Owner-operator shortage causes Maine fleet to shut down

Bisson Transportation announced it will shut down its long-haul trucking operations based in Auburn, ME, this month due to a shortage of owner-operators available to haul the loads.

Bisson Transportation announced it will shut down its long-haul trucking operations based in Auburn, ME, this month due to a shortage of owner-operators available to haul the loads.

Bob Cooper, Bisson president, told the Sun Journal he could not find enough independent truckers to make the business work. The fleet currently employs 38 owner-operators but needs at least 60, he said, “to be reasonably profitable.”

“The recession of 2008 took a lot of capacity out,” he said. “Truck drivers parked their rigs, went off and got into other business lines.”

Now that freight is picking up, independent truckers are in great demand, Cooper told the Journal.

“We are a relatively small company and we can’t offer the sorts of bonuses and other incentives that some of the big national companies are offering to hire these guys,” Cooper added.

Shutting down the long-haul trucking operation and its truck service center will result in the layoffs of 38 drivers as well as 23 mechanics and office staff. “It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” Cooper said. “These were good people, many of them my good friends.”

The trucking company was founded in 1919. Cooper bought the business from the Bisson family in 1990.

Bisson will continue to offer freight brokerage, yard services for Maine paper mills and shuttle work between Maine paper mills and warehouses as well as Bisson Moving & Storage, Bisson Document Security and Bisson-I&R Commercial Services divisions.

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