February 24, 2012 11:30 AM, EST

Pa. Truckload Carrier Atkinson Freight Shuts Doors

After battling rivals and rising costs for years, Northeast regional truckload hauler Atkinson Freight Lines has shut its doors.

CEO Joseph Atkinson said he had no choice.

“I didn’t make this decision, the market did,” he told Transport Topics, citing being undercut on rates for the demise of the Bensalem, Pa.-based company.

The last official operating day for the motor carrier was last Friday, Feb. 17 and its last driver pulled into the company’s terminal three days later.

At the height of its operations in 2004-2005, Atkinson said his unionized company had 168 tractors and 600 trailers. But in the weeks before the company shut down, it was down to just 50 company drivers and 19 owner-operators.

Despite the closing, Atkinson remains in the trucking business. He owns Bensalem Travel Plaza, on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia.