- Indiana-based Elmer Buchta Trucking company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September, showing the industry’s turmoil amid challenging demand.
- The carrier, which began business over 80 years ago and transports coal, cited cash flow issues after coal prices declined since December 2022, resulting in less business.
- “The decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy was a carefully considered move to restructure our debt, streamline our operations and positions us for future expansion,” the company said in a Sept. 26 news release.
The business could reconfigure its operations, where existing assets will significantly help its reorganization.
The case involves ElenaRose Capital, a holding company; Transport Acquisitions, another holding company; and affiliated operating entities Elmer Buchta Trucking, Buchta Leasing and WBF. The businesses have a combined 241 power units, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records.
In bankruptcy filings, Elmer Buchta Trucking reported $26.2 million in liabilities and $5.6 million in assets; Buchta Leasing reported $27.1 million in liabilities and $23.3 million in assets; WBF reported $24.3 million in liabilities and $502,000 in assets; and ElenaRose Capital reported $6.7 million in liabilities and no assets.
Elmer Buchta Trucking CEO Doug Prohaski said in a statement that the company’s core business remains strong.
U.S. coal production reached its apex in 2008 at nearly 1.2 billion short tons, and last year, the country produced nearly half that amount. Coal consumption in April of this year dipped below a 2020 pandemic low, and government energy policies have been shifting customers toward other energy sources.
A decline in demand across multiple sectors, combined with a surplus of carriers in the past year, has put pressure on freight rates in recent quarters, leading many carriers to exit the trucking business altogether.
But the company said in a statement that "we want to strongly emphasize that Elmer Buchta Trucking will not be closing its doors.”