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FedEx confirms hub site

July 18, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

FedEx Ground on Thursday confirmed that it plans to open a distribution hub in the Hunter's Green Business Center off Hopewell Road, a move that will bring 400 jobs to Washington County.

The company, a division of FedEx Corporation, said in October it was looking at sites for a new hub in the Washington County area.

"I think we are very fortunate to have a quality company like FedEx," Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said Thursday afternoon.

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Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission Director Tim Troxell said the county had been in negotiations with FedEx Ground since July 2002.

"They felt very comfortable with us as far as the work force and location," Snook said.

"Bringing quality jobs and significant capital investment to Washington County strengthens the entire region and will provide tremendous opportunities for future growth," Aris Melissaratos, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, said in a written statement.

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development will contribute $1.2 million through the Community Development Block Grant Program toward the 114-acre land purchase and other costs pertaining to the business' opening, Planning Director Robert Arch said last month.

The Washington County Commissioners, who applied for the Block Grant last month, also voted to give $200,000 toward the land purchase.

FedEx Ground also will receive $370,000 in work force training grants over a two-year period, depending upon whether the company meets its job creation goals, according to the Economic Development Commission. The company also will be eligible for the Job Creation Tax Credit and the Maryland Commuter Tax Credit.

FedEx Ground spokesman David Westrick said the company chose Washington County because of its proximity to Interstate 81 and Interstate 70 and because it has a strong local employee base.

The Pittsburgh-based FedEx Ground plans to build a 335,000-square-foot distribution hub on 114 acres, the first of 10 hubs that will be built over the next six years as part of the company's $1.8 billion network expansion plan, according to a written statement.

The Washington County facility, expected to open in 2006, will process about 30,000 packages per hour and will bring about 400 full- and part-time jobs and independent contractors when it opens in 2006.

At full capacity, the hub will process up to 45,000 packages per hour and could employ more than 1,000 workers, according to the statement.

Troxell said he thought the possibility of FedEx Ground employing more than 400 people was great.

FedEx Ground has a network of more than 500 distribution hubs and local pick-up and delivery terminals throughout the U.S. and Canada. The company reported annual revenue of $3.4 billion in fiscal year 2003, according to the statement.

Westrick said the demand for such a service is growing and that FedEx Ground saw a more than 20 percent growth rate over the last five or six quarters.

Fed Ex Ground hubs are scheduled to open in 2006 in the metropolitan areas of Dallas, Cincinnati and Memphis, Tenn.

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