The Reliance Network Drops Troubled Land Air Express of New England

Land Air Express of New England appears to be struggling to get back on its feet after being shut down for more than a week by federal regulators due to safety violations.

A spokesman for The Reliance Network, a group of regional less-than-truckload carriers that exchange freight with each other to provide coverage throughout the United States and Canada, said the Vermont-based freight carrier is no longer a member.

“The TRNet carriers have worked proactively to recover and deliver all shipments that were destined for Land Air’s network in New York and New England,” Geoff Muessig, executive director of TRNet and an executive at Pitt Ohio in Pittsburgh, said in a statement Jan. 13.

On Jan. 11, The Wall Street Journal reported that the company had scaled back operations and was seeking emergency financing to keep operating.

The company closed two terminals in New Jersey and laid off some employees, WSJ reported.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration placed Land Air Express of New England out of business Dec. 29 after the company failed to submit a plan to address “deficiencies” in its safety management system uncovered during a compliance review in late October. The carrier was allowed to restart operations Jan. 7 after officials reached an agreement with federal regulators on actions to correct the unspecified problems.

FMCSA upgraded the company’s safety rating from “unsatisfactory” to “conditional” and said it will monitor the carrier’s safety performance for the next two years.

Land Air Express of New England is one of the largest carriers to be shut down because of safety issues. The agency issued 878 unsatisfactory/unfit out-of-service orders in 2014 and 628 in the first three months of calendar year 2015.

Land Air Express of New England operates 12 other terminals in New York and New England and generated about $83 million in revenue from LTL operations in 2014, according to data compiled by SJ Consulting Group.

President William Spencer told Transport Topics on Jan. 4 that the company was “not shutting down” and declined further comment. He did not respond to a request for a response to the TRNet action.

Muessig said the disruption caused by Land Air Express of New England’s sudden loss of operating authority caused other TRNet member carriers to “re-evaluate” the carrier’s membership in the group.

TRNet carriers will continue to provide service to customers throughout North America, Muessig noted.