By: Bob McCarty
Bob McCarty Writes
Arrow Trucking Company suspended operations yesterday, leaving hundreds of drivers across the country out of work three days before Christmas. [See important update below!]
The decision by officials at the 61-year-old company, once considered one of the country’s largest and most financially-sound flatbed motor carriers, came as a shock to many.
“The drivers had no clue this was going to happen,” wrote Dan Little, president of Owner-Operators United, on his truck drivers organization web site. “The only word they had was the company had planned to do some restructuring.”
Unfortunately, according to Little, employees of the Broken Arrow, Okla.-based firm with approximately 1,400 trucks and 2,600 trailers operating across the country found out the hard way: Drivers had their fuel cards shut off and were told to take their trucks and trailers to the nearest terminal or dealership.
When the trucks are turned into the prospective dealership by the driver, then that dealership calls Greyhound and purchases a bus ticket for that driver to go home, according to Little. It’s the driver’s responsibility to get from the dealership to the bus terminal though.
Content on the company’s web site, still up as of this morning, betrays the turmoil within the company, still touting a “solid foundation,” claiming to offer a “wide range of service capabilities” and “providing quality experience for our drivers.”
According to a Tulsa television station report, several tow trucks were seen parked outside the gates at the Arrow trucking terminal early Tuesday morning. Later in the day, the only trucks leaving the lot were those driven by repossession people.
FYI: According to a Christian Science Monitor report yesterday, a whopping 3,065 trucking companies with five or more drivers went under in 2008. This year, the industry has lost 1,255 firms through the third quarter. When FMCSA 2010, a new set of federal regulations and safety guidelines goes into effect next year, industry insiders expect even more trucking firms to go under. When that happens, more goods will be handled by fewer carriers and costs will likely increase sharply.
UPDATE 12/23/09 at 11:40 a.m. Central: According to Daniel Audet, who discussed this news last night on his Truckstar Radio program, many of the company’s 1,400 drivers are now stranded far from any location where they can drop off their trucks and without working fuel cards. To boot, he says, paychecks issued by the company have bounced, leaving many drivers without funds to reach drop-off points. A Facebook page, Support for Stranded Arrow Trucking Drivers, has been set up to help coordinate efforts to get affected drivers home by Christmas.
Update: ThirdWaveDave – BROKEN ARROW