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North Carolina trucking company to shut down after top customer pulls out

Over 200 of FreightWorks Transport's employees, including 140 drivers, losing jobs

North Carolina-based FreightWorks Transport is ceasing operations after losing a major customer and contract customers demanding substantial rate reductions. (Photo credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

A North Carolina trucking company notified over 200 drivers, employees and mechanics on Tuesday it is ceasing operations after 11 years after some of its major customers demanded “massive rate and volume concessions.” 

FreightWorks Transport LLC, doing business as FreightWorks Transportation & Logistics, headquartered in Rutherfordton, operated 186 power units with around 140 drivers, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SAFER website.

In a video message to employees and drivers, Joyce Siqueira, vice president of operations for FreightWorks, said the “most honorable path that we can take for the benefit of our employees, our customers and our other stakeholders is an orderly closing of the company.”

Siqueira said the company was unable to see a path forward after a few of its core contract customers abruptly demanded significant rate reductions, amounting to millions of dollars. The death knell occurred when one of FreightWorks’ largest contract customers “pulled a significant percentage of the company’s freight” on Feb. 28. 

“This had an immediate and very devastating impact on our ability to make payroll, let alone cover our rent, truck payments and other expenses,” Siqueira said in the video reviewed by FreightWaves. “Several other events that same day compounded these already overwhelming challenges. In an incredibly weak freight market, we are simply unable to replace this lost freight with enough profitable work for us to be sustainable.”

Joyce Siqueira, vice president of operations of FreightWorks Transport, sent an emotional message to more than 200 employees and drivers of the trucking company’s abrupt decision to cease operations. (Screenshot)

The asset-based truckload carrier was founded with one truck in 2012 after production exceeded sales at the small family owned biodiesel plant, FuelWorks, founded by FreightWorks President and CEO Josh Farmer in North Carolina. The company was hauling mainly perishable items at the time of its closure.

The company had survived previous freight recessions because FreightWorks was largely insulated by its contract customers. Siqueira assured employees and drivers that concessions demanded by its customers “were solely due to market pressures” and had nothing to do with the truckload carrier’s execution and performance.

A former FreightWorks employee also shared the memo sent to employees and drivers — dated for “immediate release on March 10” — but it appears the truckload carrier was forced to cease operations earlier than expected. 

Effective immediately, Siqueira said FreightWorks will no longer be picking up loads.

“This is very important to us to make sure that the millions of dollars of our customers’ freight that’s on the road right now, which is mostly perishable goods, is not ruined in the process of our shutting down,” she said.

No trucks will be stranded on road

The company will coordinate with drivers on how they should return equipment — either taking it to a designated drop yard or to their homes for now.

“We will make sure that everyone has the means to get home safe,” Siqueira said. “We are committed to ensuring that every driver is paid for the final delivery.”

Additionally, FreightWorks is asking for drivers’ help. The company will pay a $500 bonus for those who assist it in delivering their loads once the carrier has received a signed bill of lading.

“We didn’t run a trucking company just to move freight,” Siqueira said. “We ran a trucking company to take care of people.”

Watch FWNOW about FreightWorks Transport’s shutdown here:

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Timothy Dooner of What The Truck?!? and James “Rooster” Bowen of Back The Truck Up contributed to this report.

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  1. David

    The members of management were all members of the religious cult Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, NC. If you were not a member of the church you were treated like crap. Just 6 years ago they were begging for a $500k investment to make payroll. And 2 to 3 years ago they place a $15 million truck order. Look into the other businesses owned by the Farmer family and you will see other bankruptcies.

  2. K corley

    Sounded like a good company that cared about what they did and its drivers. Well the shippers will find out you get what you pay for! I do this because it pays good and i like what i do. If it dont pay good, well they can live in a truck

  3. Michelle W Hefner

    I completely understand, I have noticed that my customers were starting to pay a little slower than before and when the money flow slows down it gets real hard to make all the bills. I did decide to furlough a couple O/O for a week because I didn’t want to run them not knowing if I could make payroll. But my main customer as well, has been beating the rates down during my last round of bidding. And they also opened it up to brokers to bid, small carriers can’t compete with larger carriers let alone brokers. I’m just leaving my rates where they are and let my reliability and upstanding service speak for itself. I guess we’ll see.

  4. Kevin Nussbaum

    In all this corporate craziness, there are smaller private fleets that do treat drivers very well and are mostly immune to the ups and downs of corporate freight pricing. It’s hard for us to recruit because drivers don’t recognize the “name”. However, since my drivers stay with me year after year, we must be doing something right.

  5. Brandon

    Well I think they went the right way. They had a history with these customers. So to just suddenly demand cuts and haul cheeper. Just unbelievable. Now those same customers get to find others to haul for cheep. Well guess Swift will ofWestern Xpress. Lol. Heart goes out to employees and families.

    On a plus side Danny Herman Trucking out of Mountain City, TN looking for drivers. I drive for them. Great family owned and operated company

  6. Price

    You don’t necessarily have to take a week off, I have a idea, how about owner operator’s take Monday and Tuesday off only 2 days every week and watch the rates start to rise, my thought is that coming off of the weekend companies are going to need to restock and replenish their goods 😀 so if small
    carriers an o/o take off and refuse to answer brokers calls 📞 or take the call and tell them you have no capacity or you already have a load, this will back
    (f**k) up I meant freight up therfore increasing the rates in only 2 days the rest of the week they will be playing catch up, so Wednesday $$$$ Saturday
    you will make good money 💰 🤑 💸 this way you can effect the market and still have a income, but the majority of owner operators have to comply and the
    o/o that’s taking the cheap freight won’t last anyway. THANK YOU 😊

  7. LORI

    Rates are horrible. Fake brokers cutting rates. Fuels still high. I have been in this business for 46 years and have never seen anything like it.

Comments are closed.

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].