October 6, 2023

Michigan-based Sunset Logistics abruptly ceases operations


About 90 truck drivers and office personnel who worked for Titan Transportation Services Inc., doing business as Sunset Logistics of Grand Rapids, Michigan, say they are owed their final paychecks and escrow after receiving a string of emails from company executives notifying them that the trucking company was closing its doors.

In an email sent to drivers on Friday that was obtained by FreightWaves, Sunset Logistics said it was waiting on an upcoming meeting with its “lender to determine if we can pay a final paycheck and pay escrow” to the company’s drivers and owner-operators.

“It is in their hands but please understand that we are doing everything we can to make sure [you are] paid what you are owed,” Mason Gainey, customer services and sales agent for Sunset Logistics, said in the email.

One driver, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, said he was about two hours from home on Sept. 29 when notified of the company’s closure. The driver said he was told that Sunset Logistics had been going through financial struggles since March because of economic reasons and that the owner had used hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money to keep the business afloat.

The driver said others working for Sunset Logistics weren’t so lucky and were scattered across the country without working fuel cards when they received word the company was ceasing operations.

Those drivers were instructed to return their trucks to the nearest Ryder dealership.

While Mason Gainey was listed as the contact for the drivers to call, the email was signed by his father, Harvey N. Gainey III, who goes by “Buddy.” According to the Michigan secretary of state incorporation documents, Buddy Gaines is listed as the owner, treasurer, secretary and director of Sunset Logistics.

The Gainey family is well-known in the transportation industry. Buddy’s dad, Harvey N. Gainey II, who died in November 2021, owned Michigan-based Gainey Corp., which filed for bankruptcy in 2008 after the senior Gainey failed to repay more than $238 million of a $260 million loan to lender Wachovia Corp.

At that time, Gainey listed annual revenue of more than $400 million and had about 2,800 employees nationwide. According to Transport Topics, Gainey was ranked No. 64 in its 100 listings of U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers in 2008.

As of publication late Friday, Buddy Gainey had not returned FreightWaves’ telephone calls or messages seeking comment.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SAFER website, Sunset Logistics had 90 power units and the same number of drivers. 

FMCSA data states its trucks had been inspected 89 times and 23 had been placed out of service in a 24-month period, resulting in a nearly 26% rate, which is higher than the industry’s national average of about 22.3%. Drivers for Sunset Logistics were inspected 184 times and six were placed out of service, resulting in a 3.3% out-of-service rate. The national average is nearly 7%. 

The company’s insurance is slated to be canceled Nov. 4, according to FMCSA’s data.

Over the past 24 months, its trucks have been involved in three injury crashes and 15 towaways.

One former driver said Sunset Logistics had hired four new drivers the week company executives announced it was shutting down. 

“I feel bad for those drivers,” the source told FreightWaves. “The company wasted their time because the drivers were never able to earn any money and were likely stranded.”

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FreightWaves’ Justin Martin contributed to this report.

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