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Why Celadon is filing Chapter 11 instead of Chapter 7

A Celadon truck moves down the highway prior to the bankruptcy. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Last Friday, December 6, FreightWaves reported that Celadon intended to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy and now the company has made it official. On the surface, it sounds like Chapter 11 will give hope to at least some of the 4,000 employees at the company. Chapter 11 is the process used to describe a restructuring where the company can continue to operate. If the company had pursued a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it would result in a full shutdown, but this didn’t happen. 

The company chose the Chapter 11 process for very specific reasons – it intends to operate two of the company’s subsidiaries to help secure funds for the creditors. This does not mean that Celadon’s business will survive intact. The bankers will appoint a trustee that work alongside the lenders intends to pursue a structured liquidation of the various assets, including the operating business units. 

The over-the-road business is the largest entity inside of the company and the one that is most recognized across the industry. This is being shut down. Unfortunately, after a gallant attempt by management, the company was unable to save the carrier’s flagship. The over-the-road part of the company has been shuttered and the assets will be sold off to the highest bidder, including trucks and trailers. Real estate, the most valuable portion of the assets, will also be sold, likely to separate bidders. 

Hyndman Transport truck
Celadon’s Hyndman Transport handled domestic Canadian and U.S. cross-border freight. (Photo credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

As reported by FreightWaves’ Canadian reporter, Hyndman Transport, Celadon’s Canadian subsidiary, was also shut down yesterday. Hyndman, an 82-year old company, had been headquartered in Ayr, Ontario.

“Lots of drivers are in shock,” a driver told FreightWaves on the condition that his name was not published. “So far, we are frozen. No new loads and all current drivers on loads are being told to finish them and bring their equipment back to the yard.”

Hyndman Transport’s shutdown will make it Canada’s largest trucking failure of 2019 – the second linked to the demise of a U.S. parent company. Hyndman reportedly had about 300 trucks and handled Canadian and cross-border routes. 

In some good news coming out of this sad story, according to the press release announcing the official bankruptcy, two Celadon subsidiaries – Taylor Express and the Mexican subsidiary, Jaguar Transportation – will continue to operate and will be sold off intact in a Section 363 Process. This method allows management, working alongside the creditors, to control the auction process and get the highest possible price for the companies. Keeping them intact allows Taylor Express and Jaguar to fetch the highest possible prices. 

According to Taylor’s website, the company describes itself: 

Taylor Express was founded and incorporated in 1987 as a truck load carrier. The company has grown steadily since then by providing quality service offering real value to customers and by reinvesting in the company to assure financial stability.

We are a leading carrier in the tire and rubber industry, providing dedicated services on critical raw materials as well as transporting finished goods for the tire industry and many other well known companies like Kohler, Lowes Hardware and Purolator just to name a few.

Today, we have over 150 tractors.  Each is equipped with Omnitracs hardware and Tom McLeod Software for route accuracy and control.  We also have over 380, 53-foot dry vans and 298 specialized hopper trailers. All of our equipment is serviced at our operation centers in Hope Mills, North Carolina, and Union City, Tennessee.  Maintenance facilities include full shop with wash bays, body and paint rooms.

In January, 2015, we became part of Celadon Trucking, Inc.  This has increased our footprint in the trucking industry. With their support, we’re able to cover even more loads across the midwest, northeast and southeast regions of the United States including Canada.

As reported earlier in FreightWaves, Jaguar Transportation, the Celadon-owned carrier based in Mexico, has indicated that it will remain operational and continue its cross-border shipping.

“Jaguar will operate in the same way it has been working. The situation that Celadon is going through does not compromise this company at all,” Jaguar company officials said in an email to FreightWaves reporter Noi Mahoney.

However, Jaguar Transportation’s webpage was removed on Dec. 9. It is not clear if the company’s web address was changed or shut down. The company’s Facebook page was still up.

Jaguar Transportation was listed as a wholly owned subsidiary of Celadon Group Inc. in a 2016 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Jaguar Transportation was founded in 1975 near Monterrey, Mexico, and acquired by Celadon in 1992. According to a 2018 marketing brochure, Jaguar Transportation said it had 450 trucks and 600 employees.

This is good news for the employees of Taylor Express and Jaguar Transportation, because it appears they will get to maintain their careers even after their ownership by Celadon is severed. 

Unfortunately, Celadon’s over-the-road operation is not coming back. Employees at corporate headquarters were called into a meeting early yesterday, Monday, Dec. 9, and were told to clean out their desks and vacate the building. 

Business Insider reported that the nearly 1,300 office and administrative employees were told that their health benefits and accrued paid time off will not be paid. 

The liquidation process will start once the operations have shut down. Celadon’s operational management is working diligently to recover equipment and assets across its network and will take full inventory of the pieces once the freight, drivers and most administrative staff are gone. 

A friend of mine asked if Celadon could resurface like Toys ‘R’ Us has. 

My answer was, “No, truckload carriers don’t come back from death. The hardest thing is to recruit drivers and no driver would join the carrier. But don’t be surprised to see management resurface soon. They were not responsible for the issues and were dealt a losing hand from the time they started. They have gained an enormous amount of experience and are likely walking away with nothing, much like the other employees.”

For employees impacted by the Celadon shutdown, they can go to FreightWaves.Careers. We have setup a free job board to match employees with job opportunities in the transportation and logistics space.

FreightWaves will continue to report on the Celadon bankruptcy and the many issues that flow from it.


  1. Melinda Lindsey

    We were team lease purchase for Celadon. Would have had our truck paid for by September 2020. We hate that Celadon went down. We lost our plans of have our own business.
    I hate having to start over. We don’t trust any companies now. Have had bad experience with another company before we came to Celadon. And now we have started at CRST and it’s already off to a bad start. Have been lied to. And also there trucks are crap. We are now looking to go to another company. But who can you trust? Seems nothing of them offer what we had at Celadon.
    Other trucking companies will tell you anything to get you there! Sick of the BS!

  2. Brian Petry

    I was a Celadon driver my name is Brian Petry and I live in Florida I never saw it coming it was a big blind side it was a that the company had the poor crooks in that office as executive officer planning what they plan to demolish that good company I was there 11 years ago and got treated with royal respect from everybody including mr. Steve Russell the original owner and founder of Celadon I came back because I was forced off the road and they still we’re good company they treated everybody with great respect they treated their drivers with everything that they can give them a room to stay in if your truck was in the shop if you were on the road you got put in a motel if it was bad enough that it was going to take a while they would put you on a bus or a plane and fly you to the nearest terminal to pick up another truck the miles were always good to loads were always good never sat and waited for a load before I would deliver one load I’d have a load or two already waiting for me to go get after that we had a lot of customers that this company dealt with but it is a shame that the for morons that were executive officers in this company did what they did and I hope to God did they go to federal prison for life for what they caused a lot of families especially right here at Christmas time

    1. Warren Bayreuther

      I cant believe the management at Celadon couldnt figure out a way to stay open. It’s like they just threw in the towel, screwing everybody that works there. That’s called leadership? No! Thats called being a dumbass. I tried contacting them about saving the place. I’d turn it into the United States largest Veteran Training Center where we would train Veterans to be truck drivers, mechanics or business owners. We would run a business brokerage there for veterans who want to be entrepreneurs. Trust me, we could get all our contracts back and the place would be great again. Damn, I wish I had the chance to save the place. I’m a Desert Storm Veteran and I worked for Celadon twice. What a shame!

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Craig Fuller, CEO at FreightWaves

Craig Fuller is CEO and Founder of FreightWaves, the only freight-focused organization that delivers a complete and comprehensive view of the freight and logistics market. FreightWaves’ news, content, market data, insights, analytics, innovative engagement and risk management tools are unprecedented and unmatched in the industry. Prior to founding FreightWaves, Fuller was the founder and CEO of TransCard, a fleet payment processor that was sold to US Bank. He also is a trucking industry veteran, having founded and managed the Xpress Direct division of US Xpress Enterprises, the largest provider of on-demand trucking services in North America.