Charger, a flatbed trucking company based in Springdale, AR, shut down its fleet of over 600 trucks last week, putting at least 600 truckers out of work.

Charger has invited several trucking companies on-site to recruit its drivers. Because of the driver shortage, few of Charger's drivers will go without a job for long, Miller Welborn, an executive with Alabama-based flatbed carrier Boyd Bros. Transportation, told the Birmingham (AL) Business Journal. (Most of Charger's operations were based in Birmingham.)
Although customers knew the company was having difficulties, the closing still came as a surprise, reported the journal. Charger executives told O'Neal Steel Dec. 13 that the struggling company would be profitable by March. Three days later, Charger called the steel company to tell them they were going out of business.
Charger started two years ago, when J.B. Hunt spun off its flatbed division, selling it to the company's former flatbed executives. Charger invested heavily in new conventional trucks. The high debt, along with high fuel prices and some unprofitable routes, contributed to the company's demise.
The Birmingham News reported that Bradley said in a Dec. 16 memo that the shutdown stemmed from the company's inability "to receive funding concessions from one key financial stakeholder to permit us to operate the company in the year 2000 busy season."