Official: Johnstown plant closing to have little economic effect

February 26, 2014
Updated 1:34 p.m.
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— The closure of Nation Freight Inc. operations in the Johnstown Industrial Park will likely have little effect on the local economy according to Fulton County Center for Regional Growth CEO Michael Reese.

National Freight, a major international shipping, warehousing and logistics company recently filed a closure warning with the state Labor Department saying they planned to lay off all 112 employees working at their 100 Opportunity Drive trucking facility in Johnstown.

"I don't see this making a big net change in local jobs," Reese said.

The 112 job loss warning as actually a bit deceptive. National Freight doesn't run a stand alone distribution facility in Johnstown. The company just runs a dedicated fleet of trucks for Wal-Mart's massive Opportunity Drive distribution facility.

In fact, when Reese first got his hands on the job loss warning, he was confused.

"I wasn't aware National Freight had a facility in our industrial park," he said.

According to Scott Brucker, general council for National Freight working in the company's New Jersey headquarters, Wal-Mart routinely rebids their hauling contracts.

"Large companies use many distribution companies across the country," he said.

For years, National Freight held the Johnstown contract, but Wal-Mart recently found a new trucking company.

While Brucker wasn't happy about his company losing some business, he said the switch won't likely hurt the community. A number of the 112 employees currently running Wal-Mart's Johnstown trucking operation are set to be relocated to other National Freight centers in the state. The rest Brucker said will likely be hired by the new company.

"It's going to be a quick transition," Brucker said. "We'll leave at the end of the day March 31 and the new company will start work April 1."

Reese said as long as the Wal-Mart distribution center itself stays open, changes in contracts won't hurt the local economy.

Wal-Mart officials did not return calls for comment Wednesday on wage changes or which trucking company they hired.

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