Forward Air Corporation Chooses Lehigh Valley for New East Coast Facility
By Colin McEvoy on November 24, 2020
A leading asset-light freight and logistics company based in Tennessee has chosen the Lehigh Valley as the location for its newest facility serving the East Coast.
Forward Air Corporation will be leasing 37,718 square feet of space in the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII in Bethlehem, a project that will create new jobs for the region in the areas of office and sales personnel, dock workers, and independent contractors.
The company chose Lehigh Valley for based upon the region’s significant economic growth in recent years, as well as Forward’s prior success with its less-than-truckload (LTL) business in the area using a local partner.
“The Lehigh Valley area is highly attractive for us,” said Tom Schmitt, Chairman, President & CEO of Forward Air Corporation. “With manufacturing on the rise and a very capable workforce, we see a tremendous opportunity to grow with the region.”
Construction is expected to be completed next month, with the facility up and running in March or April, according to J.G. Petrucci, Inc., the developer handling the project.
“It’s a pleasure to welcome Forward Air to the Lehigh Valley,” said Don Cunningham, President & CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC).
“Forward is a large national company with more than 5,000 employees and a significant role in America’s supply chain,” Cunningham said. “As a major manufacturing center, the Lehigh Valley needs companies like Forward Air to continue its economic growth. We are grateful to all the stakeholders like developer J.G. Petrucci that helped to make this project happen.”
Schmitt said the new Lehigh Valley location at 2675 Commerce Center Blvd. signals Forward’s growth trajectory into cities that are not adjacent to major airports.
“Job growth should always be applauded, but especially so in these turbulent times,” said Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure. “This announcement of Forward Air Corporation’s is timely and the location in Bethlehem is the right fit for the nature of the work they’ll be doing there.”
The project will significantly improve freight options for Lehigh Valley businesses thanks to Forward’s nationwide network covering 98% of the U.S. population, and its portfolio of premium freight management services, Schmitt said.
“Forward’s expansion into Bethlehem is a benefit to Lehigh Valley companies of all sizes who use trucking services to get their products in the hands of consumers,” said Bethlehem Mayor Robert J. Donchez. “I welcome Forward to the city of Bethlehem and look forward to working with them in the years to come.”
Forward’s Bethlehem facility will bring local sales and operational support, allowing the company to better serve customers by offering customized transportation solutions through a consultative approach, Schmitt said.
Headquartered in Greeneville, Tenn., Forward operates approximately 200 facilities across the country and employs more than 5,200 people nationwide. The company provides LTL, final mile, truckload, intermodal drayage, and pool distribution services across the United States and in Canada.
Forward is the second company to find a new home in LVIP VII this year. EcoTech Marine, a Bethlehem-based designer and manufacturer of high-quality aquarium equipment, announced in March that it will lease 88,007 square-feet there.
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