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)
With the newest 210,000-square-foot expansion being four times the size of the 50,000 square feet added in 2009, isn’t it possible that FedEx will hire four times the 250 workers added in 2009?
Mathematically, it might seem so, Waggoner replied, “except this expansion is a little different.”
The new addition has “some dock doors, but a lot of it is going to be office space ... and things like that,” Waggoner said. “The first expansion was basically dock doors, meaning we can move more freight in.”
Schussler, who leads a team of employees in maintaining everything mechanical — “from the lights, to generators, to environmental stuff, all the way to bar code readers” inside and outside the distribution center — said he does think the company will hire more workers when the addition is completed.
Asked whether he thinks at least 200 more will be hired, Schussler said it’s “a very safe bet. And it’s likely to be even more than that.”
He said that while FedEx has seen good growth nationwide even during the recession, it’s been particularly strong in the eastern areas that the local center serves.
“We’ve definitely felt the recession early on, but online shipping is something that has really taken off,” he said. “And the fact that we provide such a superior service, compared to the competition, has allowed us to really grow, whereas our competition has not. So we’re really getting a lot of new business and it’s mainly because of our on-time service.”
New England Motor Freight
New England Motor Freight, a large trucking company with more than 30 terminals throughout the nation’s northeastern, mid-Atlantic and midwestern sections, opened its first terminal in Washington County nearly 20 years ago.
It was in the “mid-1990s” when NEMF opened its first terminal along Jefferson Boulevard, current terminal manager Secrist said.
In 2000, he said, the company moved its terminal to a building erected as a distribution center at 14557 Industry Drive. The building is across U.S. 11 from Hagerstown Regional Airport.
Ever since, two tenants — NEMF and Sam’s Club — have shared the 40,000-square-foot building, said local businessman Brad Fulton, whose family partnership owns the building. It has 84 dock doors, 50 of which are used by a company hired by the Sam’s discount store chain to run its product distribution center there and 34 of which were being used by the trucking company, Fulton said.
In 2006, NEMF bought the 40 acres along Newgate Boulevard that were sold to FedEx Ground last month.
NEMF planned to build a 72,000-square-foot terminal on the land, the county Economic Development Commission announced in August 2006. Work on the project, costing $13.5 million, was to begin in mid-2007 and the terminal was to be ready for use a year later, the EDC said then.
At the time, the nation’s economy had only just begun to slip down into what was to become the recession.
In 2004 and, especially, 2005, the economy had been booming as millions of people across the country got easy-term, adjustable rate mortgages. They bought houses, spreading the good times to economic sectors ranging from builders, to Realtors, to furniture and appliance stores, to trucking companies.
Officially, the recession didn’t begin until late 2007, but by 2006, the financial riskiness of the years just past had begun to catch up with many Americans. Suddenly, they were facing foreclosure and bankruptcy, and as those situations multiplied, the economy began to tighten on everybody.
Amid all of that, the 40 acres NEMF had just bought sat undeveloped.
Was the recession at least partly to blame?