Transplus Freight System Inc. of Hernando, Mississippi, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on June, 14, and its court filings reveal a debt of up to $10 million and 60 or so carriers left unpaid.
Transplus' collapse comes at a time of weak spot freight volumes and rates, making it an especially rough time for the small carriers who are owed anywhere from a few hundred to $23,000 a piece.
The bankruptcy petition to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Mississippi shows the company seeking Chapter 7 bankruptcy with less than $50,000 in assets and between one and $10 million in debt owed to as many as 99 creditors. (The filing makes companies select number ranges, not specific figures.) In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court can sell certain assets to satisfy creditors, and Transplus would go out of business.
Transplus, with an off-and-on brokerage authority history going back to 2009, filed most recently with the Secretary of State in Mississippi in May 2022, but may have fallen victim to the "trucking bloodbath" that swiftly followed as costs soared and rates fell.
Three Dallas carriers, CTH Transport LLC, Redstar Trucking and Yaka Transport LLC are owed $23,000, $8,000 and $6,200, respectively. Carriers elsewhere around the Southeast, like Power Transport LLC of Memphis, owed nearly $9,400, also appear frequently on the list, though most are owed around $1,200 or so.
Transplus appears to owe Zoom Technologies, the video conferencing software company, $60,000, as well as a cool $3 million to a Mississippi individual named Shannon Robinson, who is listed as Transplus' President and CEO on LinkedIn. The $3 million owed to Robinson makes up the bulk of more than $3,200,000 worth of money owed to the unsecured creditors listed in the filing.
F G L Trucking of Olive Branch, Mississippi, one of the carriers listed as owed money in the bankruptcy petition, said that Transplus' accountant had told them they'd be paid the $4,650 they're owed by Friday.
A creditors meeting will take place on July, 14, but carriers can pursue pay before that date.
[Related: What to do if a broker doesn't pay?]
Overdrive's Trucking Law series has covered the routes a carrier can take if a broker doesn't pay. In this case, filing against the bankrupt entity's bond may not yield much (though Transplus's most recent bond was in effect, active starting just the first of this month). But other carriers have had luck contacting the shipper directly. Though it was a very different kind of case, Overdrive Editor Todd Dills in 2021 wrote about a carrier going directly to the shipper after months of nonpayment from a broker and actually getting paid.
The following video in the Trucking Law occasional series lays out the basics of this column about what to do when a broker doesn't pay, by attorney Paul Taylor.