Layoffs start rippling across freight industries


Brian Straight, Freight Waves  

March 18, 2020


As the impact of COVID-19 quickly spreads through the economy, layoffs are becoming a common theme for workers. Those in the freight businesses are no exception.


According to reports, Total Quality Logistics (TQL) and Freightos are among the businesses in the industry that have conducted layoffs in recent days.


Freightos reportedly let go fewer than 50 people, the report said. TQL has more than 5,000 employees globally, and a source within the company told FreightWaves that a large number of employees were told they were “not hitting effort goals” and were let go. The source indicated the reasoning was to hide the fact that the company was conducting a large nationwide layoff.


FreightWaves emails to TQL for comment have not been returned.


A Freightos spokesperson confirmed the company conducted layoffs but did not specify how many. The layoffs took place on the marketplace side, he said, and did not affect the WebCargo, eBooking, or logistics sales digitization platform.


“COVID19 is hitting both the supply chain and financial ecosystem particularly hard,” the spokesperson told FreightWaves in an email. “We’re proud to have built an impactful technology company playing a vital role in supporting carriers, forwarders and importers. To ensure that we can do so for many years to come, we regretfully are forced to consider downsizing part of our team.”


The statement went on, “WebCargo and remain strong companies [with 200-plus employees around the world]. This is a pivotal moment for digital air cargo, as capacity and prices fluctuate rapidly. We’re also seeing heightened activity on as companies adjust to new supply chain patterns. That said, we anticipate financial markets seizing up and are displaying extra precaution with our financial reserves.”


Truck drivers are also likely to be affected as retailers shut down locations. Macy’s, Nordstrom, Nike and Apple are among the big retailers that have closed their stores, and entire malls in some areas are closing. The restaurant industry has been especially hard-hit so far, with many states, including most in the Northeast, shutting down dine-in experiences and allowing only carry-out and delivery orders.


Rumors that Sysco (NYSE: SYY) and US Foods (NYSE: USFD) drivers could be victims of layoffs circulated on Wednesday. The extent of those layoffs is not known, but both companies are heavily involved with servicing restaurants. Sysco is also a big supplier to colleges and universities.


When contacted by FreightWaves, a Sysco spokesperson said...


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