FedEx Corporation, the Memphis-based transportation and e-commerce service that is the world’s fourth most valuable company based on combined market capitalization, is set to join the I-59 supply chain fleet with an upcoming 217,000 square foot distribution facility that will create 200 new jobs in the area.
The announcement was made Jan. 13 at the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport by members of the airport, the Forrest County Board of Supervisors and the Jones County Board of Supervisors. The $20 million facility, which will be located adjacent to Interstate 59 at the airport, will be the largest in-park facility in the I-59 supply chain, joining Ashley Furniture, NoTrax and Flowers. Bakery.
“We think that’s the tip of the iceberg,” said Bill Ray, chairman of the board of directors of the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport Authority. “Looking back, I think our board worked hard, but not without the two supervisory boards saying, ‘do it.’
“That’s what it’s all about – that’s why all of us in this group sit in public office and on boards. We don’t get rich, but the goal is to support the people we live with every day in this Pine Belt area and try to provide better jobs in the market. We’re hoping that’s what’s going to happen here, but what we’re really hoping for is that…the next one will be 200 or 500 jobs, or whatever will improve (the region).
The project, made possible through the cooperation of the Forrest County Board of Supervisors, the Jones County Board of Supervisors and the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport Authority Board, is supported by Cooperative Energy, Dixie Electric Power Association and Spire Energy. The Area Development Partnership and the Jones County Economic Development Authority serve as joint project leaders for economic development in the I-59 Supply Chain Park.
“We are so proud of the partnership we have with Jones County; we appreciate the strong partnership,” said David Hogan, chairman of the Forrest County Board of Supervisors. “We are working together, regionally, to create quality jobs on behalf of the entire Pine Belt.
“FedEx, a Fortune 50 company, is a household name and is often listed as the World’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune. Thank you to the leadership and employees of FedEx for trusting our region to build this new facility.
The upcoming facility is currently under construction along Superior Drive in the park and is expected to begin operations late this year. The facility will employ a mix of full-time and part-time employees that will accommodate seasonal demand.
“I can’t express the feeling we have,” said Johnny Burnett, chairman of the Jones County Board of Supervisors. “We have so many things that caused this. We have colleges on both sides – Jones Junior College and (The University of) Southern (Mississippi).
“We have some of the best high schools and high schools in the state in (Forrest and Jones) counties. Our colleagues in Hattiesburg and Forrest County have just been invaluable in supporting us and moving this project forward. It’s going to be a lifeline for them and a lifeline for us, for our whole community.
In coordination with the new project, officials are also upgrading water and sewer lines along Superior Drive.
“(This) will not only serve FedEx’s new ground operation; this will better position us for future growth within the I-59 supply chain fleet,” Hogan said. “Our region is developing one project at a time, and each new project positions us for the next one.
“Success breeds success. To embrace regionalism is to join a rising tide that lifts all boats.