FedEx announces $1B expansion to Memphis hub

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - FedEx will be investing $1 billion into its Memphis hub over the next six years, the company announced Wednesday.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam joined FedEx CEO Fred Smith to announce the good news.

"You know something is important if he [Fred Smith] is there and if he's speaking about it, because he doesn't do it often. He usually lets his top leaders and his employees be the voice of the company," Meagan Nichols of the Memphis Business Journals said.

"I think it shows that FedEx is committed to being here and being the kind of employer and corporate citizen that's impacting this region for a long time," Gov. Haslam said.

The company said it is making a capital investment to fund the project.

The expansion is a part of a six-year construction plan featuring a new large sorting facility, improved systems, and a bulk truckload building.

"Modernization and expansion of the Memphis hub will ensure that we continue to provide outstanding service to our customers around the world and make this an even better place to work for the thousands of team members here who keep our operations running every day and night," Smith said.

"What you're going to see is more technical jobs that are going to be a part of this hub," President and CEO of FedEx Express David Cunningham said. "You're talking about jobs that are going to be much more oriented toward technology automation and modernization, and it's going to be transformational for Memphis and the state."

FedEx would not comment specifically about if the expansion and plans to create high tech package sorting systems could lead to long-term job losses.

The company would only say, "FedEx has a longtime presence in the Memphis airport and business community, and the investment reflects our continued commitment to Memphis and the state of Tennessee."

FedEx is one of the biggest employers in Memphis, employing 30,000 people.

"Memphis being a healthy, vibrant community is as critical to the state as anything we have before us," Gov. Haslam said. "It's a critical part of our economy, and I hope whoever takes my place next really understands how fundamental it is to the entire state's health."

Earlier this year, FedEx announced plans to invest $1.5 billion into its hub in Indianapolis. Wednesday, leaders for FedEx affirmed the Memphis hub will remain the largest and most complex hub in the system.

"We are here just like we've been here for 40 years, and we're going to be here for a long time," Cunningham said.

Haslam said he is happy to have the economic boost in the state.

"FedEx is known for delivering results across the globe, so we are incredibly grateful it calls Tennessee home and is doubling down here with this major investment. As the Memphis area's largest employer, and a major economic driver across the state, this investment reflects FedEx's continued commitment to Tennessee and will benefit current employees and the future workforce for years to come," Haslam said.

The governor added that FedEx is not getting any direct state incentives to pay for the expansion, and he points to the trickle-down effect over the years of construction with respect to construction jobs and work for vendors.

Construction on the project is set to start in 2019 and be completed in 2025.

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