Companies making do with less as weak economy continues

| 11/11/2008

This week in the trucking industry, the news includes job cuts, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, plant closings, and a company shutting its doors.

DHL to cut 9,500 jobs
The German-owned package delivery company DHL announced today it will cut 9,500 jobs in the U.S., close all of its express service centers, and get out of the express delivery business in America. The latest job cuts are on top of 4,500 cuts announced earlier.

Analysts say high fuel prices, a sluggish economy, and competition from UPS and FedEx led to the cuts.

Hardest hit by the layoffs are the more than 8,000 workers at the DHL hub in Wilmington, OH. The company was the biggest employer in the town, which has a population of 12,000.

According to the Los Angeles Times, DHL was operating about 3,000 trucks in the U.S. prior to the cutbacks, but now will focus entirely on international air delivery.

Circuit City files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Circuit City, the electronics retailer, has filed for bankruptcy. The company announced last week it was closing 155 of its more than 700 stores in the U.S. and was letting more than 7,000 workers go.

Now the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, seeking protection against its creditors, who are owed more than $2 billion.

Bloomberg reported Circuit City has lost a significant part of its business to Wal-Mart and Best Buy, which are offering popular computers and TVs at discount prices.

Great Dane Trailers to close Savannah, GA, plant
It was announced Tuesday, Nov. 11, that Great Dane Trailers would close its original manufacturing facility in Savannah, GA, effective Jan. 9, 2009. About 270 employees will be affected.

Production will be moved to existing reefer plants in Wayne, NE, and Brazil, IN, until a new site is chosen.

The company cited the extended economic downturn’s effect on the transportation industry and the need for more efficient production as the reasons for closing the refrigerated trailer plant.

“This plant has remained pivotal in the history of our company. … We have simply exhausted the ability of this plant to produce refrigerated trailers at a competitive price," said Phillip Pines, chief operating officer, in a news release.

Dana, Haldex to cut workers
Two companies that make components for cars and heavy trucks have announced big cutbacks because of the sagging economy.

Dana Holding Corp. of Toledo, OH, says it will close as many as 10 of its plants in the next two years and will cut 5,000 jobs this year. Dana makes axles, drive shafts and other components.

Its third quarter earnings this year fell by $111 million compared with the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the Swedish company Haldex, which produces brake and hydraulic systems, says it will eliminate 700 jobs this year.

Saskatchewan truckers go unpaid
About 60 former employees of a trucking company in Regina, Saskatchewan, are upset that they haven’t been paid in several weeks. CBC News reported the company, Syn-Logistics, has closed its doors and isn’t responding to reporters’ questions.

According to the company’s Web site, it offered both truckload and less-than-truckload service throughout North America.