FedEx Ground, NEMF to expand Washington County operations
New England Motor Transport's new truck terminal located at 16503 Hunters Green Parkway will be opening soon. (By Yvette May/Staff Photographer / December 8, 2012)
FedEx Ground is going to begin building a major addition to its package distribution center near Hagerstown soon as part of a nationwide network expansion “to boost daily package volume capacity and further enhance the speed and service capabilities of the FedEx Ground network,” the company said in a statement Friday.
With business increasing, the company is going to expand its current 380,000-square-foot center off Newgate Boulevard in the Hopewell area near Valley Mall to a total of 590,000 square feet, corporate spokeswoman Erin Truxal said. Construction is to begin early next year and be finished by fall 2014, she said.
Truxal said it’s too soon to know whether the company, which has nearly 900 employees at the center now, will hire more. “We won’t make those decisions until” late 2014, she said.
Another local company already is expanding here.
New England Motor Freight (NEMF) began moving into its new trucking terminal southwest of Hagerstown this weekend and is shifting into full operation on Monday, terminal Manager John D. Secrist said Thursday.
The new 40,800-square-foot terminal — like FedEx, also in the Hopewell area near Interstates 70 and 81 — is twice the size of the building space north of Hagerstown that NEMF has been leasing as a terminal since 2000, Secrist said.
NEMF, which has about 85 employees here now, is seeking applicants for about 20 jobs it hopes to fill soon, Secrist said. The company wants to hire about 10 truck drivers and about 10 dock workers, he said.
The expansion “is a huge step forward for our people in Hagerstown in recognition of all their quality work,” Secrist said. “This is like a big Christmas present for them right now because we’ve been talking about it many times.”
So, too, is the work done by FedEx Ground’s local employees key to its decision to expand here, according to Chuck Schussler, one of the company’s top officials here. As facilities maintenance manager at the local terminal, he has long had a central role in the planning for the addition.
“A lot of the reason we’re blessed to have this expansion is because of the work force in this area,” Schussler said. Other factors include the location of I-70 and I-81 in the county, he said.
Cementing its plans
FedEx Ground Package System Inc., known more commonly as FedEx Ground, cemented its plans for the local expansion by purchasing about 50 acres of fields on the other side of the two-lane Newgate Boulevard from the distribution center last month.
FedEx already owned 114.5 acres on the side where the distribution center is, according to Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation records. The 11825 Newgate Blvd. property, including the center itself, had an assessed value of more than $32 million as of this past July.
In all, FedEx paid “about $10 million” for the new acreage, Truxal said.
Of that amount, $6.8 million was paid on Nov. 20 to Hagland LLC, a Maryland limited liability company, to buy 40 acres along the western side of Newgate, according to county deed records. Hagland had bought the land in 2006 for $2 million, the records showed.
As it happens, Hagland has ties to NEMF, according to the assessment records, which list Hagland’s address as being in care of New England Motor Freight, attention director of property, at the trucking company’s Elizabeth, N.J., headquarters.
The 40-acre tract is where the trucking company originally had planned to build its new Hagerstown terminal, company officials said. But then, NEMF’s current Hagerstown-area landlord offered to build the new terminal on land it owned, they said.
It wasn’t clear Friday who had owned the other 10 acres included in FedEx’s recent purchases. Truxal said 40 acres had been purchased, but Schussler said it was “close to 50 acres.” No indication could be immediately found in local deed records that FedEx Ground had bought as much as 10 more acres.