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Trucking giant US Xpress lays off 5% of workforce

Chattanooga, Tennessee-based U.S. Xpress announced that it is cutting 5% of its corporate workforce in an effort to slash costs after the truckload carrier reported last week losing more than $8.9 million in the first quarter.

Brad Carmony, VP of brand communications for U.S. Xpress, said the decision to cut about 70 of its 1,400 employees, working mainly in information technology, company operations and back-office support, was “necessary for the health and long-term success of the business.”

No driver, service center or maintenance roles were impacted by the layoffs announced Thursday.

“In recent months, our truck count and revenue has not grown at the same rate as our headcount,” Carmony said in a statement. “While difficult, [this] decision reflects our need to rightsize our headcount for our truck count growth and is necessary for the health and long-term success of the business.”

Prior to the layoffs, U.S. Xpress (NYSE: USX) terminated Joel Gard, chief technology officer, on Monday, according to the truckload carrier’s 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

Carmony didn’t comment on why Gard was dismissed but told FreightWaves the company plans to promote from within to lead its technology organization at U.S. Xpress. 

“Bryan Johnson, who led our IT group on an interim basis previously, is stepping back in to lead the tech organization,” Carmony said. “The tech organization remains key to our long-term success. Right now, we’re focused on establishing a more defined, structured, disciplined approach.”

Carmony said U.S. Xpress didn’t file a WARN Act notice of a mass layoff since fewer than 100 employees were let go. Federal law required companies with more than 100 workers to provide employees 60 days’ notice of a possible plant closure or mass layoff. 

The company has been undergoing management changes in its subsidiary, Variant, its technology-driven truckload carrier venture, after dismissing the company’s president, Cameron Ramsdell, in December. 

On a call about the truckload carrier’s dismal first-quarter earnings report last week, U.S. Xpress CEO Eric Fuller told analysts that the best is yet to come. 

This is a developing story.

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Disclosure: FreightWaves’ founder and CEO Craig Fuller retains ownership of U.S. Xpress shares through his family trust.

The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes U.S. Xpress (No. 13).