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How Central Freight fell into a 5-year death spiral

Analysts, industry insiders and some of Central Freight Lines’ executives and truck drivers liken the LTL carrier’s demise to a “five-year death spiral” after the company lost a major customer, then acquired two failing companies.

The end of the 96-year-old company was the biggest shutdown in trucking since Celadon in December 2019. It leaves 2,100 workers, including 1,325 drivers, seeking employment with Christmas just around the corner. Many of this month’s holiday gifts will arrive via Amazon, the e-commerce giant — and former CFL customer.

CFL first began hauling freight for Amazon in 2011, but the relationship ended after a pricing dispute in 2016 and ensuing litigation. Court filings state that Amazon “attempted to wield its economic power to force through billing and procedure changes that Central Freight never agreed to.” Read more >

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