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Florida trucking company cites impact of COVID in bankruptcy filing

Petition states Makena Express owes truck drivers back wages

A Florida-based trucking company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

A Florida-based trucking company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection recently.

Makena Trading Corp., doing business as Makena Express, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, filed its petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida last Monday. 

Makena Express, which has eight tractors and nine drivers, hauls general freight, including beverages, paper products and electronics. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SAFER website shows the trucking company’s authority was granted in January 2010.

In its filing, Makena Express lists both its assets and liabilities as between $1 million and $10 million. The petition states the company has up to 49 creditors and maintains that funds will be available for distribution to unsecured creditors once it pays administrative fees.

The carrier’s gross revenues from Jan. 1 until its bankruptcy filing date are nearly $290,000. Makena Express made nearly $2.3 million in 2022, according to the bankruptcy case summary.

The trucking firm’s bankruptcy attorney, Mark S. Roher, did not respond to FreightWaves’ request seeking comment.

What happened?

In court filings, Guillermo Gutierrez, president of Makena Express, cites the “decline in revenue due to [the] Covid-19 pandemic” as the main reason the company was forced to file for bankruptcy protection.

The trucking company’s Chapter 11 case management summary states that 10 1099 drivers are owed nearly $5,600 in back wages and one W-2 employee is owed $3,500. 

According to court documents, creditors holding secured claims are BMO Harris Bank of Chicago, owed more than $654,000 for six Freightliner tractors and one 2019 Wabash dry van trailer; Ford Motor Credit Co., owed more than $61,000 for a 2021 Ford F-150; and De Lage Landen Financial Services of Wayne, Pennsylvania, owed $50,000. The bankruptcy petition states that First Citizens Bank and Trust Co. of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is owed nearly $45,000 for a 2018 Freightliner box truck. 

The petition states that Makena Express owes the U.S. Small Business Administration $150,000 for a business loan and has a blanket lien on all of its assets, which the trucking firm disputes.

A status hearing on the carrier’s Chapter 11 case is scheduled for May 3. 

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Click for more articles by Clarissa Hawes.

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Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 14 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to [email protected]