Texas’ Central Freight Lines will shut down operations

Trucking company Central Freight Lines Inc. will shut down in the coming weeks after failing to end years of losses despite strong demand in freight markets during the pandemic.

After 96 years in business, Waco, Texas-based less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier Central Freight Lines is closing its doors.

Central Freight announced that it is winding down its operations and as of Dec. 13 has ceased picking up new shipments. The carrier expects to deliver substantially all freight in its system by Dec. 20.

The company owns approximately 1,200 trucks and is a large LTL operator, a slice of the trucking industry in which carriers move shipments of multiple customers on a single trailer. Most operators in this industry have thrived over the past two years thanks to strong demand from retailers and manufacturers and the boom in online shopping spurred by the pandemic.

According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the carrier employs 1,325 drivers and has 1,602 power units.

Despite its efforts, Central Freight was unable to gain commitments to fund ongoing operations, find a buyer of the entire business, or fund a Chapter 11 reorganization.

Central Freight Lines was founded in 1925 when W.W. “Woody” Callan Sr. bought a Model T and drove from Waco to Dallas to pick up some goods for a Waco merchant, thus starting Central Forwarding and Warehouse company.