Dart buys competitor Fil-Mor’s equipment, hires drivers

| Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Things are looking up for many former Fil-Mor drivers and employees as they are being recruited for jobs by their former competitor, Dart Transit Co. of Eagan, MN. In fact, many Dart employees are working through the holidays to assist in this transition.

Last week, Fil-Mor Express drivers and employees received one day’s notice that the company was ceasing operations.

The Cannon Falls, MN-based carrier shut down on Friday, Dec. 17.

After receiving the news about Fil-Mor’s closure this past Friday, Dart’s President Dave Oren was already in negotiations to purchase various assets of Fil-Mor’s that same weekend, according to Steve Gundale, director of corporate communications for Dart.

“Some of Fil-Mor’s employees found out on Friday that they were without jobs, and by Monday morning they were working at Dart,” Gundale told Land Line in an e-mail. “Because Dart is not buying Fil-Mor (to my knowledge, it was never for sale), we are actually trying to re-create the Fil-Mor operation inside of Dart.”

On Tuesday, Dec. 22, Dart’s leasing company, Highway Sales Inc., purchased Fil-Mor’s 153 tractors, and Dart has purchased a portion of its trailer fleet. Dart is also seeking to recruit more than 200 former Fil-Mor drivers, who operated in the same freight corridors as Dart drivers.

Gundale said that Dart had “no knowledge that anything was happening until we started getting inquiries from shippers on Friday, Dec. 17, when they received notice of the closing (and) they immediately started looking for other capacity to move their freight.”

He said Dart President Oren’s objective is to keep the service and people intact as much as possible.

“Fil-Mor drivers who make the switch to Dartco will likely have the same dispatchers as before, driving the same tractors and delivering the same freight,” Gundale wrote.

Former Fil-Mor drivers and employees received their final checks in the mail on Monday, Dec. 20.

“As you can imagine, there are a tremendous number of details to get done in a very short time,” Gundale said. “We are literally creating a totally new logistics operation and integrating over 200 new people into operation in just a matter of days.”

Gundale said that many Dart employees are giving up their holiday plans to help aid in this transition.

“All said and done, Christmas came early this year for these Fil-Mor employees as they will be receiving payroll checks instead of unemployment checks,” Gundale said.

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