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Tennessee-based trucking company ceases operations after 69 years (with video)

Greg Baer, owner of Howard Baer Inc., decided to close shop, says “trucking just isn’t worth it anymore.”

Refrigerated carrier Howard Baer Inc. ceases operations after 69 years. Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

[vimeo-autoplay video-id=”391232298″]

Family-owned Howard Baer Inc. of Nashville, Tennessee, ceased operations Jan. 31, citing government regulations, the ongoing struggle to find qualified drivers and soaring insurance costs as the main reasons behind the company’s decision to close after 69 years.

Owner Greg Baer told FreightWaves he made the decision to retire and wind down operations after his son decided he didn’t want to take over the family business Greg’s dad started back in 1951.

The shuttered refrigerated carrier had nearly 200 drivers in April 2018, according to its last filing with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, but the company was down to around 35 drivers at the time of its closure.

“Trucking just isn’t worth it anymore,” Baer told FreightWaves. “The government has piled on so many regulations on these drivers that most young people don’t want to become truck drivers.”

Baer said he lost his best drivers when the federal electronic logging device (ELD) mandate took effect in December 2017.

“My drivers said, ‘We are older and tired and just want to retire instead of dealing with ELDs,’” he said. “I couldn’t blame them.”

Lawsuits and soaring insurance costs also factored into Baer’s decision.

“I hope all of those ambulance chasers burn in hell,” he said.

Over the past 24 months, Howard Baer Inc. trucks had been inspected 90 times and 26 were placed out of service, according to the FMCSA SAFER website. Its trucks were involved in seven crashes, including one fatal wreck, over the same two-year period.

Greg Baer said Hogan Transport, headquartered in St. Louis, is leasing the shuttered carrier’s building in Nashville and hired most of its remaining drivers.

A skeleton crew is still working to collect accounts receivable owed to the company, but the plan is to completely wind down operations in the next few weeks.

“We’re not broke, but it’s just not worth running anymore,” Baer told FreightWaves. “I want to retire and spend more time with my grandchildren.”

Read more articles by FreightWaves’ Clarissa Hawes


  1. Noble1 suggests SMART truck drivers should UNITE & collectively cut out the middlemen from picking truck driver pockets ! UNITE , CONQUER , & PROSPER ! IMHO

    What about Rodgers Trucking ?

    Quote :

    A 40-year-old California trucking company is shuttering as soaring insurance premiums and tumbling rates slam the industry — and 132 truck drivers will lose their jobs

  2. Dennis hollis

    I’m 77 an have spent most of my life an went from truck owner to sales manager for 3 major flatbed companies. They just kept putting more an more responsibility on the drivers then getting rid of OO. Glad I retired but sure hate it or the industry

  3. Corey Jackson

    This is getting real ugly. But we saw it coming. The big wigs from all the mega carriers(JB, Werner, England, Prime, Swift, etc) are in cahoots with the government to run small fleets and owner ops out of business so they can monopolize the trucking industry and basically have full control over the money. Once there are only a few carriers left then they will be able to pay drivers peanuts while taking in piles of cash. And it doesn’t help that so many uninformed people steady flocking to these mega carriers to work for slave wages. Heck some are even willing to become indentured servants by signing a lease! We are doomed

  4. 2lazy2p

    I do not have any answers to the year 2020’s problems BUT this is what I see happening. Small and big trucking companies will be replaced by the gig players. A wave of young players will flood the freight moving market with smaller trucks and try to fly under the cloud of the feds. U-ship, Uber. Lift and Ect. will be the major carriers if things go as they are now. Some dummies will try to make a living the old way but a guy with a pickup truck and a small trailer will be the only guy with a chance of turning a profit.
    Just my 2 cents… I could be wrong………

  5. Truther

    Let the federal government take over the trucking industry..since it has regulated it into the ground…let all drivers become federal employees…trucking companies need to get organized now or go out of business..

    1. David gillis

      I’ve been trucking for 35 years accident free I’d seen the changes I’ve seen drivers Come and go But in the last 3 years I have never seen nothing like this good strong companies dropping out of business They say we have a driver shortage we don’t have a driver shortage what we do have is too many regulations on drivers and trucks by people that don’t know anything about trucking Since the ELD has come into effect drivers have been killed people in their families have been killed major pileup C have occurred Why isn’t the government seeing this for what it really is Why are we not all standing together and doing something about it We now have a ton of mist trucks on our highways I’seen them I come from a long line of trucking 20 years hauling cattle as a bull hauler out of Texas to all points the last 15 years flatbed step over size I’ve never seen it this bad It’s time to take back what belongs to us we’re losing I trucks We’re losing I financial freedom It’s time unity stands in And takes its turn self driving trucks you have to picture this in your mind

      1. Noble1 suggests SMART truck drivers should UNITE & collectively cut out the middlemen from picking truck driver pockets ! UNITE , CONQUER , & PROSPER ! IMHO

        ” It’s time to take back what belongs to us we’re losing I trucks We’re losing I financial freedom It’s time unity stands in ”


        WE CAN DO IT , WE MUST DO IT , AND WE WILL DO IT ! Stop procrastinating , it’s time for a change , a BIG change ! It’s simple , DECIDE !


        IMHO !

  6. Tatum Trucking LLC

    I know what you were dealing with. I was in business for 30 years and when the ELD was pushed on us things started happening. With The maintenance bills insurance and everything just started piling up I couldn’t make it. I tried but it was just know way to keep the company going. And I finally had to just give up and let it go. Do I regret it, not really. I kinda like retirement it’s a lot less stress.

  7. Antonio Atkins

    You and you family are in my prayers. Trucking is nothing like it use to be. As it’s said nothing last forever in this life. Enjoy your family more Howard. The Big Boss” Has greater things in store for you. You put you work in…Relax and enjoy life. ” Be Blessed “

    1. Zelda Chitwood

      I have been in the industry for the last 27 years. When they decided to come out with the ELD System it began to ruined the rest of trucking industry, the clearinghouse is going to kill it.
      What makes it so bad the system was changed by people who really knows nothing about trucking. The miles has gone way down and the companies are paying less per mile.
      After 27 years of being in the transportation industry I think its time to find another job.
      When companies like Howard Baer, Celedon and other big companies goes out of business it’s because of the nonsense that law makers make.

    2. Steve Richardson

      I sure am saddened that our Government has made is almost impossible to have a business anymore, I don’t what Business that is the Government has no idea how to run a business to begin with because most are career politicians with that being said I hope Out Current President has cut a ton of Regulations as of today but more is needed in the trucking industry because after all the trucks is what makes our economy strive, if we can’t get products to the end user or the retailer store then everyone loses, I myself decided to buy single axel dump truck because to regulations are way less intrusive to us as a business, we don’t travel over a hour at one time but in Michigan any truck weighing less then 26,000 GVW weight doesn’t have to follow any federal guide lines so the basic license will work just fine no log books nothing other then annual inspection and of coarse insurance cost is better because we don’t have worry about crazy insurance while our of state which we don’t take our trucks out of state, when we do have work outside the state we hire local trucks and drivers so we don’t have to bother with extra permitting so that just is a smaller construction company that does work all over Michigan, Ohio, Indiana so we do travel but we’ll within our lane as the requirements go we just stay out of their grasp because these mud flap cops sure do like to make their county and state a tone of money.

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Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 14 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to [email protected]