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December 6, 2023

Trucking terminals in Fairfield, Westbrook could be sold as Yellow auction advances

As bankruptcy proceedings shift into high gear for one of the nation's largest trucking companies, Yellow Corp., competitors are hoping to buy up hundreds of its terminals and service centers — including two in Maine.

An auction of the company's real estate holdings is underway, supervised by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, with many sales predicted to come and many already pending.

According to documents filed Dec. 4, a total of 128 properties are being sold to 21 different buyers in transactions valued at nearly $1.9 billion. Yellow, based in Nashville, owns 169 facilities throughout the country, and leases another 149. In Maine, there are Yellow terminals at 44 Sheridan Drive in Fairfield and at 75 Eisenhower Drive in Westbrook.

It was not immediately clear if the Maine properties are included in the deals to date.

The largest buyer so far has been the Greenwich, Conn.-based trucking line XPO Inc., which plans to pay $870 million for a total of 30 facilities. Other purchases remain to be worked out, and all the deals still require approval by the court, which is slated to hold an initial hearing on the matter Dec. 12.

In August, Yellow said it was seeking Chapter 11 protection and ceasing operation after struggling with massive debt and a slow-down in business. The failure, the largest ever for a U.S. trucking company, was expected to eliminate nearly the entire workforce of 30,000, including 22,000 represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. In Maine, the total included 64 workers based in Westbrook and 13 in Fairfield.

As the pandemic has waned, trucking businesses including Yellow have seen demand for their services falter. The company's shipments fell 13% in the first quarter this year compared with 2022 results, according to a recent earnings statement. Meanwhile, Yellow had amassed over $1.5 billion in debt.

Founded 99 years ago, Yellow at one time was the third-largest carrier of less-than-truckload freight, a sector in which trucks move cargo from multiple customers in a single trailer. The company reported revenue of $5.2 billion in 2022.

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