Estes, Pitt Ohio Among Firms Filling Yellow Void in Buffalo

Buffalo Assets Auctioned Off in Yellow Corp. Shutdown
Yellow shutdown sign
A sign announcing that all company operations have ceased at a Yellow Corp. facility in Hayward, Calif. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News)

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Yellow Corp.’s shutdown has opened the door for two other trucking companies to make greater inroads in the Buffalo, N.Y., Niagara region.

Estes Express Lines bought two facilities in the Buffalo area formerly affiliated with Yellow, and Pitt Ohio acquired one facility. Both companies already had a presence in Buffalo and see potential to grow.

Last year, Tennessee-based Yellow filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations, affecting about 300 workers in the Buffalo Niagara region, including drivers and dockworkers, and 30,000 employees companywide. More than 100 Yellow properties were auctioned off, including the three Buffalo-area locations, which sold for a total of $23 million.

Estes Express, based in Richmond, Va., bought a location at 66 Milens Road in Tonawanda for $8.3 million, and another at 6650 Transit Road in Cheektowaga for $5.5 million.

Pitt Ohio, based in Pittsburgh, bought a facility at 6640 Transit Road in Cheektowaga for $9.1 million.

Both Estes and Pitt Ohio are significant players in the less-than-truckload industry.

Estes was ranked the No. 5 less-than-truckload carrier by Transport Topics in its 2023 rankings, based on annual revenues. Pitt Ohio was No. 14. Yellow was No. 3 before its shutdown. Overall, Estes ranks No. 14 on the for-hire TT100 and Pitt Ohio is No. 60.

Estes Express' new location in Tonawanda, N.Y., near Buffalo.

The Milens Road location gives Estes a much larger property to work with. The company hopes to move into that facility within two or three months, said Bob O’Connor, Northeast regional vice president.

The company is still deciding what to do with the other location it bought, a former USF Holland facility next to the thruway exit for Transit Road, as well as its current facility in Hamburg, N.Y.

The Milens Road location, which operated under the YRC banner before Yellow’s shutdown, is quadruple the size of Estes’ current facility in Hamburg. The Tonawanda, N.Y., location is near the Youngmann Memorial Highway on 31 acres.

“In the short term, we’re obviously not going to need the entire facility we’re going into,” O’Connor said. “We think that has tremendous potential, a tremendous upside and will accommodate our growth for years to come.”

Estes has about 90 employees at its local operations. The company expanded to the Buffalo area in 1996 with a location in Tonawanda but outgrew it and later moved to Hamburg. Now, Estes again needs more space.


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From its Hamburg location, Estes serves a territory from Lake Ontario to the Pennsylvania state line, and east to Batavia, N.Y., said Jim Doyle, district operations manager in the Northeast. The location also handles cross-border traffic, with service to the Toronto market.

“Obviously, we would like to grow as much as we can in that [Buffalo] market,” O’Connor said. “Now we’ll have a facility to accommodate that growth. Anything we can do, we’re going to try to increase that cross-border traffic.”

Through two phases of the Yellow auction, Estes was one of the most active buyers, acquiring 29 facilities that Yellow had either owned or leased, for about $283 million.

Pitt Ohio operates from a facility at 3365 Broadway, east of Union Road in Cheektowaga.

“It’s a smaller facility, and we’ve outgrown it,” said Geoff Muessig, executive vice president.

Pitt Ohio plans to update the former New Penn Motor Express facility it acquired on Transit Road and move in there after the company’s communications equipment is installed, possibly in the third quarter, Muessig said.

The company has more than 40 employees at its current location and expects to grow its local workforce, he said.

“We are adding jobs because we are fast growing,” he said. Companywide, Pitt Ohio has 3,500 employees.

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Muessing declined to comment on the company’s plans for its facility on Broadway.

The shutdown of Yellow’s local operations not only created vacant facilities but eliminated the jobs of about 300 workers represented by the Teamsters union and another 11 workers represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

The region’s trucking industry has gone through shakeups before.

Consolidated Freightways abruptly shut down in 2002. YRC Worldwide in 2009 closed a Roadway Express terminal in West Seneca, N.Y., and New England Motor Freight ceased operations in 2019.