Yellow, a prominent American freight carrier, is facing an imminent shutdown, marking a significant moment in the nation's freight history. Despite receiving a $700 million federal pandemic loan three years ago, the company is expected to file for bankruptcy. The Teamsters union, representing Yellow's 22,000 unionized workers, has announced the closure, and 30,000 jobs are at risk. The downfall began with a loss of customers due to union disputes and years of financial difficulties.

A recent strike threat by the Teamsters accelerated Yellow's collapse. Although the strike was averted, the uncertainty led to an 80% drop in freight volumes within a week. Yellow's cries of cash shortages during union negotiations further scared off customers, and a failed attempt to restructure its operations this spring led to legal battles.

Yellow's alleged misuse of a $700 million bailout loan and a congressional probe declaring the loan disbursement a mistake added to the company's woes. The end of Yellow means potential disruptions in the freight industry, with other carriers possibly absorbing Yellow's business. However, retailers and manufacturers could face higher shipping rates, as Yellow was known for its low rates compared to rivals.

The situation at Yellow serves as a stark reminder of the fragile nature of the freight industry and emphasizes the importance of sound management and adaptability. The loss of Yellow is not just the end of a company but a significant chapter in American freight history, with the gates chained up at Yellow's terminal symbolizing the company's tragic end.

--The Plastic Exchange