January 11, 2016

"Reliance Network" hangs tough in wake of Land Air Express shutdown

Consortium shares assets, pulls from outside to weather temporary closing of its Northeast, New England partner.

By DC Velocity Staff

The "Reliance Network," a consortium of seven regional less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers knitted together to serve the U.S. and Mexico, held it together for 10 days while its Northeast and New England partner, Land Air Express of New England Ltd., was pulled off the road by the federal government due to safety concerns, a top executive of one of the member carriers said Friday.

In the wake of Williston, Vt.-based Land Air's Dec. 29 shutdown by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the six remaining network carriers executed a contingency plan to serve the eight states in New York and New England that Land Air would normally manage, according to Geoff Muessig, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Pitt Ohio Express, a Pittsburgh-based company and Reliance Network partner whose six-state network connects directly with Land Air's and was thus most exposed to the fallout from Land Air's shutdown.

FMCSA lifted Land Air's out-of-service order Friday after the company and regulators negotiated a safety-management plan and the company demonstrated that it had corrected unspecified "deficiencies" in its safety-management system.

Muessig said in an e-mail Friday that by using the network's resources and the assets of out-of-network carriers, Pitt Ohio had recovered and delivered about 96 percent of shipments that had been stranded in the Land Air network. As of week's end, the network had "stabilized" its second-day LTL service to New York State and through New England, Muessig said.

Muessig was unavailable to comment today on the current status of the network's operations in the wake of Land-Air's resumption of service.

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