The effect of the pandemic on Black-owned businesses has been widely reported. According to the New York Fed, the pandemic has disproportionately affected Black businesses. In a report, the Fed said Black businesses were more than twice likely to close than businesses owned by Whites.
“Nationally representative data on small businesses indicate that the number of active business owners fell by 22% from February to April 2020—the largest drop on record,” the report said. “Black businesses experienced the most acute decline, with a 41% drop. Latinx business owners fell by 32% and Asian business owners dropped by 26%.”
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic which has resulted in the shutdown of many Black businesses, some have managed to stay afloat while others have expanded or new Black firms have emerged.
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Durham Transports Express, LLC, is one of the Black-owned companies that is opening despite the pandemic. The all-Black-owned female freight shipping trucking company is opening in Shreveport, Louisiana. The project is said to be the first trucking company owned and operated by an all-female staff.
The project, estimated at a quarter of a million-dollar, will be undertaken in two phases and is expected to be completed within six months, according to FOX 33 News.
A handful of supporters thronged the West Cedar Grove neighborhood on November 12 for the groundbreaking ceremony of the firm’s new transport facility. The CEO of the company, Latronia Durham, attributed the feat chalked so far to teamwork.
“I’m over the top excited because some companies are shutting down right now and we are being blessed to be in the position to open up,” Durham told Fox 33. “This was so hard for me from the beginning because of what I didn’t know. So we want to help people so it won’t be so hard or won’t be so discouraging to them.”
The company is operated by Durham together with her sister Rokisha Durham alongside their mother and Latronia’s daughter. “We want to be able to create opportunities for families for younger people who want to have a career in transportation. It’s a lot of money to be made and we’re trying to make it easier for them to get in,” Rokisha Durham said.
Brittney Dunn from the African-American Chamber of Commerce said the opening of Durham Transports Express in Shreveport will provide jobs for commercial license drivers (CDL) and training for CDL drivers.
“She’s providing jobs for CDL drivers and providing training for CDL drivers. It just gives people another opportunity and another door to grow and expand in their occupation,” Dunn shared.
The company is looking forward to hiring more than a dozen employers. “I want them to come along and be a part of our team, and we will show them that it will work,” Latronia said.