Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Dominoes Fall - Collapse Casualties

Trucking company downsizes;
WH Transportation Co. has plans to lay off 340 employees from its operations in Wisconsin, Ohio and Georgia, citing rising fuel expenses.

The company, which expanded into the van freight business in the 1980s, will focus on delivering housing components for its sister companies Wausau Homes and Sterling Building Systems. In addition, it will deliver general flatbed freight for other customers.

"Everyone's costs, especially fuel, continue to increase, and the industry cannot raise rates sufficiently to cover the increases due to the national economic downturn," Tom Schuette, the company's co-owner, said in a news release. "The flatbed business is the best business for us to be in."

Schuette declined to elaborate Monday about the company's decision to downsize, according to an employee at Wausau Homes. WH Transportation will continue its van trailer service through July, and then reduce its Wisconsin staff to 80 employees, according to the written statement.

The company did not specify how many employees it would lay off in Wisconsin. The 340 total employees include drivers, owner operators, service technicians, support personnel and dispatchers.

The company's Web site, ironically, stated on Monday that it's still hiring drivers.
With diesel at $4.80/gallon, this is just the first of many. Independent truckers have been falling off like flies. The long haul trucking industry is a dead man walking. The return of rail will actually be a good thing, but it will be intensely upsetting for many for some years to come.