Arrow Trucking 2.0

February 2020

Jami Jones

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In the couple of weeks before Christmas last year, a lot of us who have been around trucking for a while were saying the words, “Not this again.”

Over the weekend of Dec. 7-8, chatter on social media started heating up with then-unconfirmed rumors that Celadon was shutting down. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Surely this couldn’t be happening, not another Arrow Trucking.

I flashed back to the week before Christmas 2009, when Arrow Trucking shut down. Not only did the company cease operations without any notice, but they turned off fuel cards, leaving drivers to fend for themselves to get home. Tow trucks circled truck stop parking lots like sharks trying to repo the Arrow trucks. It was a genuine nightmare before Christmas.

Social media was still sorta new, mainly a kids’ thing that adults were slowly warming up to. We had the idea of making a page for Arrow drivers to identify drivers in need and match them up with people who were willing to help and didn’t know how. It went viral. Former Arrow office employees joined and helped ID legit drivers, and benefactors found ways to wire them money or bus tickets home.

It was really cool to watch the industry come together and get these men and women home. Really, it turned out to be one of proudest moments in covering trucking, because we were able to highlight the good people who are trucking.

Here we were in 2019, on Dec. 9, with Celadon shutting down. Other groups had stepped up over the weekend. They were primed and ready to help all the stranded drivers. And they waited. And they waited. Rather than hundreds in need like when Arrow shut down, it was only a handful.

There’s no good way to abruptly shut down a company, especially around the holidays, but Celadon didn’t stoop to the low level that Arrow execs did. So, in the end, while they may have come close, it didn’t turn into Arrow Trucking 2.0.

There’s a lot to the story of Celadon’s demise, and we bring it to you with team coverage like only Land Line can do. Associate Editor Mark Schremmer, Digital Content Editor Greg Grisolano and Staff Writer Tyson Fisher bring you the sordid details starting on Page 18. Copy Editor Chuck Robinson jumped in putting together a timeline of Celadon’s history and Contributing Editor-at-large John Bendel brings you a history of major bankruptcies in trucking over the years. We’re proud of their team effort (and for coming in over the weekend when we first started getting the tips).

As this issue went to press, we continue to wait on word about a final rule on hours of service reform. The fast-paced rulemaking process has us all in the “wait” stage of hurry up and wait. While we wait on what could be a pivotal moment in the rights of drivers, that didn’t stop one of our favorite pro-trucking lawmakers from battling for truckers rights.

Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, is at it again, looking out for drivers. There’s all kinds of talk about coercion of drivers, and he wants to know what’s being done about it. Check out the story about his letter to FMCSA on Page 26. After you read it, call him and thank him. We need more lawmakers like him.

While we highlight the advocates, sometimes it’s important to note who is not looking out for trucking.

A congressional hearing toward the end of the year had the railroad representatives throwing elbows at trucking. A lot of elbows. Staff Writer Tyson Fisher got a little fired up. OK, a lot fired up. He breaks down their arguments in his article “Off the rails” starting on Page 74.

Finally, it’s another flip of the calendar year and another opportunity to get active and advocate for your rights. We bring you the OOIDA Grassroots Guide. Don’t yawn and flip by it. It’s advocacy like we detail that has us on the verge of HOS reform. There’s a heck of a lot more out there that needs fixing and we all have to work together. Our how-to guide starts on Page 46. LL

Pilot Flying J
Jami Jones

Jami Jones has been in journalism since 1991 – focused on the trucking industry since 2000. Whether judging Shell SuperRigs or writing hard-hitting analyses, she covers trucking from lug nuts to legislation – always with the trucker in mind.