FedEx Hub May Spur Growth

By: Fran Daniel

News that the FedEx Ground sorting hub in Kernersville will be fully operational on Sunday has local officials abuzz with expectations of more development to follow.

“FedEx Ground is building on our strengths in a community that’s known for its logistics,” said Dawn Morgan, mayor of the town of Kernersville.

The sorting hub is a major facility for the southeastern operations of FedEx Ground, a small-package ground carrier and an operating company of FedEx Corp. Material-handling equipment in the building will initially be able to sort 15,000 packages an hour. That number will rise to 45,000 packages an hour when it is operating at full capacity.

“That is just a magnet for other industry in the Triad because other companies may choose to locate near them to take advantage of the express shipping services,” Morgan said.

FedEx Ground broke ground on the $100 million project in November 2008. The 400,000-square-foot hub sits on 125 acres in the Triad Business Park at Old Greensboro Road and West Market Street in Guilford County, within the Kernersville town limits. Kernersville annexed the park in 2008.

Gayle Anderson, president and chief executive of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, said the opening of the hub is important for the entire Triad.

“It’s really important as we position, not just Winston-Salem, but the whole Triad region as a logistics center or a logistics hub,” she said. “Having that substantial of a presence with FedEx just adds to our credibility.”

Bob Leak, the president of Winston-Salem Business Inc., said the region is a great place for companies with logistic and distribution needs, as FedEx Corp. has two major operations in the region. In addition, to the new sorting hub, the company has a $300 million cargo hub at Piedmont Triad International Airport.

“Logistics and distribution is one of the top clusters that our area is focused on as far as recruiting companies,” Leak said.

The FedEx Ground sorting hub will have 750 employees, contractors and office staff, who have already been hired.

“A lot of those people, I’m sure, will be Forsyth County residents,” Leak said.

That should help the local economy, he said, as these employees will probably shop, dine and spend money in the county.

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines said city officials are delighted to have additional jobs in the community.

“We certainly hope that FedEx Ground is successful in their location there and looking forward to helping to finalize some of the transportation issues they need to deal with there,” Joines said.

The 750 people who will work at the hub is more than the 500 initially projected by FedEx Ground.

“They’re exceeding the employment figures that were originally cited to elected officials back in 2008,” said Jeff Hatling, community development director for Kernersville.

Kernersville has been working with developers for more than 10 years to create the Triad Business Park and other nearby business parks, he said.

Triad Business Park is managed and being developed by Samet Corp. of Greensboro and is owned by TDO Land Holding LLC. FedEx Ground owns its 125 acres within the park.

Hatling is encouraged that FedEx Ground’s new sorting hub is opening as the country is recovering from a recession.

“We just feel it’s a positive indication of future growth in those other parks we’ve worked with developers on,” Hatling said.