Celadon Goes Bankrupt: Help for Drivers Faced With Uncertainty

Celadon has filed for bankruptcy. The company, part of Celadon Group Inc., filed for bankruptcy on Monday morning. The company has immediately closed the trucking firm, leaving almost 4,000 employees out of work.

The bankruptcy comes weeks before the New Year. Truckers are stranded, families are unable to pay their bills, and a lot of families questioning what went wrong.

About Celadon’s Bankruptcy

Red flags started to pop up last week when reports emerged that two former executives were arrested and charged with nine counts of fraud.

The duo, former Chief Operating Officer William Eric Meek and Chief Financial Officer Bobby Lee Peavler, engaged in a scheme that cost shareholders more than $60 million.

False statements were provided to accountants, and the duo faces decades in jail.

When news of the fraud became public, Celadon’s stock crumbled. The stock was trading at $0.50 a share on Thursday before falling to $0.03 a share on Monday.

The company, founded in 1985, last reported revenue of over $1 billion in 2016. But fraud and a falling stock price have created a nightmare scenario for drivers.

A statement from CEO Paul Svindland claims that the company had sought all possible options to restructure.

Svindland claims legacy and market headwinds have left the company with no possible options of a restructure.

He points to three main issues:

  • Multi-year investigations
  • Financial statement restatement
  • Industry struggles

Fraud and debt were the nails in the coffin for the company. He claims that bankruptcy is the only option at this point.

A swift Chapter 11 is underway, leaving all operations terminated.

Reports suggest that the company’s value declined in 2016 due to:

  • Mechanical problems
  • Fleet age
  • Trucking market headwinds

The company’s COO and CFO tried to conceal the company’s issues.

Celadon was the largest international truckload service in the United States. The company’s drivers crossed the border 150,000 times per year.

What’s Happening to the Celadon Drivers?

Celadon is done. Employees have been laid off, but the issue is bigger for truckers than it is for executives or office workers.

Truckers were in the middle of their runs when the company shut down.

With over 150,000 border crossings, and considering the time of year (the holiday season), a lot of truckers are stranded.

Estimates suggest that nearly 3,000 drivers may be stranded. The company contracts 380 owner-operators and employs over 2,500 truck drivers.

Unpaid wages stand at $3.9 million, and there is over $1 million in termination bonuses outstanding.

The average employee is out $267.

But there’s still more of an issue that’s hitting the industry particularly hard right now. Business Insider is reporting that the company’s fuel cards are already being turned off.

A big rig can cost $1,400 to fill up.

Drivers are left with little options:

  • Fill up on their own dime
  • Rent a car
  • Take a bus
  • Take a plane

If you go on social media, you’ll see Facebook Groups that have been set up to help drivers. You’ll also find posts about drivers being stranded.

It’s a mess.

Owner-Operators still need to fulfill their contractual agreement, so any owner-operators in transit will need to complete their deliveries.

Help for Impacted Truckers and Workers

The biggest issue we have with Celadon has closing their doors is the way they left their drivers out in the cold. It’s a shame for truckers that have been with the company for decades to be left out in the cold – quite literally. Drivers have to get home to their families and try to find employment elsewhere.

But we’re also seeing an outpouring of support.

Rival carriers have stepped up and are trying to help Celadon drivers in any way that they can. If you’re a trucker that has been left stranded or you’re in the industry, applaud the following companies for offering assistance:

  • Dart Transit Co. – The Minnestoa company will help drivers get home or to one of four operating centers (Indiana, Atlanta, Dallas and Sellersburg). Dart drivers are being instructed to help stranded drivers. Call 612-867-0313 for assistance.
  • CRST – A major trucking firm is offering free bus tickets to drivers.
  • US Xpress – Offering job placement with $500 for displacement, travel reimbursement to the nearest company location, guaranteed holiday home time and bus tickets, too.

But these are just a few of the companies helping. We’re seeing numerous companies that are recruiting drivers, including:

  • BGF Global Inc
  • WEL Companies Inc.
  • Hirschbach Motor Lines
  • BH Trans Inc
  • American Central Transport
  • Pinnacle Truck Driver Training, Inc.
  • Styer Transportation
  • Central Trucking
  • Transport National

I’m positive that there will be a lot of additional companies offering to assist drivers. We’re hearing rumors of a potential fundraiser being held for truckers.

We’re also hearing rumors that some supervisors were giving out driver names to other companies during the entire debacle to help drivers get a job.

There is a Facebook Group called Celadon Closure Assistance and Jobs where you can find more assistance and talk to drivers.

A lot of people in the trucking industry are working to help out anyone who is stranded. I’m also seeing a few drivers trying to group together to rent a car or an Uber just to get home.


Drivers should call their local unemployment office to ask for assistance (Google can help here). You’ll also want to contact Indiana, the state where Celadon is headquartered. The state where the company’s headquarters is located is the state where the company resides.

You can find Indiana’s unemployment office information at: https://www.in.gov/dwd/2362.htm

Celadon should have been paying into unemployment insurance, so you will have a right to file for unemployment. I recommend everyone file while they’re looking for a new job. The time it takes to receive unemployment benefits can be long.

File now even if you plan on looking for a job after reading this article.

Emergency Plan for Others Worried About Losing Their Job

If you already lost your job, there’s little that you can do to go in the past and try to fix your financial situation. It’s a very unfortunate scenario to lose your job and have to scramble to find employment.

The good news is that you still have your CDL.

Truckers are in high demand – especially right now during the holiday season. Start applying for new trucking companies today. You’ll also want to file for unemployment to ensure that you have all of your bases covered.

What can you do in the future?

You can apply for your own Job Loss insurance.

The insurance, through SafetyNet, costs less than $10 a month for the basic plan. You can receive up to $9,000 if you lose your job so that you can pay rent/mortgage and utilities.

Aside from this, the best that you can do is save and create an emergency fund. An emergency fund will be:

  • 3 months’ worth of bills

I’m not a financial advisor, but I do know that it’s very difficult for people to save money. Try your best and hope that if a rainy day does pop up, you have some money saved up to get through it.

Some financial advisors recommend having a fully-funded emergency fund for six months.

It’s a lot to ask to save up that much money, but do your best. Unemployment, job loss insurance and an emergency fund will allow you to have at least a little cushion if you lose your job.

Top-Rated Companies Similar to Celadon Hiring

Celadon’s demise means that a lot of trucking companies that are struggling to fill their ranks will hire drivers.

You’ll have to look locally because a lot of smaller trucking companies are posting about hiring Celadon drivers.

The problem is that it’s impossible to find and list all of them for you.

But we have a great list to help you get started:

  • BGF Global Inc
  • WEL Companies Inc.
  • Hirschbach Motor Lines
  • BH Trans Inc
  • American Central Transport
  • Pinnacle Truck Driver Training, Inc.
  • Styer Transportation
  • Central Trucking
  • Transport National

These are the companies mentioned earlier. But there are a lot of great trucking companies looking to hire in general. A few of the companies that I recommend you contact are:

  • Hirschbach – We wrote an in-depth review of the company in the past. You’ll find salary ranges are quite vast, but the average person is making $67,000+ per year.
  • US Xpress Trucking – The company is going above and beyond for anyone impacted by the Celadon fiasco. You can view the company’s official site for more information. We’re seeing reports of guaranteed holiday home time, displacement of $500, $50 for personal item replacement and 80% seating in just three days.

Of course, CRST and other big trucking companies are always looking to hire safe, reliable and consistent drivers. If you have experience, call around and find a trucking company that will work with you. 

A lot of trucking schools are also offering to help place drivers.

Many trucking companies are inundated with calls right now, so be prepared to be on hold for a little bit.

The Facebook group mentioned earlier (here’s the link again) should be your go-to for trying to find out more information on Caledon. We’re seeing a lot of news outlets mentioning the bankruptcy, but there seems to be little in the way of reports on who is hiring.

Smaller, local trucking companies are definitely a great place to start looking for placement, but these companies will have limited placement options. Act fast and you may be able to land a job with one of them.

Keep in mind that we do maintain a top paying trucking company database.

You’ll be able to go through the list to find the companies that are paying the most. Sysco and Wal-Mart both top our list, but they can be very difficult to work for because not many truckers leave their positions.