there is an ultimate plan that needs to be respected and a precise strategy that must be applied and followed to guarantee the success of reaching the ultimate goal of prosperity and fairness without harming a single soul . Rome wasn’t built in one day , but it was built ! Your “empire” must first begin with a solid foundation = Ethics !

      I can literally , but you don’t need me per se, make all OO’s save on their insurance costs tremendously if they unite . I can do it in two ways . In one I can even make you make a profit on your cost and therefore eventually reduce your cost to zero . You simply haven’t thought about it yet . I can make you save on your financing interest rates(your mortgages/truck/car loans etc) to ZERO and replace it by an actual profit . The sky is the limit on how much you can save and make collectively . It comes down to the how you set up your association and the strategies it applies.

      So rather than pointing fingers at each other during your hardship , create rapport among yourselves despite your differences . At first it may seem difficult . Look at it this way , it’s better to keep your friends close and your “enemies” closer . Find something you have in common and build your friendship from there . Your first point in common is that you’re all truck drivers .

      We need to start by changing the way we think . And stop competing with each other . Why not compete for each other instead ? All for one , one for all in regards to truck drivers . I didn’t say carriers , I said TRUCK DRIVERS ! That’s step one .

      The carrot is the MONEY you can obtain if you act shrewdly through massive unification . The stick is what you’re experiencing due to your division rather than unity .

      In my humble opinion .

      1. Chris P.

        Interesting points of views. I agree with most of it. The reason why truck drivers cannot come together like they had been prior to the 70s is no different than why the nuclear family has been decimated in our culture and why there has been a cultural shift away from family and community to just focusing on oneself and what you can only get out of it. That’s why you can’t find common ground amongst three different drivers. Society as a whole has shifted from a shared cultural heritage to a isolated, intolerant, and self serving society based only on this moment and without an anchor to what came before in the past and what those experiences have taught us that helps to guide us.

        1. Noble1

          Quote:
          ” why there has been a cultural shift away from family and community to just focusing on oneself and what you can only get out of it. That’s why you can’t find common ground amongst three different drivers.”

          Interesting theory .

          “Common ground” is easily found in the event of a tragedy . You will notice cultural differences tend to step aside during tragedies .

          Allow me to quote Wikipedia ,
          quote:
          “Traditionally, the event would require “some element of moral failure, some flaw in character, or some extraordinary combination of elements” to be tragic. ”

          Now think about the trucking industry and what has been and is currently occurring . One may certainly and with good reason describe it as nothing less than “tragic ” .

          Now allow me to quote a different portion ,
          Quote:
          “Tragedy (from the Greek: τραγῳδία, tragōidia[a]) is a form of drama based on human suffering that invokes an accompanying catharsis or pleasure in audiences.[”

          Now allow me to quote something else,
          Quote:
          “Catharsis (from Greek κάθαρσις, katharsis, meaning “purification” or “cleansing” or “clarification”) refers to the purification and purgation of emotions—particularly pity and fear—through art[1] or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration.[2][3] It is a metaphor originally used by Aristotle in the Poetics, comparing the effects of tragedy on the mind of a spectator to the effect of catharsis on the body”

          And another ,
          Quote:
          “Social catharsis
          Emotional situations can elicit physiological, behavioral, cognitive, expressive, and subjective changes in individuals. Affected individuals often use social sharing as a cathartic release of emotions. Bernard Rimé studies the patterns of social sharing after emotional experiences. His works suggest that individuals seek social outlets in an attempt to modify the situation and restore personal homeostatic balance.
          Rimé found that 80–95% of emotional episodes are shared. The affected individuals talk about the emotional experience recurrently to people around them throughout the following hours, days, or weeks. These results indicate that this response is irrespective of emotional valence, gender, education, and culture. His studies also found that social sharing of emotion increases as the intensity of the emotion increases”

          REQUOTE :
          “. Affected individuals often use social sharing as a cathartic release of emotions.
          The affected individuals talk about the emotional experience recurrently to people around them throughout the following hours, days, or weeks.

          These results indicate that this response is irrespective of emotional valence, gender, education, and culture.”

          Is this not what is occurring in trucking forums , throughout the media , and trucking sites such as Freightwaves ?

          Therefore there is no question and or doubt that the trucking industry is experiencing a tragedy and a social catharsis is occurring irrespective of gender, education ,and CULTURE .

          Therefore the cultural “change” and or “shift” theory for truckers not uniting has been refuted in my humble opinion .

          Now what needs to occur is the creation of an ethical inviting truck driver organization/alliance through a like minded mastermind group .

          I’ll leave at that for now .

          All this unfortunate distress occurring in the trucking industry is of no surprise . However, it is the game changer that will propel a catalyst for truck drivers to come together.

          In my humble opinion ………………………..

  2. Z.Bailey

    We had a good run7yr ,I was a driver , trainer , coordinator 3yrs , I saw the good bad and the ugly , with this company , went threw two winters in the oilfield , I have to admit this job made me more confident and serious about my skills , being a trainer I had the responsibility of showing people how to do the job , the right way , and that was a challenge , but I helped so many people , Stevens gave me that opportunity, I’m sad to leave , but ok with it at the same time; bittersweet, the job offerers have been crazy , I know wherever I go I won’t mind getting dirty and I’ll feel confident in my skills , I’ll be ready every time I get behind that wheel , fair-well Stevens ,#4057

  3. Noble1

    Another one bites the dust !

    Quote:
    “The final decision to close was the result of unforeseen business developments over which Stevens Tanker Division had no control”

    UNFORESEEN ???

    Apparently management didn’t have their eye on the ball .

    Check out this news article on February 6 2019

    Texas-size glut of frac sand accumulating as demand weakens .

    Was management keeping an eye on Crude prices, production, and rig counts and its highly probable influence on business developments ?

    Apparently not !

    Quote:
    “Drilling affects demand: The demand for frac sand depends on drilling activity. ”
    However, as a result of the decline in the price of crude oil, among other factors, drill counts have retreated somewhat in 2019.”
    Quote from : Frac Sand Production & Demand
    Industry Insight April 2019

    This weakness could have definitely been foreseen .

    In my humble opinion

    1. Valerie Williams

      This saddens me. Stevens Transport gave me my start as a truck driver. I had a few bad moments with a trainer but not with the company as a whole. I agree someone should have been keeping up with the news on the sand and water and maybe some nice could’ve been figured out however what’s done is done and I pray that somehow Stevens Transport we did them selves out of this hole. Best regards Valarie Williams

      1. Noble1

        LOL ! How do you want me to criticize before the event ? Had I been in that particular industry I guarantee you I would have seen it coming before the fact .

        All I did was give a quick look to see if there were signs and indeed there were definite signs which management could have definitely foreseen .

        Same with drivers and OO’s . You need to keep an eye on the sector and industry in which you provide transport . That way you can see it coming and adjust before the sh*t hits the fan .

        I’ve advocated this for quite awhile . You drivers can see it before Wall Street does . But most of you are sleeping at the helm .

        When I saw a contraction was about to hit the fan in the trucking industry most were partying with irrational exuberance and my surroundings said I was nuts due to load boards offering higher and higher load rates . I told them it was going to dry up into a shriveled prune .

        Take a guess on who had the last laugh ? (wink)

        Same with the price of crude , and the lumber peak , the low in Gold & Silver(gold to silver ration was a given lately) etc etc etc .

        True story :

        I was hauling for a particular retailer . I noticed on their stock price chart that price was nicely lined up to take a dive . A few months later I arrive at their distribution center yard and it was loaded with trailer galore , hardly any room to park the trailer I was bringing back . That spoke quite loudly to me . A MAJOR CURTAILMENT . So I asked the guy at the gate : ” are you slowing down” ? He says no everything is fine , LOL ! A couple quarters later the company releases earnings stating a curtailment in demand , LOL !

        You have to notice these things . While the company was previously announcing good earnings etc , the stock price was correcting . Eventually reality caught up . But I saw before Wall Street got the numbers . I had stopped hauling for them and went to the biggest retailer in the world due having noticed the curtailment at the retailer I’m writing about .

        To make a long story short : Retailer A where I left due to seeing a curtailment in their yard fell 27.5 % in market cap . Retailer B where I decided to place myself increased 28% in market cap . Not only did their stock increase in price but the run was better and easier and paid more than at Retailer A !

        Moral of the story , keep an eye on what is occurring around you and position yourself accordingly . This is what Wall Street does . They would go short Retailer A and go long Retailer B .

        Best of luck !

        In my humble opinion ……

      2. Noble1

        RR give the October NY Harbor ULSD Crack Spread Futures a glance .

        One should perhaps commence applying vigilance due to the zone its price is currently in since its thrust out of an ED pattern in September 2019 ……..

        In my humble opinion ……..
        (wink)

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]