With its close proximity to Route 33, UPS will join a host of other distribution companies when it opens its newest facility in the Lehigh Valley in the fall, bringing 900 jobs.
The company signed a lease with the Pennsylvania office of Duke Realty Corp. for a more than 1 million-square-foot building at 33 Logistics Park in Palmer Township near the Tatamy interchange at Main Street.
Beginning in September, UPS is looking to hire about 900 people to fill a mix of positions including package handlers, feeder truck drivers and part-time supervisors for the location on Van Buren Road, Kim Krebs, spokesperson for UPS, said in a statement.
“The location and hiring announcement are part of UPS preparations for the 2018 holiday shopping and shipping season’s increased e-commerce volume,” she said.
The new location will serve as a peak season package-processing hub, Krebs said.
The company is still finalizing the number of shifts and opening date, she said.
With 900 jobs coming to the region, local officials are optimistic about the potential workforce opportunities.
“The general sense I get is, these are good-paying jobs,” said Tony Iannelli, president and CEO of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. “The challenge may be in finding people. It’s not the easiest time to find people that are looking.”
With low unemployment, both locally and nationally, experts say filling positions could become more difficult, even in the thriving logistics and warehouse industry.
Still, Iannelli said salaries for these types of positions, including those at UPS, could be rising at a steady rate.
“To see the commitment they made to the Valley is really gratifying,” Iannelli said.
Iannelli said he met with the company when he served as the chairperson for the board of governors of the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority when UPS was considering opening a facility near Lehigh Valley International Airport.
UPS had been looking at a couple of locations for an expanded facility, said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp.
The opening of the Palmer Township location really fits in with the region’s emergence as a logistics and distribution hub, Cunningham said.
“I think it continues to show that the Lehigh Valley is at the center of the storm in terms of moving products to customers,” Cunningham said. “The UPS development is a logical one for the region. It will mean even more job growth.”
Amazon and XPO Logistics occupy the other two facilities in 33 Logistics Park.
Duke Realty’s 33 Logistics Park is in the Chrin Commerce Centre, a larger industrial park with scores of distribution and warehouse companies that opened over the years, including Mondelez International, FedEx and Porsche Logistics.