According to CarrierOK’s data analysis, an alarming number of trucking companies shuttered their operations in 2023, totaling nearly 88,000 closures, alongside 8,000 freight brokerages. The company arrived at this figure by scrutinizing MC# revocations, reinstatements, and grants spanning the past twenty-five years, though accurately quantifying closures remains challenging.

Illustrating a stark decline, CarrierOK’s chart depicts a substantial net loss of carriers from 2022 to 2023, a trend unparalleled in the past quarter-century.

These statistics make us even more appreciative of the strong business that we have built and continue to grow at Liquid Trucking.  Watching others stumble or fall, we are reminded of the things we are doing correctly that set us apart and offer our employees and customers security in knowing we are an institution and that is not going to change anytime soon.

Zooming in on the last five years, the data paints a concerning picture. In 2019, the industry witnessed a surge in closures, with nearly 800 trucking companies halting their operations, more than double the closure rate observed in 2018. This uptick coincided with the onset of the pandemic, as stringent stay-at-home measures precipitated a sharp decline in freight movement.

What’s more, the average size of the failed trucking companies in 2019 surpassed those of the previous year, with the closed entities boasting an average fleet size of 30 trucks. This translated to a substantial removal of nearly 24,000 trucks from the nation’s roads during the first three quarters of 2019 alone.

The downturn persisted into the early months of 2020, with over 3,000 companies shutting their doors that year, as per available data.

Subsequent years failed to witness a robust recovery, as the industry grappled with a freight recession in 2023, precipitating widespread layoffs, bankruptcies, and notable closures. Among the casualties, industry stalwart Yellow Corp. filed for bankruptcy, impacting a staggering 30,000 jobs.

The fallout extended beyond legacy players to encompass a broad spectrum of businesses, from longstanding family enterprises like Certified Freight Logistics and Matheson Trucking to newer entrants such as Big J Express LLC.

As the dust begins to settle, the industry finds itself at a pivotal juncture, with the market recalibrating in the wake of significant upheaval. While challenges persist, there is cautious optimism that this period of recalibration may pave the way for a more resilient and streamlined future.  Liquid trucking will continue to grow and expand our business offering our clients the best service available.   To find out more about working for Liquid Trucking, visit our careers page.