The move was a business decision based on a cost-benefit analysis, says CF spokesman Mike Brown.
"We've had discussions with them for the last couple of years about the dues structure," Brown says, "and we were not a fully participating member last year. We told them this year, after looking at the whole cost-benefit matter, for financial reasons, we just weren't going to be able to contribute dues this year to ATA."
Brown stresses that this is a financial decision, rather than one driven by philosophical differences. He says cost-benefit analysis is something the company does will all association memberships.
This is not the first time CF has dropped out of ATA. The company also dropped out in 1995, but rejoined the next year.
It remains to be seen whether the rest of the "big four" LTL carriers - Roadway Express, Yellow Freight and ABF - will follow in CF's footsteps. CF is not the first large carrier to leave ATA because it didn't believe the dues payments were worth the benefits. Landstar System pulled its membership last year when, as part of a major restructuring, ATA announced it would no longer allow trucking companies to negotiate their dues.