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The mysterious resurrection of Celadon’s Mexican business

Bankrupt Celadon Group reveals employees in Mexico recently restarted operations of its transportation businesses after labor disputes. Court filings paint a murky picture of what’s happening at the Mexican subsidiaries — including Jaguar Transportation — and who is in charge.

Bankrupt Celadon Group faced resistance when it moved to shut down its Mexican carrier, Jaguar Transportation, in December. (Photo: FreightWaves)

Bankrupt Celadon Group says employees in Mexico recently resumed “limited operations” of its transportation business there using the company’s cash receivables after initiating a series of labor disputes, court filings show.

Celadon made puzzling disclosures in two Feb. 21 filings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court connected to its efforts to sell Mexican subsidiaries, including Jaguar Transportation, and selected assets to PAM Transportation Services for $7 million.

“Recently, the Mexican Debtors’ employees recommenced limited operations of the Mexican Business using cash proceeds of accounts receivable generated and collected by the Mexican Debtors,” the company said in a filing.

The court filings provide few details about the resumption of the Mexican business, including whether Celadon agreed to it. The company notes that it occurred after unspecified employees “initiated several labor disputes under Mexican law.”

Lawyers for Celadon Group did not respond to FreightWaves’ questions, including whether the company instructed employees to resume operations and the extent of its control over operations in Mexico.

The filings do suggest, however, that labor disputes and the state of the Mexican business created barriers to finding buyers as Celadon liquidates the assets of its once-sprawling North American transportation empire under Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the U.S.

The company also noted that the Mexican employees “were unavailable to assist the Debtors in their marketing efforts of the Mexican Business.”

Celadon said circumstances pushed it to pursue a deal with PAM Transport. The $7 million deal, subject to ongoing negotiations and court approval, falls short of the stated value of Celadon’s Mexican assets.

Celadon valued Jaguar alone at $23.4 million in a February court filing but said $18.5 million of that was from tax refunds owed in Mexico. The proposed deal with PAM envisages those refunds going back to Celadon’s creditors.

Celadon faced resistance from Jaguar management after moving to shut down the carrier after filing for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. on Dec. 9. The carrier’s management told FreightWaves at the time that business would continue as usual. Drivers subsequently blockaded Jaguar’s Nuevo Laredo terminal in protest of unpaid wages.

By Celadon’s account, it did manage to shut down Jaguar. But it remains unclear how long that lasted or when Jaguar returned to service.

Reynaldo Gómez, who identified himself as Jaguar’s new CEO and president, told the Mexican transportation media outlet T21 in a Feb. 10 interview that the carrier had 70 trucks in operation and was seeking a new strategic partner. 

Gómez, who could not be immediately reached for comment, told T21 that Celadon represented about 60% of Jaguar’s operations. The interview did not shed light on Jaguar’s corporate relationship to Celadon, which owns 75% of the carrier, according to U.S. court filings.

FreightWaves Cross-Border Freight Market Reporter Noi Mahoney contributed to this report.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Nate Tabak.


  1. Melinda S Lindsey

    I believe Celadon should pay us for all the money they cost us. We were leased purchase, would had our truck paid for by September 2020. We lost every penny we had in that truck. We didn’t just lose our JOB. It was our business! I’ve had people say you just have to walk away. That my friends is bullshit!
    We worked hard to pay for that truck. Running team. We would have had our business paid for in a 2 year time period. I won’t just get over it. We are pissed that there’s no laws to look out for us and many more who have been f#ed over. Laws need to be put in place to stop and company from doing this. They didn’t even give us a chance to get financing at a bank or finance company. And we could have! God When is trucking ever going to have someone looking out for us. We aren’t trash. We give our home life up to make sure everyone had a home and life. I demand RESPECT! WE DESERVE RESPECT. WE DESERVE LAWS THAT LOOK OUT FOR US. WE DESERVE A BETTER LIFE.

    1. Joe m

      There are no laws on the books to protect the owner operator from lease purchase but it is known That you take a big risk Should you go down that Avenue of lease purchase. I’ve seen it too many times over the years Where guys get into a lease purchase and when the truck has one or two payments left the owner talk you into getting a new truck. They then take that truck And put it at another location And put it up for lease purchase again. It’s an endless cycle. If you want your own truck Go out and buy it free and clear And put your own base plate And pay for everything yourself.

    2. Rick

      You were given a chance. I am an owner/operator that has good credit and went to the bank and borrowed money and worked hard and paid off my truck and went on and still have good credit. If you have run your business right you should be able to do the same. Those lease purchase deals will never work. That is why everybody says don’t do it. So BUY a truck and get back out there. Nobody owes you a thing.

      1. stephen webster

        i did not go for lease purchase but protection for leased ops and owner op should be protected . In Ontario Canada their no protection from insurance companies or for owner ops . I have seen many of them in Homeless Shelters . this happened to me after my house got hit from a windstorm 6 and half years ago. Many trucking companies have shortchange both leased ops and owner ops. i have camped out at queens park in Toronto since Jan 24 after a insurance company short changed me and other people .

  2. Doc

    Nothing shady here, folks. Move along. Part of me says good on the MExican employees for resurrecting the company. But another part says Celadon just got robbed.

Comments are closed.

Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected]