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Jersey trucking company with Bethpage terminal to shut down

New England Motor Freight plans to close a week after filing for bankruptcy to wind down its operations. The Bethpage facility employed about 60 people, an employee said.

New England Freight's facility in Bethpage, seen on

New England Freight's facility in Bethpage, seen on Thursday.  Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

A New Jersey-based trucking company with a Bethpage facility has shut down, a week after it announced it was filing for bankruptcy. The family-owned company, New England Motor Freight Inc., is owned by the father of Nancy Shevell, the wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney. 

The Bethpage facility employed 60 people, said an employee who requested anonymity. He said the workers included drivers, forklift operators, supervisors and administrative staff. He said most of the workers were laid off on Friday and that the facility will shut down Tuesday. Several calls to the Elizabeth, New Jersey, corporate headquarters were not returned.

Last week, NEMF, as it is commonly known, said in a news release that it was going to use the Chapter 11 bankrucpty filing "to facilitate an orderly wind-down of its operations." In that statement a company executive said other avenues had failed.

"We have worked hard to explore options for New England Motor Freight, but the macroeconomic factors confronting this industry are significant," said Vincent Colistra, NEMF chief restructuring officer and a senior managing director of Phoenix Management Services Inc., which is NEMF's financial and restructuring adviser.

The bankruptcy comes against the backdrop of intense competition among trucking companies because of a shortage of drivers and a strong economy that is increasing demand for services, said Tony Nuzio, the founder and President of ICC Logistics Services Inc., a Hicksville transportation and logistics company. Some of the larger companies are able to undercut prices, putting pressure on smaller firms, he said.

"In some cases, [NEMF] probably had pricing agreements with their customers that weren't as compensatory as they should have been," he said.

Still, he said he was surprised about the closing because NEMF was a well-established business that had been around for a while and was notable for its good service.

"They have done some incredible things for their customers," he said of the company, which Myron Shevell bought in 1977.

But Nuzio added that the industry changed because of the stiff competition and the company may have decided to just call it quits. "I'm not sure that they really had plans for the ongoing future of the business, because they would have seen this coming a while ago," he said.

In addition to Bethpage, the company has other terminals in the state and in the Northeast, Midwest and Puerto Rico, according to its website.

After Shevell bought the company, it grew from five terminals to 40, according to the company website. His daughter Nancy serves as a company vice president, according to Dun & Bradstreet. She is also a former member of the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 

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