Echo, Saia trim their staffs in wake of COVID-19

Two more significant companies in the trucking and transportation field have implemented layoffs and furloughs.

In response to an email query from FreightWaves, Doug Waggoner, the CEO of Echo Global Logistics (NASDAQ: ECHO), said the third-party logistics provider (3PL) had a “small reduction” in staff this week that constitutes less than 5% of the company’s workforce. In Echo’s 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission for 2019, it listed 2,539 employees, up from 2,335 in 2015. 

“A large portion of these were furloughs and will come back as business conditions dictate,” Waggoner wrote. Of those who were not furloughed but dismissed from the company, they were provided with severance, according to Waggoner. 

Although Echo is based in Chicago, Waggoner said the reductions took place at “many” but not all of its offices. The company’s 10-k said Echo has approximately 30 locations. 

The Payroll Protection Plan part of the CARES Act to aid companies during the coronavirus pandemic is not available to a company like Echo because of its large size. The law’s limit for a transportation company is 500 staff members or a revenue test that normally comes in around $30 million. Echo had $2.1 billion in revenue last year. 

Stock in Echo closed Thursday at $18.62/share. It is near its high of the past month, which was $18.94. Its low in the last month was $14.17; its 52-week high is $25.95.

At less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier Saia (NASDAQ: SAIA), Fritz Holzgrefe, President and Chief Operating Officer told FreightWaves in an email that the company “temporarily re-aligned some sales functions, which included a furloughing of a small number of sales personnel.”  Saia has the “intention of bringing them back as business levels warrant.” No numbers on the size of the staff impacted was provided.

Holzgrefe said Saia’s outside salesforce is “now working remotely in a virtual sales environment. Our ability to pivot, adapt, and leverage technology has proven effective in this environment,” she wrote in her email.

Saia’s 10-K said it had approximately 10,400 employees. It owns 77 facilities and leases 97 service centers.

Saia’s stock closed on April 9 at $83.34, just under the one-month high of $83.86. Its low during the one-month period was $61.46. Its 52-week high is $107.

(This story has been modified to note that the statements about Saia’s cuts came from Holzgrefe.)