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)
“When the economy hit the brakes, sure, all plans (by all U.S. companies) for financial capital expansions were probably re-evaluated,” McEvoy said.
Whatever the case, McEvoy said he thinks the reason the trucking company opted to steer away from using the 40 acres was “more that we’ve had a good, long-term relationship with the Fultons,” the family partnership that has been NEMF’s landlord near the airport.
“They’ve helped us grow, always met our needs,” he said of the family.
“About nine months to a year ago,” the Fultons and the trucking company began talking about the idea of the family building a large terminal solely for NEMF for it to lease, McEvoy said. The trucking company had reached “full capacity” in its space on Industry Drive, he said.
The new terminal, featuring 76 dock doors, was then built on 11.8 acres that the family partnership bought at 16503 Hunters Green Parkway in the same Hopewell area where FedEx Ground’s distribution center is located.
Including the cost of the land, the new terminal cost “somewhere in excess of $5 million,” Brad Fulton said.
The Fultons’ partnership paid $275,000 for the land in early 2011, according to county deed records.
NEMF has signed a “multiyear” agreement to lease the new terminal, McEvoy said. It is larger than the trucking company needs now, offering space for future business expansion.
Some of that already is coming.
“We plan to move some more of our business” here, McEvoy said. “We have (several) locations. Now that we have more capacity here, we’re going to divert more (shipments here) and we hope to attract more customers here” for the trucking company.
Many of the big companies in the county already use NEMF, he said. Its clients include “just about all the major players” here, he said.
As its business grows, its local employment will also, McEvoy said.
At present, “we’re adding about 20 jobs. That’s right now and, like I said, as we gain new customers in this terminal and divert (shipments) from other terminals, we could add another 10 onto that. So, 20 to 30 people,” he said.
Applicants for work as truck drivers — who could earn $55,000 to $60,000 or more per year — must have “good work habits and a clean driving record,” he said. The freight handlers needed to load and unload trucks will usually start with part-time hours, earning $20,000 to $25,000 per year, but some of those jobs can become full time, drawing higher pay, he said.
Springboard and catalyst
Just as NEMF’s sale of the 40 acres has become a springboard to FedEx Ground’s plans to expand its distribution center, the Fulton family partnership’s decision to build a new terminal solely for NEMF has become a catalyst for Sam’s Club to expand its distribution operation to the entire building on Industry Drive.
“The good news is, building for New England Motor Freight is going to allow us to expand another tenant into their space. And that would be Sam’s,” Brad Fulton said.
The expansion into use of the entire Industry Drive building won’t happen right away, according to an official of Kane Logistics, which has managed the remaining tenant’s distribution center there for several years. Curtis Weaver, who is Kane’s distribution center manager here, said he can’t name the tenant — which Fulton said is Sam’s — because it’s against Kane policy to identify a client.
Nonetheless, Weaver said the tenant’s shipping operation won’t begin full use of the distribution center until February, when its fiscal year begins. And when that happens, Kane probably won’t be increasing its work force at the building.
Kane has 54 employees there now, Weaver said. “Based on this additional space, no, right now, we’re not” going to hire more workers, he said.