News roundup, May 18: Fleet conglomerate Comcar files for bankruptcy

Updated May 19, 2020

Trucking news and briefs for Monday, May 18, 2020: 

Fleet conglomerate Comcar Industries is selling its four carriers and repair shop business amid a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. (Comcar photo)Fleet conglomerate Comcar Industries is selling its four carriers and repair shop business amid a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. (Comcar photo)

Fleet conglomerate selling off carriers amid bankruptcy filing
Comcar Industries, the parent company of four fleets and a truck repair shop, announced Sunday, May 17, it is selling the five companies and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

As a result of separate agreements, flatbed fleet CT Transportation will be sold to PS Logistics; liquid chemical hauler CTL Transportation will be sold to Service Transport; and reefer and dry van fleet MCT Transportation will be sold to White Willow Holdings. The company has also entered into a letter of intent for the sale of bulk carrier CCC Transportation and CTTS Repair.

According to data within the CCJ Top 250, Comcar’s subsidiaries owned 1,056 tractors and leased 172 tractors, along with owning 2,041 trailers. The company also employed approximately 1,264 truck drivers.

Specifics on what led the company to sell off its assets and file for bankruptcy are unclear. However, Comcar said in a press release it had worked to find a way to “reduce our debt, enhance our liquidity and best position all Comcar holdings for the future,” and “determined that a sale of all companies would be the best path forward to maximize their value.”

“We are proud that we have found excellent future owners as each division is being purchased and will be managed by strong and reputable operators upon their respective sales,” the company added. “Further, this process will allow our companies to continue operating in the ordinary course of business while the sales process for each one continues. We believe this will best maintain opportunities for our people, continue to serve our customers and maintain vendor relationships.”

Comcar said it plans to continue conducting business as usual on a day-to-day basis during the bankruptcy process.

Trucker gets 10-year prison sentence for drug trafficking charges
A 40-year-old truck driver from Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and five years of supervised release for a drug trafficking charge in Arkansas, according to a notice from Acting U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes.

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Trucker Scott Carl Mangum pled guilty in December to one count of possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.

According to Fowlkes, Mangum was stopped on Oct. 27, 2019, by an Arkansas State Police trooper along I-40. Mangum consented to a search of the tractor-trailer, which resulted in troopers locating a 9mm handgun and a meth pipe. During a search of Mangum, troopers found a small baggie of methamphetamine in his pocket.

During a search of the trailer, troopers found approximately 15 kilograms of suspected cocaine, which was concealed in a load of produce. A lab test revealed Mangum was transporting 15.04 kilograms of cocaine.

FMCSA denies waiver request for team drivers to split sleeper berth time
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has denied a waiver request from Department of Defense hauler PTS Worldwide that would have allowed its team drivers to split their 10-hour off-duty time into segments of either 4/6, 5/5 or 6/4 hours.

The agency says the petition did not include an analysis of the safety impacts the exemption would cause. FMCSA notes that research shows that the longer sleeper berth period needs to be at least seven hours.

FMCSA’s hours of service final rule set to be published in the coming days allows a split of 7/3 hours in addition to the currently allowed 8/2 hour split.

Fireworks hauler gets 14-hour rule reprieve
Extreme Logistics, a company that hauls fireworks during the Independence Day holiday period from June 28 to July 8 each year, has received a waiver from FMCSA allowing its drivers to exclude off-duty and sleeper berth time from the 14-hour clock during that time period. The waiver is effective for five years.

FMCSA says pyrotechnicians rarely drive the full 11 hours allowed by regulations, but are required to be on-duty longer than 14 hours and drive at the end of their day. Without the waiver, fireworks company would likely be required to hire a second driver, increasing their operating costs.